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Tech giant slams use of 'offensive language' on platform, encourages gender-neutral alternatives

·1-min read

Google recently announced that it will start strongly encouraging users to use more gender-neutral language while using Google Workspace.

Google last updated its internal style guide in 2020, but the newest changes will provide non-gendered alternatives to “generic masculine” language as well as stylistic suggestions that will prevent the use of “offensive language” — although what the company deems “offensive” isn’t clearly laid out.

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Now, users on Google Docs will be given options to replace words like “chairman” and “policeman” with “chairperson” and “police officer.” 

This announcement comes in tandem with a June 10 piece in The New York Times, where Google said they are working on changing its algorithm to prevent “slander sites” from popping up during searches. A previous Times article from April discussed how these negative sites could ruin someone’s reputation and are also guilty of “gaming [the] system” when it comes to page rankings. 

Engadget, which reported on Google’s announcement, also pointed out that “if it’s possible to destroy someone’s reputation simply because a trashy post ranks high on Google’s search results, that suggests the company has an outsized influence on the internet as a whole.”

Hopefully, Google’s attempts to be more inclusive may serve as an influential example to other sites and platforms.

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