Posted By on 18 Jun 2016



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Earlier this week, everyone fell for 86-year-old nan May Ashworth and her elegant manners.

Her grandson, 25-year-old Ben John from Wigan, had stumbled across one of May’s recent Google searches on her open laptop and he couldn’t resist sharing a screenshot on Twitter.

It was possibly the most polite search request Google has ever received.



May had been looking for a translation of the Roman numerals MCMXCVIII, so she had written to Google: ‘Please translate these roman numerals mcmxcviii thank you’.

Ben John went to his grandma's house last week to do laundry. He decided to surf the Internet on her laptop while he was waiting. What he found on the Web page she had open blew his millennial mind, the Guardian reports. "Omg opened my Nan's laptop and when she's googled something she's put 'please' and 'thank you.' I can't," the 25-year-old Brit from Wigan tweeted, attaching a screenshot of a Google search bar that contained a very courteous request to translate a series of Roman numerals.

When John asked 86-year-old May Ashworth why she was so exceedingly polite to the AI answer-bot. Her answer sent him into more Google-induced giggles. "It seemed she thinks that there is someone–a physical person–at Google's headquarters who looks after the searches," John tells the BBC. "She thought that by being polite and using her manners, the search would be quicker."

Of course, everyone fell a little bit in love with May after that. After all, why shouldn’t old fashioned good manners have a place in our modern, tech-led, world?

And it seems good manners can get you a long way.

Because, yesterday, Nanna Ashworth got a personal — and very polite — reply back from Google UK HQ.

‘Dearest Ben’s Nan,’ they wrote. ‘Hope you’re well. In a world of billions of searches, yours made us smile. Oh, and it’s 1998. Thank YOU.’

This was followed up by a quick note from Google’s global Twitter account.

Bear in mind that they get trillions of Google requests every year.

Asking Google “please” and “thank you” seems so definitively British (considering it was tweeted from the United Kingdom). Perhaps it’s just that John’s nan comes from a time back when society placed a higher value on simple manners. And you know, maybe Google would like to hear a little appreciation now and then. Just because it’s an algorithm doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have feelings, dammit.

Thanks for making us all smile Nanna Ashworth.





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