Google apologises for search result calling Kannada the 'ugliest language in India'

The tech giant admitted 'search is not perfect' as it scrambled to fix the blunder

Google is under fire after search results for 'ugliest language in India' displayed the top result as Kannada. Unsplash
Google is under fire after search results for 'ugliest language in India' displayed the top result as Kannada. Unsplash

Google has issued an apology after the search engine suggested Kannada was the "ugliest language in India".

A search using those keywords this week displayed Kannada, the official language of the south-western region of Karnataka, as the top result.

The tech giant has apologised for "the misunderstanding and hurting any sentiments", confirming it has since updated the search results.

"Sometimes the way content is described on the internet can yield surprising results to specific queries," a statement posted on Google India's Twitter account on Thursday read, saying that "search is not perfect".

"We know this is not ideal, but we take swift corrective action when we are made aware of an issue and are continually working to improve our algorithms. Naturally, these are not reflective of the opinions of Google."

A number of leaders from Karnataka criticised the search engine for the blunder, with the state government threatening to issue a legal notice.

Karnataka minister Aravind Limbavali demanded an apology from the tech company, saying the search result was an attempt by Google to "insult this pride of Kannadigas".

"Kannada language has a history of its own, having come into existence as many as 2,500 years ago! It has been the pride of Kannadigas all through these two-and-a-half millennia," he wrote on Twitter.

Indian politician PC Mohan, parliamentary member for the Bangalore Central constituency, said Kannada has a "rich heritage, a glorious legacy and a unique culture".

"One of the world’s oldest languages, Kannada had great scholars who wrote epics much before Geoffrey Chaucer was born in the 14th century," he posted on Twitter.

The language, which in 2008 was designated one of the classical languages of India, had roughly 43 million native speakers according to a 2011 census.


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Updated: June 7, 2021 11:56 AM


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