Welcome!

Cognitive Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Jason Bloomberg

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
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
Druva is the global leader in Cloud Data Protection and Management, delivering the industry's first data management-as-a-service solution that aggregates data from endpoints, servers and cloud applications and leverages the public cloud to offer a single pane of glass to enable data protection, governance and intelligence-dramatically increasing the availability and visibility of business critical information, while reducing the risk, cost and complexity of managing and protecting it. Druva's...
BMC has unmatched experience in IT management, supporting 92 of the Forbes Global 100, and earning recognition as an ITSM Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader for five years running. Our solutions offer speed, agility, and efficiency to tackle business challenges in the areas of service management, automation, operations, and the mainframe.
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
DSR is a supplier of project management, consultancy services and IT solutions that increase effectiveness of a company's operations in the production sector. The company combines in-depth knowledge of international companies with expert knowledge utilising IT tools that support manufacturing and distribution processes. DSR ensures optimization and integration of internal processes which is necessary for companies to grow rapidly. The rapid growth is possible thanks, to specialized services an...
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...