×

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!

Google Sends Legal Threats to Media Organizations

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the you-wouldn't-like-google-when-it's-angry dept.

449

rm69990 writes "Google, becoming more and more concerned about the growing use of the word google as a verb, has fired off warning letters to numerous media organizations warning them against using its name as a verb. This follows google (with a lowercase g) being added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary in June. According to a Google spokesperson: "We think it's important to make the distinction between using the word Google to describe using Google to search the internet, and using the word Google to describe searching the internet. It has some serious trademark issues.""

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

449 comments

Generic Brand Name Issue (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901874)

I think the reasoning behind this is that Google is attempting to preemptively stop any possible legal issues with their name. I mean, you run into issues when things are known by a brand name [everything2.com]. Take for instance Kleenex, Jell-O, Frisbee & Hoover. You know what all these are and there's a fairly good chance you've called an imposter brand the same name.

What I speculate Google is worried about is that the verb "googled" becomes generic for search as in "I googled it." And the law says you can't trademark something that is generically used. Essentially, if a case occurred with a rival search engine putting "Just google it!" at the top of their page and the court said they could do that because 'google' is a generic term, then you would have precedent for millions of Google imposters seeking to make money off the Google name (since it just means search to the general public).

Google figures it already is a household name. The last thing they need is the media dumping 'google' as a verb in the papers because if they start putting it in headlines and stories--it's a much easier case for another company to claim it is part of the English language. Hell, it's already in two entries in the Oxford dictionary [searchenginewatch.com]. I think you could already argue a case to use the word "google" to mean search on your site.

Re:Generic Brand Name Issue (4, Interesting)

James_Aguilar (890772) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901918)

I agree on your analysis of what Google is doing. I also have a question. They're trying to avoid losing their trademark by keeping the name from becoming too mainstream a word. However, do they actually have to succeed in order to maintain the trademark? Or, do they only have to demonstrate that they are trying?

Re:Generic Brand Name Issue (5, Informative)

howlatthemoon (718490) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901966)

There is no need to speculate as to why they need to do this. Marks work differently than patents or copyright. Failure to defend a mark can allow it to fall into the public domain. Google could lose the exclusive right to use google as a mark. They do not need to pursue every infringement, but need to demonstrate that they are defending the mark. They need to take special care to defend it against significant infringement which could weaken their case for exclusive use. IANAL (as if you couldn't figure this out by my taking time to read and post), but my spouse use to to work in mark protection, so I learned a bit about it.

Dictionary definition appears to be wrong (4, Interesting)

interactive_civilian (205158) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901929)

from eldavojohn's link:
+ google /gogl/ (also Google) v. informal [intrans.] use an Internet search engine, particularly Google.com: she spent the afternoon googling aimlessly. [trans.] search for the name of (someone) on the Internet to find out information about them: you meet someone, swap numbers, fix a date, then Google them through 1,346,966,000 Web pages. ORIGIN: from Google, the proprietary name of a popular Internet search engine.
(emphasis mine)

Would it not be more correct to make the exact definition of the verb "google" to be "to use the Google.com search engine to search for information on the internet"? I mean, with the current definition, a person could say, "Yeah, I just googled it on MSN." I'm surprised Google hasn't gone after the dictionary to get the definition changed.

Re:Dictionary definition appears to be wrong (4, Funny)

anagama (611277) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902017)

"Yeah, I just googled it on MSN."
"I'll have a coke. .... No, not the red one. I want the green coke, the one with the number 7 on it."

Re:Dictionary definition appears to be wrong (4, Interesting)

andrewman327 (635952) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902116)

I take it you're from the South. The Coke example is interesting, as Pepsi is the primary one fighting it with their long running Ask for Coke [vintagevending.com] campaign. Pepsi does not want people associating "Coke" with cola.


There is merit in defending the word "Google." After all, how many people (Simpsons fans excluded) associate the Dumpster brand with excellent trash bins? Similar to Google, the Xerox company has attempted to reclaim its name [theinquirer.net] from generic use as a verb. After all, a TrashCo bin is not a dumpster. A store brand tissue is not a Kleenex. A bandage made by anyone other than J&J is not a BandAid. A Ricoh copier is not a Xerox machine. Yahoo! Search and Windows Live Search are not Google.

Re:Dictionary definition appears to be wrong (1)

lukas84 (912874) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902030)

"Yeah, I just googled it on MSN."

You don't talk with teenagers often, do you?

I've heard this phrase many times.

Re:Generic Brand Name Issue (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901936)

Corporations are in a tough spot on this one. On the one hand, they WANT to become a household name and the de facto standard in their industry. On the other hand, they don't want to be accused of being a monopoly or have their trademarked name become a generic term in their industry. It's a VERY hard balance to try to maintain.

Incidentally, I suspect the Apple is having the same problem now with the iPod. Increasingly, I hear "iPod" being used synonymously with "MP3 Player."

-Eric

Re:Generic Brand Name Issue (4, Insightful)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901942)

What I speculate Google is worried about is that the verb "googled" becomes generic for search as in "I googled it."

There's no need to speculate. That's exactly what they're claiming!

"We think it's important to make the distinction between using the word Google to describe using Google to search the internet, and using the word Google to describe searching the internet. It has some serious trademark issues."

Re:Generic Brand Name Issue (1)

Intron (870560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902003)

"Take for instance Kleenex, Jell-O, Frisbee & Hoover. "
I will only eat Jell-O brand horse's hooves.

(Go ahead, google for gelatin)

Re:Generic Brand Name Issue (3, Informative)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902015)

Trademarks can be revoked if they become generic

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark#Maintaining _trademark_rights_.E2.80.94_abandonment_and_generi cide [wikipedia.org]


Further, if a court rules that a trademark has become "generic" through common use (such that the mark no longer performs the essential trademark function and the average consumer no longer considers that exclusive rights attach to it), the corresponding registration may also be ruled invalid.

For example, the Bayer company's trademark "Aspirin" has been ruled generic in the United States, so other companies may use that name for acetylsalicylic acid as well (although it is still a trademark in Canada). Xerox for copiers and Band-Aid for adhesive bandages are both trademarks which are at risk of succumbing to genericide, which the respective trademark owners actively seek to prevent. In order to prevent marks becoming generic, trademark owners often contact those who appear to be using the trademark incorrectly, from web page authors to dictionary editors, and request that they cease the improper usage.


Hoover? (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902016)

"Take for instance Kleenex, Jell-O, Frisbee & Hoover. You know what all these are and there's a fairly good chance you've called an imposter brand the same name. "

I've heard these used as "generic" terms (along with others such as kleenex, bandaid, and Xerox). Except for "Hoover". I've never anyone use this as a term for vacuum. I've heard it used as a misprunciation for "hover", though. ("That there yew eff oh! It done hoovered over the cow pasture! I'm tellin' yall!")

Re:Hoover? (1)

MarkGriz (520778) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902089)

. Except for "Hoover". I've never anyone use this as a term for vacuum

I've heard (read) it once or twice. Seems to be a British thing.

Anyone?..... Bueller?

Re:Generic Brand Name Issue (1, Insightful)

fafaforza (248976) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902035)

(I assume) Google already trademarked their name, so popularizing the term will not make it impossible for them to trademark it, cause they already hold the trademark.

They are concerned that when you say "google it," the term will get so generic that many people will understand it to mean search online, using Yahoo, ask.com, or google.

Frankly, I don't understand their concern. People could just as easily say "just search it online" instead of "just google it". Hell they could even use "just yahoo it." At the very least, their brand name is being used in the context, and anyone new to the internet who hears the term over and over, will come accross google.com and think that it is the real McCoy, just like I believe Kleenex tissues to be the real McCoy of tissues, anything else being a cheap, generic knockoff.

Trademark :-( (5, Funny)

ExE122 (954104) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901881)

What the hell is Google thinking? Any mention of their name is great publicity and they should be happy with it. Instead they look like a bunch of corporate penny mongers trying to be a general inconvenience.

It almost reminds me of the time that Despair, Inc. [despair.com] patented the frowney emoticon :-( and threatened to charge anyone that used them. "Let our message to trademark violators be clear. Whether you are a 4th grade nothing using your momma's AOL account, or you are Time Magazine's 'Man of the Year', we are going to hunt you down, and when we do, we're really going to give you something to :-(® about."

The only difference is that Despair was only joking :-P.

--
"A man is asked if he is wise or not. He replies that he is otherwise" ~Mao Zedong

Re:Trademark :-( (1)

Kevinv (21462) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902112)

Because if they don't do this they lose their trademark, and once their trademark is gone anyone can use the term Google, for the name of another search engine even. At that point all that great publicity is worthless.

Ask the original makers of aspirin how all the great publicity for the word aspirin is working out for them now.

Did anyone hear about... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15901883)

Anyone hear about that one site that got slashdotted the other day after it got posted on Digg? It was down for ages!

Not offtopic (5, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901925)

Anyone hear about that one site that got slashdotted the other day after it got posted on Digg? It was down for ages!
Someone please grasp the subtlety of the parent (though I wish they hadn't posted AC)... The motivation for modding it offtopic is exactly why Google seeks to keep 'to google' out of the vernacular.

Obviously, some moderator was upset that 'to be slashdotted' was associated with Digg in the parent. I think this just validates why Google is taking this action.

Anyway, nice one, AC.

Google = hypocrites (3, Interesting)

Hao Wu (652581) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902096)

Google copied their own name from "Googol" [wikipedia.org], which has been claimed by the descendants of Milton Sirotta who invented the term.

They also stole "Googolplex" [wikipedia.org] to name their corporate offices.

Google is as bad as Micromart, Wal-soft, and LOL. Part of their success is making you think otherwise.

Re:Not offtopic (3, Funny)

andphi (899406) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902097)

I agree. Both 'google' and 'slashdot', as verbs, have very specific meanings that are lost in generalization. For example, the other day, on some news site or other, I saw two links at the top of the story: "digg this" and "slashdot this". What they meant to say, of course, was "submit this story to (digg|slashdot)". However, to a long-time slashdotter (I have two UIDs, one orphaned, one active), "slashdot this" struck me as a Very Bad Idea, as it actually said "reduce this server to multi-kilobuck toxic sludge."

Too late (5, Insightful)

ral315 (741081) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901885)

Like many other companies, they didn't worry about it until it became too mainstream to stop. It's like LEGO wanting people to call them "Lego bricks" instead of "Legos", or Kleenex using "Kleenex brand tissues"- it's not going to happen, and at some point they will lose their trademark rights because of it.

Re:Too late (1)

Novotny (718987) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901956)

I've never heard anyone refer to Lego bricks as Legos. Least, not in Europe anyway. The first poster nailed the issue I think - did no-one else read it? the first post? oh wait - I'm on Slashdot. 'To Google' , does mean to employ the Google Search engine. I can easily understand why Google wish to protect that meaning which became widespread as a result of their engine being (in many people's minds) the best engine to use. Of course they're going to be pissed off if Yahoo or MSN can start using the term and getting a little cooler as a result. They don't deserve the association.

Re:Too late (4, Insightful)

peipas (809350) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901958)

...and at some point they will lose their trademark rights because of it.

I think Kimberly-Clark will have to worry about losing their Kleenex trademark no sooner than Disney's copyrights expire. Read: never.

Re:Tough call... (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901989)

Part of the trademark process is active protection of same. This is all Google is doing. Making a good faith effort to prove they're intent on keeping their trademark. Neither Lego nor Kleenex has lost their trademarks, right? Neither shall Google.

P.S. Google -- if it starts with a lowercase letter, it's not your name.

Re:Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902005)

Out of all the retarded parts of IP law, this part seems the most retarded to me. I can understand asking companies not to use your trademark to advertise their products, but to require consumers to speak in a certain way is pretty damn dumb. Who wants to talk about "Lego bricks" or "Kleenex brand facial tissue" (as the box calls it) or "Coca-Cola brand carbonated sugar water product" or whatever.

Re:Too late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902012)

I thought that 'kleenex' was just the polite term for 'belly wipe'?

Re:Too late (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902124)

Too late? There is no way Google could have stopped it. You might as well try to stop the world from turning rather than prevent new words from being created and adopted.

Evil (1, Flamebait)

nighty5 (615965) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901889)

See, Google is starting to become Evil.

Everybody, use the word as you see fit.

The english language is always evolving, the term to become a verb definately will weaken Google's legal stance.

Re:Evil (0)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901912)

See, Google is starting to become Evil.

This is what I am starting to worry about. I had held to a naieve hope that Google could demonstrate that it could be successful without messing around with stuff like this. If there was a specific case of someone clearly abusing their trademark (for example and MSN add that read... "Come to MSN and google the internet") then I would say... yes.... that qualifies as, "Taking the piss" in my book.

But sending general threats? If this is true I am concerned. Honestly thought that they were above it.

Re:Evil (2, Insightful)

tknn (675865) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901933)

Wasn't helping out an evil totalitarian regime oppress their citizens sufficiently evil for you? Apparently not... but enforcing a trademark is?

Re:Evil (5, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901934)

How is protection of a trademark evil?

If they don't do that, then Microsoft could legally set up "google.microsoft.com" and run all their searches through there.

IE could say "Google: " and point the query at MSN.

Google is a business. If they don't protect their trademark, they're committing suicide. If the management doesn't, they're going to be sued into oblivion by their shareholders.

Evil? Just because you don't understand an action doesn't make it evil.

Re:Evil (1)

emergencyselfconstru (981185) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901993)

Um, i think the issue here is that this is to my knoledge the second action of Google that causes concern among some members of the public, for obvious reasons stated above.. The second one, as you will know is the storgae of search results, that is currentl causing privacy issues.. I remember a post on slashdot not too long ago, which i paraphrase as: "at the moment google is everyones darling, how long until they become an evil corporate identity." Guess you gotta do, whats good for business...

Re:Evil (3, Insightful)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902094)

Protection of a trademark isn't evil, but Google made a big mistake when they chose the "don't be evil" motto. Now every negative press article about them quotes the motto, in a context that makes it look hypocritical. Just look at TFA, which begins "... Google, known for its mantra "don't be evil", has fired off a series of legal letters ...".

Re:Evil (1)

williamhb (758070) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901972)

See, Google is starting to become Evil.
"Evil.com are on the phone, sir. They'd like you to use the generic term 'very naughty boys' instead."

Re:Evil (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901976)

See, Google is starting to become Evil.

Don't worry. I'm still in the early beta stages. I'll let you know when I've become fully actualized.

Re:Evil (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15901996)

The english language is always evolving, the term to become a verb definately will weaken Google's legal stance.

Indeed, the English language is constantly changing to meet the needs of those who use it. Perhaps the word "definately" will one day find itself in the dictionary as well.

Re:Evil (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902041)

go kill yourself, you commie bastard.

Why would google be concerned about that? (1)

walterbyrd (182728) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901894)

How does it hurt google for it's name to used as a verb?

I think, if anything, it would help google. I think that anything that makes your business name a household word, would be be helpful.

The media using google as a verb simply reflects the reality of the widespread use of "google" as a verb.

Re:Why would google be concerned about that? (2, Insightful)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901948)

'' How does it hurt google for it's name to used as a verb? ''

Same as it hurt Xerox that their name was used as a verb. Once it becomes part of the language, it can lose its trademark status. Like Xerox, Google doesn't really care if you use the word, they are just legally obliged to send you a threatening letter.

Re:Why would google be concerned about that? (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902101)

If that happened, Yahoo would be able to use the word "Google" in their advertising. Trademark laws are actually in place to protect consumers. Imagine if Yahoo were able to advertise and say things like "Come use our Google Search at yahoo.com!"

People know about Google and know they want Google, so if Yahoo were able to use "Google" in their advertising, people could end up being tricked into using something that isn't what they want.

F*CK GOOGL* (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15901902)

G*OGLES REIGN IS OV*R, F*CK GOOG*E

go*gle is just another microsoft now, the only difference is g*ogle's programs are all white, have crappy web-based interfaces and few or no options. why do we love *oogle again?

Re: Google Sends Legal Threats (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15901904)

I wonder if I'll have to stop hoovering my house as well.

I like using Google, but... (2, Funny)

Veetox (931340) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901906)

That's fine... we'll just use "yahoo" (Of course it would be lower case "y") as a verb instead... *sigh* "I'm going to yahoo that..." -It just doesn't have the same ring to it...

Re:I like using Google, but... (1)

wouterteepe (923706) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901953)

In our household, the verb "to Yahoo" means to search, without finding it, as in "You have been Yahooing again, the car keys were on their usual spot!"

Re:I like using Google, but... (1)

Veetox (931340) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902047)

Good point. And, see? Our lexicon is just getting larger, and I would expect anyone whose name or organization became a commonly used addition to a popular lexicon (Such as the English language)would be happy about it. I'm sure Xerox and Kleenex are better off with their appellation immortality.

Nothing new here (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901907)

Xerox [xerox.com] (see "The Xerox Trademark" at the bottom of the page) has been getting bent out of shape for years over the thought of people "xeroxing" things; why should Google be any different?

Did I miss something... (2, Insightful)

Krezik (986101) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901908)

I don't understand why Google would be upset by this usage. They have lots of word-of-mouth advertizing that gets done when people refer to "googling" something.

My Chem 101 teacher even used the term often in lecture. And I'll bet that the kids who "googled" the things he recommended used Google 10 times out of 10.

It seems to me that Google has a lot ot gain from being synonomous with searching the internet.

Re:Did I miss something... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902083)

1) "Google" becomes generic verb.

2) You have pathetic search engine and want traffic.

3) Get sites with articles to use links with phrases like "Google this author" and "Google this topic" but they link to *your* search engine instead of Google.

4) Profit!

This coming from a company (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15901915)

that has a "spam" section on its email product, and oncemore, all the ads when you click on the "spam" section are all recipies for the meat-type product.(Which Hormel has been very cool about). So I guess what goes around comes around....

Re:This coming from a company (1)

LordKronos (470910) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901977)

I seriously doubt anyone is going to confuse an email from nigeria with a food product. However, if people started referring to a whole group of canned meat products as spam, I'm sure Hormel would be right on top of that one.

Let's face it... (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901922)

Would you rather be "googled" or "yahooed?" Somebody saying "I yahooed you" makes it sound like they zapped you with a yodelling ray. Suddenly you feel the need to climb mountains and wear Lederhosen.

Re:Let's face it... (1)

Scoria (264473) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901944)

"I yahooed you"

I said this to a girl at dinner once and she slapped me in the face. Please advise.

Protecting Trademark (5, Informative)

chad9023 (316613) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901926)

No, this does not make Google evil. Like any company, they have to protect their trademark, or they risk losing it. If some other company can show that people are using the term Google generically (not referring to Google itself), that Google knew about this and did not take action to prevent it, then they can challenge the trademark.

Trademark Holders Are REQUIRED to Defend (1)

ausoleil (322752) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901927)

Google is a trademarked name, and as such they are required to aggressively defend it or they will lose it.

There was even a case where Hershey Foods sued Simon and Schuster over using Hershey-owned images and trademarks in a book about their marketing of the book "Hershey: Milton S. Hershey's Extraordinary Life of Wealth, Empire and Utopian Dreams." Hershey Foods ultimately lost, but by law had they not attempted to defend their mark they could well have been facing an attempt to have the mark thrown out.

What Google is doing is much the same.

Sue Me Google, I dare you! (1)

neonprimetime (528653) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901930)

I'm going to google Angelina Jolie right now! What do you think of that?

Re:Sue Me Google, I dare you! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902007)

it works better then "i'm going to ask jeves angelina..."

Losing interest in their searching business (1)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901932)

If they are trying to disconnect the word Google from searching in the public's mind, it can only be because searching isn't high on their future plans and they want people to think of Google in a different way.
The fact they want "Google searching" or "searching to with Google" to be explicitly stated really does sound like they want 'googling' to be something else entirely in five years.

Any legal weight? (1)

Ancil (622971) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901938)

Perhaps someone who knows about trademark law can enlighten us:

Does Google have any leverage over these people?

If ABC News (or a private individual) wants to use the word "google" as a generic term, what if anything can google do about it?

I understand that if Lycos or Yahoo tried to use the trademark "google" to describe their search engines, that's actionable. But can Google (the company) do anything about google (the generic word meaning "to search on the internet"?

Re:Any legal weight? (1)

Rakshasa Taisab (244699) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901973)

Google probably doesn't care that much if they stop using it or not. The important thing here is that Google can now say they sent letters asking them to stop, which would show that they tried to keep the word from being diluted.

Not taken aback. (2, Insightful)

ayeco (301053) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901954)

From the article: Web veterans have also been taken aback by Google's suddenly humourless approach.

I'm not sure why The Independant is speaking for this web veteran. I'm not taken aback. I respect this move by Google. This seems like a perfectly legitimate way to defend their trademark.

Googled does sound dirty though (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901957)

Anyone remember Buffy The Vampire slayer?

Willow: Have you Googled her yet?
Xander: Willow, she's seventeen!

"Help" Season 7, Episode 4

Re:Googled does sound dirty though (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902026)

No, nobody watched that shite. Buffy fans, do yourself a favour and google for 'help'.

It's as I feared (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15901963)

Now that Google is a full US corporation owned by its shareholders, its number one priority by law is to make profits for its sheareholders. It is actually illegal to stick to its Don't be evil mantra if this conflicts with shareholder profits. The accountants and the lawyers will slowly turn the company into a creature as grasping and malevolent as Microsoft. It's not the influence of the directors, it's the demands of the shareholders, and the law supports them. It is as avoidable as tomorrow's sunrise.

Googling woes (5, Funny)

Rob T Firefly (844560) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901979)

Once I was feeling artistic, so I Googled how best to Xerox my head onto a Playboy Bunny, maybe using some Scotch Tape, but found out I could Photoshop it instead. So, I had a Coke, grabbed some Kleenex, and got to work.. but was disturbed by my mom coming in to Hoover. So I quickly shut down the PC, and decided to use Crayolas and Play-Doh instead.

Googling woes (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902064)

Hello Firefly, aka Kokgobbler.

Firefly: Gobble gobble gobble!

Me: Um, yeah. That's what I came here to talk to you about. You are gobbling so much kok, that you are only making nonsense sounds in the posts you write.

FF: Gobble gobble gobble! *Moves to next man in train* Gobble gobble gobble!

Me: Okay, I didn't need to see that. Outta here!

FF: Gobble gobble gobble! *Move toward AC and opens mouth*

Descending, descending, descending....

Me: *Runs like a bat out of hell*

Give Google a box of kleenex (1)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901984)

Sounds like Google is quite upset over this one. I hope someone comes up with a good solution and doesn't just put a band-aid on the problem. In the mean time, I hope their warning is xeroxed and distributed to all. So just sit back and drink a can of your favorite coke and wait for the results.

This kind of thing is how you know... (1)

Sqreater (895148) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901985)

...that a company has "jumped the shark." Welcome to big-company-asshole land, Google.

Watch them sue grannies putting out newsletters to their grandchildren next. They can't stop this, but they sure can make themselves look old and curmudgeonly.

It's not the news media... (0)

sheldon (2322) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901986)

I think google is fucked. I understand what they are trying to do, but...

the news media didn't invent google as a verb, they started using it after it became common place in the populace.

Tough Titty (1)

DataCannibal (181369) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901990)

If I (and millions of other people) wish to use the verb "to google" to mean "to search for something on the internet" then we will and Google can do fuck all about it.

Dictionaries, whose job in the English speaking world is to descriptively (we don't have prescriptive dictionaries like the French and Germans) document meaning and usage of the English Language, would be failing in their duty if there was no entry reflecting the use of "to google" in the sense described above.

Me(to Google the search engine company):

google! google! google! (hops around like the mad hermnit in life of Brian) I've said it again. What are you going to do about? google,google,google.

Google (looking like John Cleese): Shut up!

Me: google,google,google, I'm going to google for something!

Smart move (1)

videocrew (319055) | more than 7 years ago | (#15901994)

Ever use a zipper, margarine, or aspirin? All of those used to be trademarks of a company, but the company allowed their usage to become generic, and therefore lost the trademark. So now every company that wants to make a Zipper-brand zip fastener can just call it a zipper! If Google allows their trademark to become generic like that, every search engine can call themselves a google and confuse the hell out of the average internet user, as well as weaken or possibly destroy Google as a company.

This is not just a Google thing either. Xerox ran a huge campaign a while back encouraging people to "photocopy" things using a Xerox machine, not to just "xerox" it. Ever wonder why if you order a Coke in a restaraunt the waitress asks if Pepsi is ok (if that's all they have)? It's not just to keep you happy, it's to keep Coca-Cola's legal department and the legions of secret shoppers they employ off their backs.

Google's legal team are idiots. Here's why.... (1)

gatkinso (15975) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902002)

...you WANT your brand name to be synonomous with the product/service you provide. This is the ULTIMATE marketing coup.

For instance, many times somebody will say, "Do you wnt a coke?" when they mean, "do you want a soda." "You will need a Jeep to get up that trail" meaning "you will need a 4x4..." The list goes on.

Everytime the Washington Post or Time prints, "the father found out his daughter was a prostitute after googling her name..." is free advertisement for Google, and simply reinforces a self sustaining behavioral feedback to use Google to google information on the net.

Re:Google's legal team are idiots. Here's why.... (1, Redundant)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902045)

Not quite. Go look up the history of the word "xerox" for an example. Xerox lost the trademark on their own name over this exact issue. No company wants that.

Grammar correction: team is idiots. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902060)

"Google's legal team are idiots"

That should be "team is idiots". The singular applies, as there is only one team being referred to. "Are" could be used if you said "Google's legal teams are idiots".

Wanting it both ways (1)

lseltzer (311306) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902006)

Would these be the same media companies whose content Google is stealing on Google News?

Theft? (2, Informative)

krell (896769) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902032)

"Would these be the same media companies whose content Google is stealing on Google News?"

I google the news on Google News a lot. However, I've never seen stolen news there. I've seen copied news, but nothing stolen. I'm always able to find the original source, still there, easily.

the point is... (1)

excelsior_gr (969383) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902009)

There is no such thing as bad publicity. It is fairly sure that all those Google executives really love the fact that Google is being directly connected to the action of "using a search engine to recover information from the internet". They are currently expanding their activities in all possible activities one would use the internet for: random information searching, email, chatting, maps, etc (this is a really long list). I bet they want the same to happen for all other areas of their interest as well. Like, perhaps in future one would say: "What's your google account?" and really mean "What's your email account?".

What they dont't want is some other companies using their name to offer the same services as they do. Can you imagine a website www.nobody_has_heard_of_us_before.com displaying: "Google the internet now! Accurate results in only 0.000000032354 seconds!". Besides, they can not prevent the people from using the word any way they like (and they don't want to). But they can (and should) prevent other firms from using it in the fashion shown above.

Brand Mismanagement? (4, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902023)

Before everyone starts with the "OMG, Google is Evil!" let me say this.

Companies have collective wet dreams about their product names replacing generic terms, like Panadol instead Paracetamol, or Coke instead of Cola. But this is always as a reenforcement of their brand, if the term "brand" is understood NOT as simply a logo and pakaging, but all the intrinsic values of the product combined. For instance, if you ask for Panadol, it's for the brandname drug that is fast acting and effective in a low dose.

So when we say "to google" we mean to use this very efficient search engine with a low signal to noise ratio to quickly come up with a useful fact. Googles beef with this is the use of "to google" to mean "Use any search engine to...", this is akin to you going to a restaurant and upon asking for a Coke, you are instead served a Pepsi or Dr. Pepper.

Re:Brand Mismanagement? (1)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902067)

this is akin to you going to a restaurant and upon asking for a Coke, you are instead served a Pepsi or Dr. Pepper.

Not really, every resturant I've been in to will ask you if it's OK to serve you a different type of cola. If I ask for a Coke and they don't serve it then I'm asked if Pepsi will be OK.

At which point I ask for a lemonade...

There's lots of precedent (2, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902051)

Q-tip, Xerox, Escalator, Velcro, and Band-Aid are some more that haven't been mentioned yet.
Wiki entry for Genericized Trademark here [wikipedia.org]

In related news (1)

MECC (8478) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902056)

A class action lawsuit has been filed by people with the name "john" has been filed against toilet manufacturers and publishers in an attempt to prevent the term 'john' from being used to describe the latrine.

Joss Whedon, prepare for lawsuit. (1, Redundant)

w4rl5ck (531459) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902059)

... he used this back three or four years in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", season six. Forgot which episode, sorry.

Dialog, roughly:
"Did you google on her?" - "Jeez, Willow, she's 14!" - "No, I mean, did you do an internet research..."

Google does no evil? Well, let's think again. I tend so think different lately.

Japanese (4, Interesting)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902062)


Aww, the Japanese verb 'guguru', to search on the internet, is almost the only import from English that I don't hate. It's cool the way it becomes a proper verb with a full set of conjugations:

guguru -- google it
guguritakunakunaru -- to no longer want to google it
guguriyagaru -- f@@king google it
gugureba -- archaic pluperfect tense, now used as a subjunctive
gugurikarikeri -- poetic form: 'to have once been googled... and perhaps to be googled again'

Possibly from proto-Japonic '*gugumi', c.f. Goryeo '*g-g-o'.

Mind, I suppose it would depend on whether Google trademarked 'google' spelt in katakana.

Ala Wargames.... (1)

MedBob (96899) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902079)

(Ripping the Google letter from the lawyer's hands....)
You know how you asked me to let you know when you are acting rudely and insensitively?
(nods)
You're doing it now.....

We can't use it as a verb? Great Googley Moogley! (1)

aapold (753705) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902080)

That's just totally google, man.

Lessee. that's an exclamation and an adjective. I'm having trouble making it sound right as an adverb.

On second thought, I think we should use it in the manner the Smurfs used the word "smurf".

More examples (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902081)

You can google to easily find more letters, like here. [msn.com]

um okay? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15902098)

Dear World,

    We don't want our brand name to become synonymous with web searching.

Thanks in advance,
Google

Join Me In Turning This Around (1)

aplusjimages (939458) | more than 7 years ago | (#15902122)

Help me end this use of google as a verb and lets pick a lesser known search engine and make it a common word. Try these on for size.

"I Kartooed it last night"
"You can just Clusty it" "I found out how much your house was by icerocketing it"

These already sound so much catchier.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...