Welcome!

Weblogic Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Michael Meiner, Michael Bushong, Avi Rosenthal

Related Topics: Cognitive Computing , Agile Computing

Cognitive Computing : Article

"To Google" Is Officially a Verb: A Behind-the-Scenes History

The 11th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary includes “googling” (lower case g)

We began sending letters to other dictionaries as well and received similar replies. We also took the pre-emptive step of running ads in journalism publications (reporters are another key decider of word usage) that read as follows:

Searching for the right word?

Please use Google to find it, but not to describe what you did.

With constant generic use, trademarks can lose their special status and their proper name capitalization. It’s happened to once-trademarked products including yo-yo, trampoline, and nylon. Trademark lawyers call it “genericide.” We call it avoidable.

Google™ is a trademark identifying Google Inc.’s search technology and services. We know Google is fun to say, and of course it’s great fun to use. And though we’re flattered that people like our name, it’s also our company’s chief commercial asset. We want to ensure that people use it in a way that preserves its meaning and integrity.

Google should never be used as a noun or a verb, or to mean “searching” in a non-specific, general sense. Here are some examples of appropriate and inappropriate uses of Google's trademark:

Appropriate
I used Google to check out that guy I met at the party.
Inappropriate
I googled that hottie.

Appropriate
We were looking for new MP3s with Google.
Inappropriate
We were googling ‘MP3s.’

Appropriate
He ego-surfs on Google to see if he's listed in the results.
Inappropriate
He googles himself..

Appropriate
They use Google to research the latest on lemurs.
Inappropriate
They google ‘lemurs.’

The distinction may be subtle, but it's a very important one to make. The choice of the right word often is. We're happy to answer any questions you may have about the proper use of the Google name. Write to us at [email protected].

We'll help you find just the words your searching for.

The ad was intentionally tongue-in- cheek and, at least in my mind, a tacit admission that it's much more fun to use Google as a verb than to use it properly. I mean, who wouldn't rather say, "I googled that hottie" than the legally-mandated, but dull-as-an-old-brogan alternative?

Though our efforts were occasionally disparaged by those who would prefer Google retain it’s warm fuzzy “just regular folks, no lawyers here” persona, the definitions of Google just published both properly cite the connection of “googling” to the Google search engine. I’m not an attorney, but as a brand manager, I wouldn’t be too upset about having authoritative printed support for the notion that Googling is correctly used only when tied directly to the company’s trademarked service.

Want to learn more about trademark protection? It's okay. Go ahead. Google it.


[This post appeared originally here on July 10, 2006 and is republished here in full by kind permission of the author, who retains full copyright.]

More Stories By Doug Edwards

From 1999 to 2005, Doug Edwards was was director of consumer marketing and brand management for Google. Other work experience includes stints as online brand group manager for the San Jose Mercury News, communications director for KQED FM, admission officer for Brown University and Novosibirsk correspondent for the public radio program Marketplace. He blogs at http://xooglers.com, a gathering spot for ex-Googlers to reminisce and comment on the latest developments in search.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICC-USA, a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. DXWordEXPO New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of ...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time t...
Founded in 2000, Chetu Inc. is a global provider of customized software development solutions and IT staff augmentation services for software technology providers. By providing clients with unparalleled niche technology expertise and industry experience, Chetu has become the premiere long-term, back-end software development partner for start-ups, SMBs, and Fortune 500 companies. Chetu is headquartered in Plantation, Florida, with thirteen offices throughout the U.S. and abroad.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Disruption, Innovation, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Leadership and Management hear these words all day every day... lofty goals but how do we make it real? Add to that, that simply put, people don't like change. But what if we could implement and utilize these enterprise tools in a fast and "Non-Disruptive" way, enabling us to glean insights about our business, identify and reduce exposure, risk and liability, and secure business continuity?
SYS-CON Events announced today that DatacenterDynamics has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. DatacenterDynamics is a brand of DCD Group, a global B2B media and publishing company that develops products to help senior professionals in the world's most ICT dependent organizations make risk-based infrastructure and capacity decisions.