Oh come on, Google

I have no idea why Google adopted British spelling in this notification, instead of the American “customization.”

At least Wikipedia has the excuse of being an international operation (and has established the precedent of using logical punctuation).

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16 responses to “Oh come on, Google

  1. brianbutterworth

    However… If you listen to http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08qxd02
    “Americanize!: Why the Americanisation of English Is a Good Thing” you will find out that the Oxford English Dictoriary and lots of English writers use -ize.

    • When I was at school in England in the sixties, I was taught the -ize and -ise endings were both acceptable. It was only when I started work in the seventies that I was told to use the -ise endings as -ize was American. And as that was our house style when writing computer documentation, I started adopting it.

      Many years later, I worked in the same section as a Bosnian woman who was trying to improve her English. She was having an argument with another person and I was called in to arbitrate. (I was considered an expert in the English language, even though I failed my English O-level.) She was using the -ize endings, as she was using an Oxford dictionary as her guide. He was trying to tell her that these were Americanisms. I tried to explain that it was complicated. I don’t think either of them was satisfied with the answer.

    • I listened to this. Lynne Murphy was on the programme and made some good points.
      I did think 300 million Americans v 60 million Brits?
      Time for Brits to get over their spellings and go with the majority…..LOL!
      The program is worth a listen unless perhaps you are a professional linguist.

  2. Nick L. Tipper

    I suspect that Google used a team in the UK to write those options.
    For many years I have struggled to get PCs, Macs and their programs and apps to work in English (UK) and stay on that setting. They love to reset to English (US) and it drives me MAD!
    It appears that the British Standards Institute has adopted US spellings. Another little bit of globalisation/globalization.

  3. Bruce Roberts

    Which search engine and language predominates in the rest of the world?

  4. According to the latest edition of Fowler’s dictionary, the -s- spelling is not British; in fact, most words in the OED end in -ize rather than -ise.

  5. The Times style guide recommends -ize spellings. I worked on a magazine which adopted this and I didn’t particularly like it. When i mention in online conversations that both -ize and -ise are technically acceptable, I usually receive a certain degree of opprobrium.

  6. Robynne Black

    Excise, exercise, capsize. That’s the problem with English, for every rule created, there’s an example of where they have broken it. No wonder it’s a difficult language to master, if it’s not your native tongue.

  7. What URL did you find this at? For me in the US, if I search for “Google search customization,” I’m pointed to a site with a z:


    But if I search for “Google search customisation,” I’m pointed to the British English localized site, which uses the s:


  8. It’s the “Oxford ize”, nothing to do with Americanisation. American-English adopted it, rather than invented it. Personally, I’d never spelling “ize” instead of “ise” as “ize” looks “common”, as we say in the UK.

  9. Here is the source of your -ise endings: https://www.macquariedictionary.com.au

    Traditionally, it’s the only difference between British and Australian formal English. They (the Poms) use -ize and we in Oz use -ise.

  10. Stephanie Lewis

    Wikipedia would use the (argumently) BrE spelling as I believe it’s based in the UK although I understand the founder is an American

  11. I once read (though I can’t remember where), that both a Greek and a Latin suffix gave rise to such words, and that if you wanted to be really, really pedantic, you should make your choice according to which was the source language. If I recall correctly, the OED plumping for “-ize” was regarded at the time as a linguistic reform, casting aside such philological subtleties, accepting such words as natively English, and deciding to spell the suffix phonetically.

    While I tend to “-ize” myself, I don’t see why anybody really cares. Either spelling is easily understandable, and they both give the right pronunciation. (Though slightly less directly in the case of “-ise”, as you have to apply rules of English phonology to produce the voicing of the consonant.) If I see an “-ise” spelling, I just assume that the person is following the pre-OED traditions, and I respect their right to do so, as I don’t think lexicographers have the right to declare an established spelling incorrect.

    Can’t we just treat it as free variation? Can’t we all just get along?

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