Google as verb

Sometimes, it's illegal to make google a verb:

Google…has fired off a series of legal letters to media organisations, warning them against using its name as a verb...

Isn’t that a bit...uptight? Or does their legal team need something to keep them busy?

Google won a place in the Oxford English Dictionary, while "to google", with a lower case "g", was included last month in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary.

They should be glad they got into those esteemed dictionaries! And people often use their name, so it’s constant marketing. What’s next…arranging meetings with babies to tell them to stop saying "goo goo" incorrectly, in case their wails sound too much like "goo-gle"?

It’s the same dilemma that Kleenex and Band-Aid have had: people often call any type of nose-wiping tissue "kleenex", and bandages are often called "band-aids." I hardly remember what the proper name is for those things: Brits say "sticking plaster" (or just "plaster"?) and Americans say "adhesive bandage" (officially), though I’ve never heard anyone say that. We usually say "band-aid." Sorry, Johnson & Johnson. I don’t know how that spiraled out of control.


Anonymous said...

I find that just as ridiculous as restaurants not having permission to sing 'Happy Birthday', for reasons of copyright.

Anonymous said...

55! Good one!

Jon Konrath said...

What's funny is that some major car commercial (don't remember who, but I think it was domestic - Lincoln?) ends with "and google us online to see more". It amazed me because 1) why didn't they just put the damn URL on the screen and 2) they showed the Google logo and everything, so some money must have changed hands, and you'd think Google would have thrown a fit over the verbing.

Anonymous said...

They probably said that to sound hip. You know--to attract the younger crowd. But yeah, they must've paid Google something to show the logo. Maybe the verb freak out came later.