Google Warns Against Using Its Name as Verb
Posted on Aug 14, 2006
The search engine company, which tries to affect an air of youthful nonconformity, legally admonished the Washington Post for using the word “google” as a generic verb to describe Internet search in general.
Online expert Steve Rubel calls it “one of the worst PR moves in history.”
... Google, evidently, took offense to this passage in last month’s article: “Google, the word, now takes its place alongside the handful of proper nouns that have moved beyond a particular product to become descriptors of an entire sector—generic trademarks.”
This characterization of Google, the letter warned, is “genericide” and should be avoided. Such letters are cranked out every day by companies keen on protecting their trademarks. Wham-O Inc. wants writers to eschew “Frisbee” for “plastic flying disc,” for instance. I’ll note that in my Palm. Excuse me—my “personal digital assistant.”
Google, however, goes the extra mile and provides a helpful list of appropriate and inappropriate uses of its name. To show how hip and down with the kids Google is, the company gets a little wacky with its examples. Here’s one:
“Appropriate: He ego-surfs on the Google search engine to see if he’s listed in the results.
Inappropriate: I googled that hottie.”