Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Verbing Weirds Google

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the stupid-lawyer-tricks dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 856

MoNickels writes "Back in January, the American Dialect Society voted the neologism "to google" as the most useful word of 2002. Now bring on the lawyers! Google's have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Paul McFedries, creator of the famous Word Spy site, demanding he remove google as a verb from his lexicon, or else. Frank Abate, an American editor for the Oxford English Dictionary, points out, however, that you can't claim proprietary rights to a verb." Update: 02/26 03:19 GMT by T : MoNickels writes with an update: "Frank Abate is not an editor of the OED, but he is a former editor of the New Oxford American Dictionary, both published by Oxford University Press." Thanks for the amendment!

cancel ×


Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Anonymous 3rd post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382053)

This thr0d ps1t is brought to you by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation's Model Thr00 Thr0d Ps1t Generator.

Share and enjoy!

Re:Anonymous 3rd post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382065)

Time to re-revision that to the model 001ST .

I FAIL IT! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382170)

For the third time in a row, I have failed to secure thr0d ps1t.

It is with great shame that I hang up my mttpg for the evening.

Tomorrow is another day, however, and I shall not fail again!

finally (1)

geekoid (135745) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382066)

a site we're less likley to boycot then MPAA.

suing over a verb, indeed.

Re:finally (5, Insightful)

tempest303 (259600) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382148)

They kind of have to try, actually. Trademarks can only be held if you actively defend them - if Google didn't take *some* kind of action to protect it's trademark, they could lose it!

That said, it really sucks that it had to happen - I wonder if Google has to actually sue this guy in order to satisfy the defense clause for trademarks... I would hope not.

Re:finally (1)

jaavaaguru (261551) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382173)

I thought that was patents that you had to defend?

Isn't google a number? (0, Interesting)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382072)

I though a google was a 1 with 100 zero's? I also though you couldn't copyright numbers. Is it not okay to copyright 486, but ok to copyright four eighty six?

Re:Isn't google a number? (5, Informative)

jratcliffe (208809) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382103)

Different spelling. The number is "googol" (see .htm), equal to 10^100.

Re:Isn't google a number? (1)

beavis88 (25983) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382115)

I think that's actually a "googol"

Re:Isn't google a number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382128) for googol. There was an article on the history of Google by one of the Google founders about a week or two ago. Apparently, he asked someone to register "," and they didn't realize the 10^100 meaning, and they registered ""

Re:Isn't google a number? (1)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382133)


Don't trust spell checkers.

Re:Isn't google a number? (2, Insightful)

numark (577503) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382138)

The number word is actually "googol". The creators of Google misspelled the word when they created the site and didn't realize it until later. As such, they've created a new term (which is legally trademarked) and therefore they have to enforce their trademark. If they don't enforce the trademark, it is invalidated. I'm sure it's not something they want to do, but legally they have no other choice if they want to stop someone in the future who may want to create a company called GoogleSearch someday. (Not exactly the best example, but you get my drift)

Re:Isn't google a number? (1)

mskfisher (22425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382140)

that's "Googol [] ".

Re:Isn't google a number? (1)

VikingBerserker (546589) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382154)

That would be a googol.

And you're right about not copyrighting numbers; that's the whole reason Intel started naming their chips Pentium.

Re:Isn't google a number? (2, Interesting)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382160)

That's spelled googol, was already taken, most people spell it google, anyway, and you can trademark it. So they went with google.

I don't see 'google' as a generic word for 'web search', like 'xerox' is 'to copy'. 'To google' means 'to go to'.

Re:Isn't google a number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382172)

Googol is the correct spelling of a 1 with a hundred zeros after it. But I believe was taken.

Actually, it's 'Googol'. (1)

The Jonas (623192) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382176)

From Google's [] website. []

Googol is the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros [] . It's a very large number.

A number is not a verb (1)

Mockura (524860) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382179)

I briefly thought this as well, but the cease-and-decist was complaining about the word "google" being defined as a verb. Specificly, "to search".

Of course, that doesn't diminish the ridiculousness of the whole situation.

Almost (0, Redundant)

JediTrainer (314273) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382207)

You're thinking of Googol [] . I think they were too, but Google is friendlier to spell. I guess.

Re:Isn't google a number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382220)

I though a google was a 1 with 100 zero's?

No, that's a googol.

never work (5, Insightful)

JohnG (93975) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382073)

The post office has been pretty peeved over the usage and meaning of the term "Going Postal", but haven't had much success stopping it's usage. The makers of Spam the meat haven't been to thrilled with it's usage when referring to junk email either, but haven't stopped it. Even if Google gets "to google" out of the lexicon, it will still be used rampantly. The only thing they will accomplish is making themselves look like asses for complaining in the first place.

Re:never work (1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382157)

My guess is it has to do with trademark law. In order to keep your mark, you must vigorously defend it and prevent it from becoming common vernacular.

Kleenex and Xerox did not defend their marks, which is why people refer to any facial tissue as Kleenex. Same goes with "Xerox" copies.

Re:never work (1, Redundant)

karlowfwb (542982) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382183)

Google doesn't have much of an option. If they do not follow up on this voratiously, they will most likely loose the copyright on their name. They may be making themselves look like asses, but that is the price that have to pay.

Re:never work (5, Informative)

aiken_d (127097) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382203)

Actually, Hormel has given up on the spam thing. They used to say that it was OK to use the work in lower case to refer to junk email, but would actively contact and even threaten folks using it in its capitalized form. However, they've apparently decided that any publiclity is good publicity.

Google's intent here is clearly to protect their trademark -- they don't really have a choice. If they aquiesce and agree that "to google" is a generic word and not a brand reference, you can bet that Inktomi and Overture-those-fraudulent-bastards-it's-a-classifi ed-ad-engine-not-a-search-engine will call their offerings "Googlers" or something similar. Which would be a moral victory for Google, but perhaps a commercial disaster.


Spam vs spam, and Google vs google (5, Informative)

ahecht (567934) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382212)

Hormel has stated that people can use the term spam to refer to junk mail as long as they don't capitalize it, so I think Google should do the same (so the verb would be "to google", not "to Google").

Re:never work (4, Insightful)

loucura! (247834) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382228)

They have to go after it, because it is an infringing use of their Trademark. Otherwise, they lose the trademark.

Granted, it will probably still be used, like "Xerox" for making copies, but it is not in Google's best interests to encourage it.

Hmm... (1, Redundant)

jlharris_50010 (529143) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382074)

Why wouldn't google like the Free press... It seems to me it is a glowing review of their product!

I tried this once (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382076)

while an undergraduate linguistics student.

I invented the phrase "to sorry" as in "that test sorried me" (i.e. I did poorly)

The best part is that this follows standard linguistic development rules.

However, it never caught on, and for carrying on for so long I probably lost first post. That sorried me.

This seems serious.... (1)

ziplux (261840) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382077)

why is it under the humor category?

hmm (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382078)

Bad google.

Editorial (0, Offtopic)

AirLace (86148) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382079)

Sounds like someone needs a little help with "weirds" themselves.

Re:Editorial (2, Funny)

Angry White Guy (521337) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382129)

Weird is a verb. Just ask Paul Muadib.

Re:Editorial (4, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382184)

You know Timothy, if you just attached a pair of clippers to bottom of your puns you could give some Slashdotters nice buzz cuts.

Thought Google was supposed to be a "good" company (2, Interesting)

SmirkingRevenge (633503) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382081)

They're sounding a lot like MS ever since the whole "deal with the devil" capitulation to the Chinese government last year.

bill watterson (4, Funny)

Transient0 (175617) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382084)

maybe one day language will be a complete impediment to understanding

as in... (3, Insightful)

crumbz (41803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382085) Xerox

Re:as in... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382193)

to slashdot...

Re:as in... (1)

deadsaijinx* (637410) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382194)

which xerox, of course, spent great deals of money promoting people to use the term copy, out of fear that they would lose their rights over the word xerox

Who cares. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382087)

I'm going to go and google myself until this blows over. Don't worry, I won't google on the carpet.

ok, so he removes it from his lexicon so what? (1, Redundant)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382089)

is Google going to stop everyone else from using the seemingly more popular "go google for it"? Wouldn't Google want this sort of publicity? Become a common-place-word?

Does it hurt Kleenex that people refer to facial tissue as Kleenexes? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Re:ok, so he removes it from his lexicon so what? (1)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382137)

Actually it really does. Kleenex has lost the ability to copyright/trademark (I never remember which) their name because it's become common usage.

Re:ok, so he removes it from his lexicon so what? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382188)

yeah, and just look at all the tissues on the market now fradulently claiming to be kleenex!

oh, wait...

Re:ok, so he removes it from his lexicon so what? (5, Funny)

agentZ (210674) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382180)

If he does remove it from his web site, will it still be available via the Google cache?

you can't claim proprietary rights to a verb. (1)

Whitecloud (649593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382090)

But you CAN claim proprietary rights to a noun such as your name, in this case: google. Still, its a bit silly to try and turn back the clock, using 'google' as a verb is surely free marketing for an already highly successful business. Oh to have MY companies name used as verb!!

french and german people (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382092)

nazis rule!

hail hitler!

the holocaust never happened -- but we all wish it did!

slashdot is now illegal to read in germany and, i believe, france also. oh well, we won't miss 'em.

Makes Sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382096)

Obviously they have to defend their trademark: Serial #: 76314811 (

If it becomes a common word and then it's not trademarkable and they loose the rights to it. Every company would be doing the same thing in their place. Don't blame Google for good business.

On ER... (1, Redundant)

$$$$$exyGal (638164) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382097)

I heard them use the term 'googling' on ER the other night. That term is definitely part of the "American" language, and noone can do anything about it ;-).

--sex []

Re:On ER... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382227)

So by your definition, a word is part of 'the "American" language' if it's used once on television.

That's a sad, sad commentary on the state of our society and our culture.

Free Advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382098)

Come on Google! This is free marketing of your product.

What did Mark Twain say about all the lawyers?

trademarked? (2, Insightful)

kazad (619012) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382102)

This is interesting. Is google a trademark? Is it in sufficient common usage to be acceptable (I.e. coke for any soda down in the south, xerox for generic photocopy, kleenex for a tissue).

Although in this case, googling something means going to google, and not a generic search.

Lets make Google a pejorative instead. (5, Funny)

Kenja (541830) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382106)

Lets make Google a pejorative instead.

I need to take a google.
He's a total google.
What a google.

Seems to work.

To Google, To Xerox... (2, Informative)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382109)

Back in the day, Xerox fought the use of 'xerox' as, to 'xerox' something being equivilent to photocopying. They had a point, same as Google does, to prevent watering down their trademark.

trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382112)

Sounds like they're just trying to avoid losing a trademark on their name through common usage, a la Xerox.

What they're scared of... (3, Informative)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382113) that it becomes a term, and they lose their trademark on it. For example, Thermos is a noun but it used to be a trademark of the Aladdin corporation.

Google is just fine with Josh on The West Wing telling Donna to "go Google it", but they're terrified once it goes into print.

What I wonder is this - did Google ever just ask the site to take it down nicely? Did they just go straight to the cease-and-desist order? And if they did, is this for some indisputable legal "we'll look like dicks, but..." reason? I'd hate to see a chink in the "we're all for them" online armor they have right now.

Re:What they're scared of... (1)

QuickSilver_999 (166186) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382149)

They'd better have a read of Gibson's new "Pattern Recognition" novel. He's googling all over in that book.

Re:What they're scared of... (2, Insightful)

syates21 (78378) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382168)

Did you read the friggin letter? How nice do you want them to be?

Do they have to say, "Pretty please, would you consider potentially editing your reference to our trademark?"

And Kleenex... (1)

warpath (19103) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382116)

...should sue people who refer to tissue as "Kleenex" unless they specifically mean that brand! Who needs mindshare anyway?

Well... (1)

Meat Blaster (578650) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382117)

Whether or not you can secure rights to a verb, you have to make an effort to stop dilution of your intellectual property if you want to keep it. Google is just protecting their turf.

Just a guess, but.. (3, Insightful)

kafka93 (243640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382118)

.. it seems reasonably likely to me that 'Google' is constructed from 'go ogle'. If this is indeed the case, it seems especially hypocritical to be trying to defend from 'verbing' a trademark that is itself derived from a verb.

If I'm completely wrong, then.. well, this still sucks. This kind of behaviour inevitably leaves a bad taste in people's mouths -- a real shame, since Google's been doing a lot of things reasonably well..

not surprising. (1)

diablochicken (445931) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382120)

This is almost to be expected; companies need to actively protect their trademarks lest they lose their rights to them. If a word falls into common usage and no longer represents a brand, but a category of product (a la aspirin), they will have their trademark taken away. Lawsuits are the best tool companies have for this sort of thing.

How about to Oogle (1) (637314) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382122)

I know many people who "oogle" things online, it involves searching and 'one-handed typing.'

de facto (2, Insightful)

entr00pi (519471) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382124)

and this is a bad thing how?

courtesy of

Main Entry: xerox
Pronunciation: 'zir-"äks, 'zE-"räks
Function: transitive verb
Etymology: from Xerox
Date: 1965
1 : to copy on a Xerox copier
2 : to make (a copy) on a Xerox copier

Better not "xerox" the cease-and-desist letter! (1)

ThinkingGuy (551764) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382126)

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382130)

Now that's hardcore. Suing the dictionary.

(yeah i know the guy they are sending that to isn't the dictionary, but it just doesn't have the same ring to it)

Mostly Valid (1)

petronivs (633683) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382136)

This isn't all that bad, as long as Google stops after he put in the trademark mention. That's just being legally consistent. If I had a trademark on something, I'd want people to respect it too.

Btw, I didn't know "googling" also applied to internet searches in general. I don't refer to a Yahoo! search as googling. (Well, at least not any more, since Yahoo! quit (publicly) using the Google engine.)

Who cares about google... (5, Funny)

josh crawley (537561) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382142)

What about Slashdotting?

Come on Timothy, we know what you're thinking ;-)

"Verbing weirds Google?" (Trivia!) (2, Informative)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382146)

Might the title have been taken from that one Calvin and Hobbes comic strip where Calvin talks about how he likes to verb words? One of the last lines is "Verbing weirds language"

Hmm. Just curious.
**Admits to being a total C&H fanatic**

-- n

Smurf! (1)

xSterbenx (549640) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382147)

-- wonders if Papa Smurf will get sued now for using 'smurf' as a verb? I smurfed the web!

speaking of googling (1)

AssFace (118098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382151)

I just googled all over my keyboard.

someone hand me a towel.

We are ahead of Google here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382152)

Hasn't the term "slashdotting" been around for a longer period of time?

So does this mean....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382158)

that I can say ANYTHING AT ALL, as long as I use it in the form of a verb? muwhahahahhaha

The tide has turned! (1)

Ars-Fartsica (166957) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382161)

Google has officially crossed the line from cool geek toy to hated corporation. When exactly did this happen? The slashdot postings appear to have turned in the last month, following the typical trend curves that dictate that early adopters turn their noses up at anything co-opting by the masses.

The Slashdot corporate karma quotient is becoming a contrary indicator for fiscal success. The more hated you are by Slashthought, the more succesful you will likely be. Someone should try a mutual fund predicated on this.

Re:The tide has turned! (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382216)

When exactly did this happen?
The same moment BSD died.

We've seen this before. (5, Funny)

dan g (30777) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382162)

Looks like Google is Amazoning WordSpy.

To `cat decss.c` (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382163)

Now that's an angle I hadn't thought of - is using the DeCSS source code as a verb protected speech?

The English Language has nouns as well! (1, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382164)

1. The English language has a verb, google. It is new, but it is in widespread use, and this can be documented.

The English language has a noun, google, as well. It means 10^100, and has been around longer than Google (the trademark). I wonder if they want to have this use removed from the dictionary as well?

Seriously though, what is their problem? Every time someonw says 'to google' instead of 'to search' it is re-enforcing the idea that using Google is the same as searching, and this is the very best for of viral marketing they can have. Imagine if Hoover objected to people referring to operating a vacuum cleaner as 'hoovering'.

What the fux happended to "Dont Be Evil"!!!? (1)

s88 (255181) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382166)

Give me a friggin break. This is good publicity for them. What could possibly make this a matter of "not being evil"?

When people say to Google they mean search with Google...not "Internet search."


A new verb... (1)

elflet (570757) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382167)

Sugle (soo-gil) v. To litigate against anyone else who uses the name of your product or service as a verb. (Alt. form: "Sooooooogle")

Don't beat google up (1)

ygbsm (158794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382171)

IANAL, but my understanding of trademark law is:
<li>you can't trademark normal words (hence they made up google
<li>you have to protect you trademark or you lose it (Kleenex brand facial tissue, not a kleenex)
<li>the only real source of revenue available to a company like google is eyeballs and brand, they HAVE TO PROTECT IT OR THEY LOSE IT

Obligatory Simpsons Rip-off (1)

Foxxz (106642) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382174)

What happened to you google? You used to be cool.

Google still cool! You keep verb! You keep verb!


Trademarks and loss of trademarks (5, Insightful)

jd142 (129673) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382175)

*If* Google wants to keep their trademark, and there are good reasons for them to do so, then this is exactly what they need to do, whether you like it or not.

Many products have lost their trademark through changes in the language. Aspirin used to be a trademark. Everyone else had to sell "headache powder" or something similar. Now, aspirin is a generic term. Something similar is happening now with Kleenex, Post-It Notes, and White Out.

The question you should ask yourself is: Is it right for there to be a website that calls itself "Google: by Microsoft"? Because if Google looses its trademark, there's nothing to stop Microsoft from producing its own google. Just like there is now Bayer aspirin, St. Joseph's children's aspirin, etc.

So if Microsoft's google is ok, then Google is wrong. But if you don't want Microsoft to have the ability to rebrand MSN Search as Microsoft's Google, then Google needs to do this.

To slashdot - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382181)

v. to inflict the slashdot effect on an typically unprepared site.

Wuh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382185)

That lexicon makes google look like a dating service for horny young teens. No wonder they are doing this.


mcrbids (148650) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382189)


I don't know what to think! Google is the best thing since sliced bread, women, and leatherman pocketknives, but now we have a dissenting article!

Reminds me of that old Star Trek show...

Error! Error! Must analyze.... Error! Error! Must analyze...

"Google's have sent" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382190)

Google's have sent a cease-and-desist letter to Paul McFedries, creator of the famous Word Spy site, demanding he remove google as a verb from his lexicon, or else.

How appropriate to use "have" as a noun. Stick it to them grammar police!

RTF Cease & Desist.... (5, Insightful)

daoine (123140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382191)

From Google's Cease and Desist:

We ask that you help us to protect our brand by deleting the definition of "google" found at or revising it to take into account the trademark status of Google.

The story makes this out to be a whole lot worse than it is. It doesn't seem like they're being unreasonable. They're likely not going to go on an all out attack, they just want the trademark status accounted for.

Don't Be Evil (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382197)

I remember that the founder of google had mention that the internal slogan of google was "Don't be evil". Did the engineer that created it get fired? He also mentioned that people someone complained that he and Sergey Brin couldn't properly spell the term googol. He never stated if he misspelled the word for trademark purposes or if he was a poor speller that coincindentally created a nonsense term that could be trademarked. While it's understandable that they wish to protect their trademark. Has the marketing and/or legal department taken over? Is google now evil?

Like Saran wrap and Velcro (1)

pacsman (629749) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382198)

I guess they don't want their company name to go the way of others previously- there's a term for it, though I forget what it is exactly. The "Dummies" books publisher recently sued someone to keep them from using that term, it's a similar situation though I think it's already too late for them. Like Saran wrap, Velcro, and even Hoover and Coke, Google is now a non-corporate aprt of the English language, and most likely several other languages as well, despite the French government. These things happen when a product becomes so popular it's creator is even eclipsed by it. No doubt some day people will 'google' something on Teoma or whatever. For now they should ride the wave and not bother trying to stop the inevitable, because trying only makes them look like the other evil giant entities out there, like the MPAA and RIAA.

Its not a Cease and Desist! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382204)


This is just a "request" from a lawyer:

"....We ask that you help us to protect our brand by deleting the definition of
"google" found at or revising it to take into account the
trademark status of Google."

Lawyers do this all time. You have the option of saying "No".

It is NOT a Cease and Desist letter.

thanks Timothy for more FUD.

i know a what google needs! (0, Troll)

macshune (628296) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382205)

to shut up and keep pretending it is not a company ruled by lawyers!

do a google search (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382208)

do a google search on the use of google as a verb - it's there.

example: "to google someone" - lots (668,000) of hits. Seems like a case of closing the gate after the horse has bolted :-)

So how about a verb - "ungoogle" for when they alter the PageRank system and you are no longer in the top 10?

A minor point... (1)

msaulters (130992) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382210)

I understand what's involved in trademark protection, but "google" is an important new verb, so I certainly don't want to delete it from the site. I also don't want any legal hassles. Is there a response I can send to this lawyer that will allow me to keep this entry? What if I just acknowledge that Google(tm) is a trademark of Google Technologies Inc.? Would that be good enough?

OK, so what I notice is the difference in capitalization. Google's lawyers spell their trademark with a capital 'G', while the verb in question is spelled with a lower-case 'g'. Couldn't it be argued that they're NOT the same word? Just a thought.

Not just a joke! (1)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382211)

Language evolution is a whole field of study. Linguists and diadacticians, speech therapists are among a few who take this very seriously. New words mean new approach to old problems.

Simple rule, simple solution. Confusing new word, confusing situations. "To Google" is a good example of this!

first proprietarised post. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5382214)

This stories gonna get slashdotted & farked, googles gonna get hoovered by hoardes of angry Slashdotters who will feel lucky by typing in anti-googlistic messages that will 0wn their zietgiest.

This is a goatseficated link that has been googlised []

Verbs (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382217)

" can't claim proprietary rights to a verb."

Bill: Boy, we sure Microsofted that company, eh Steve?

Steve: You bet Bill, good work!

Bleh (3, Interesting)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382218)

Of course, the downside is that if Google loses it's trademark then other companies can use the term for themselves. Alltheweb can say, for example, "come google with us".

On the other hand, unlike the situation with Nintendo, no one can take google's domain name. If google does become a term meaning "to search the internet with an effective relevancy calculator" then their domain name will always be synonymous.

Personally, though, I say screw google. They put autopr0n on the 11th page on a search for "autopr0n", which doesn't make any damn sense. And no one is ever going to say "Let me Alltheweb for it."

Offtopic observation & opinion (2, Insightful)

Tronster (25566) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382219)

That was the most civilized cease-and-desist letter I have read linked to by a Slashdot story. (It's a shame more lawyers don't use similar language in their cease-and-desist letters.)

I believe the request made by Google's lawyer is quite reasonable. Google created the word, and they don't want it diluted.

Why shouldn't Paul McFedries comply?

Precedents. (1, Redundant)

Spudley (171066) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382222)

Google are far from the first, and will certainly not be the last company to have their name turned into a common word.

Hoover, Frigidaire, Kleenex, Xerox, and many others have "suffered" the same fate.

Most of them have tried to fight it, and most of them have failed.

But having your name used as a common word can have it's advantages - it is caused by brand awareness, and generally cements it in place. It doesn't garuantee that you'll have complete market share forever, but it can certainly help.

It should also be pointed out that "to google" was already an (informal) verb, meaning "to look" (where did you think the name came from?). Google may quibble over semantics, in that it's mostly being used in a different context these days, but they certainly can't remove it from from the dictionary.

Why complain? (1)

sean23007 (143364) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382223)

I don't understand why Google would want to complain about having become so ubiquitous and such a powerful force that their very name is synonymous with what they do. That is the ultimate compliment, yet they want to avoid it. It's not like "to google" means "to knife-rape a cute virgin nun," it means "to search the web," which is exactly what Google does. Why wouldn't they want this?

Great Googly Moogly (1)

Washizu (220337) | more than 11 years ago | (#5382225)

Dumb, Dumb, Dumb...

From Google's Trademark Lawyer:
"Our brand is very important to us, and as I'm sure you'll understand, we want to make sure that when people use "Google," they are referring to the services our company provides and not to Internet searching in general."

Band-Aids and Kleenex have been milking this name recognition forever. If you're trying to build a brand synonymous with "searching," what the hell else would you want to happen?

P.S. Mr. McFedries, feel free to include "washizu" in your dictionary as "to completely satisfied in the bedroom."
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?