No kidding about that. Inspired by the misspellings of Britney Spears' first name I decided to find out how the name of our country is [mis-]spelled in the cyberspace. I guess this sounds somewhat crazy, but that was my idea of having fun on Belarus independence day (25th of March).
To make things easier, I decided to concentrate on the English-speaking part of the Net (as much as this was possible). Basically this means that I was only searching for spellings that could be used in English. I ignored other alphabets such as Cyrillics, extended Latin-based alphabets, Arabic, etc. I also ignored adjectives that could be used in Belarusian Latin script (e.g. bielaruski, bielaruskaja). Finally I ignored the variants from languages other than English even if they use Latin-based alphabet, e.g.
Belorusko (in Czech) or
Vitryssland (in Swedish). And here is what is left over:
So far the situation does not look bad at all! More than 90% of the time people spell it right. This is a big improvement in comparison with 1997-1998 when the form "Byelorussia" (promoted by the Russians) was much more popular. Unfortunately I couldn't find the old data (but will definitely post it here, if I find it). In any case, I will repeat a similar "search rating" in a year's time. And today's bonus, the tips on how to make your Google "speak" in Belarusan, assuming that you are using Internet Explorer.
In Internet Explorer go to "Tools | Internet Options..." dialog box, and click on the button "Languages".
In the "Language Preferences" dialog box that should appear, you should click "Add" button and select "Belarusian [be]" (this corresponds to the server variable http_accept_language)
Select "Belarusian [be]" and click "Move up" button as many times as needed to make "Belarusian [be]" the first item on the list
The alternative way is to go to Google's settings from the main page and change the language settings there. In this case Google will set a cookie on your computer with your language preference.
Finally, yet another way of looking at Belarusian version of Google is to add a special variable "hl=be" to the URL, e.g. http://www.google.com/webhp?hl=be. This will be a temporary solution, since there are neither cookies nor changes in yout http_accept_language list.