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July 4, 2003, 5:37 am
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GobbledyGoogle: Re-Brand Your Language
A continuously evolving amalgam, the English language has adapted to
nearly every cultural invasion since the Romans set foot on Kent's
shores. A rich mix of Latin, Anglo-Saxon, Celtic and Germanic/Frisian
influences, English has also absorbed the most sacred of linguistic
entities: the corporate brand name.
Case in point: Google. Once a mere play on mathematical words, this
search engine is now estimated to be utilized for 80% of all searches
conducted on the Internet - so pervasive, in fact, that the brand name
itself has been incorporated into English as an actual verb!
According to Paul McFedries' word-tracking website, The Word Spy, this
new verb is defined as: google (GOO.gul) v. To search for information
on the Web, particularly by using the Google search engine; to search
the Web for information related to a new or potential girlfriend or
boyfriend. (Note that Google™is a trademark identifying the search
technology and services of Google Technolgies Inc.) -Googling pp.
Following in the footsteps of such revered brand-name-cum-words as
'hoover' (vacuum), 'xerox' (photocopy) and 'kleenex' (tissue),
'google' has been co-opted by pop language and is on its way to a
dictionary near you.
Not without a bit of a fight, however. Legal counsel representing
Google Technologies Inc. contacted McFedries regarding his entry of
'google' in his directory of new words, requesting that the use of the
word as a verb be removed. The letter contested the basic definition
listed, arguing that 'google' was not a verb synonymous with 'search',
but rather a direct reference to the services their company provides.
As such activity doesn't directly infringe on the trademark rights of
Google Technologies Inc., the situation was resolved by compromise:
McFedries agreed to include the reference to Google Technologies Inc.
in the above definition.
In addition to their contribution to the general lexicon, Google's
search technology has also inspired the invention of such lovely past
times as Googlewhacking, Googlisms and Google Bombs.
The Word Spy: Definition of 'google'
CBSNews.com: Studying Word Bursts Online
One Look: Directory of 'google' in dictionaries & reference materials
Googlewhacking:What is Googlewhacking?
Googlewhacking: The origins of Googlewhacking
MicroContent News: Google Bombs