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Google challenges "google" as a verb.
the lawyers told me so

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 11:42 pm on Feb 25, 2003 (gmt 0)

Via /.:

[listserv.linguistlist.org ]



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 11:50 am on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

It can't be long before Google's lawyers start on 'Blogger', protecting it from usage such as 'blog', 'blogger', and 'blogging'.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 12:55 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

Well, to Google something is part of natural language allready, in William Gibsons new book, Pattern Recognition, the persons google for informations...

I think Google should smile and be happy, how much further can you go in branding?

In Serbo-Croat the word for razorblade is Gilette, that is maximum branding in my opinion.

If an SE optimized page is called an ulstrup'ed page I would'nt mind... ;)


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 11:30 pm on Feb 27, 2003 (gmt 0)

google has no hope in stopping someone reporting on the usage of the word 'google' as a verb (unless they use bullying tactics).

Also, they have absolutely no control over when that verb is applied so someone in ths thread is being very precious when they claim that it ONLY refers to the use of the google search engine.

The verb might have have entered the language because of the google search engine but its meaning is now much more broader and includes any similar type of search.

It is therefore possible to google someone on yahoo.

In the future the word might have an even more general application to include 'background check' conducted off-line as well as on-line.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 3:28 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

I am to give a presentation tomorrow to a group of middle school level technology teachers. The title I am using (and it appears on the frist frame of my PowerPoint introduction) is "Googling."

I am not about to change it tonight. I certainly hope there are no lawyer wanna-bees in the audience...


Don Markstein

10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 3:38 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

"One doesn't Coca Cola, nor does one Virgin when they travel, one doesn't Marriott in the same way one doesn't Explorer, and I do not Starbuck in the morning, so why on earth would anyone use Google as a verb."

ANY English noun can be verbed.

As long as they own google.com and its counterparts in other TLDs, I don't see that they have a problem. If the average person wanted to google the Internet, what could be more natural than to type "www.google.com"?


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 4:08 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

The term Googol search was used to perform a text search already predating the google trademark application. Google was 1999, this site claims 1998.


So in fact, one could argue that google simply took a common english word, and in fact that they should have no right to trademark it since it could be confused with the googol search page (albeit not likley anymore).

If Tim B wanted to expand this googolsearch page into a commercial venture he would find that a firm named Google has already established a search engine preventing him from his dream of being a worldwide search engine, yet he started using the term first, and clearly people would get confused between the two names.

Sounds good doesn't it :-)


WebmasterWorld Senior Member jimbeetle us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 5:27 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Appears that the SPAM folks have the best take about the whole thing (cited by beachboy way up above). They take it with as many grains of salt as they can and even cite precedents as to why they probably wouldn't have a leg to stand on in court.

A very adult attitude.

And (being in no way a lwayer), as for the Google claim for "mouse pads, flashlights, lamps, license plate frames and holders," etc., etc. If the items are being sold, well, then there's a trademark claim. Being given away a promotionmal items? Much shakier ground.

And just how does somebody provide "an on-line searchable database featuring mouse pads, flashlights, lamps, license plate frames and holders, books" blah blah blah.

Are those the only items I can find on Google? Has anybody here ever gotten a lamp or license plate frame when they used Google?

They have to do what they have to do to protect the name but I kind of think we're going to be hoovering up a lot of scrap paper after the fight.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 5:54 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

The comment I made above that it was possible to 'google someone on yahoo' reminded me of the fortune that yahoo spends on trying to get 'yahoo' accepted as a verb:

"do you yahoo?"

So for one search engine the centre of the marketing strategy is to turn their brand name into a verb

And for the other search engine they appear to not want their brand name used as a verb and threaten legal action against those that do.

And how ironic that the one who wants their name used as a verb cannot get this accepted and the one that doesn't is unable to stop it.

<edit>I see thefoomaster has already mentioned this above </edit>

Visit Thailand

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 6:57 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Forgive me but was the 'Do you Yahoo?' at a different time in the advertising world, when questions were common, such as 'GameBoy - Where do you play with yours? etc.

I think it is slightly different.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 7:45 am on Feb 28, 2003 (gmt 0)

Remember "Where do you want to go today?"

Did they put a TM on that? It's a crazy world when your next cab driver could be guilty of trademak infringment! LOL


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 12:36 am on Mar 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Strange -- google's trademark application has been live since September 1999. Why is it taking so long to process?


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 3:38 pm on Mar 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

Just been reading WebUser Magazine in the UK, Issue 50. There's an interesting article which compares Killerinfo, Wisenut, Teoma, Alltheweb and Kartoo with Google. A quote from that article reminded me of this thread:

Even the word 'Google' is now a part of our language. We can't be the only people who have used it as a verb - give it a year or two and you'll probably find Vb: to Google listed in the dictionary.


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 4:38 pm on Mar 1, 2003 (gmt 0)

To Google or to google?

To Google would imply the use of this specific research method (use of Google)

To google would be proper use of google as a synonym for "search/research/investigate/etc..."

For the TM reasons mentioned earlier, where lies the destinction, is there any in this case?

Kleenex, Gillette, Coca Cola, etc. are used for things, to google is something you do, you don't kleenex when blowing your nose, you don't shave when buying Gillettes and Coca Cola is not a synonym of drinking.

Are there any other instances of brands being used as verbs?


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 2:48 am on Mar 2, 2003 (gmt 0)

"Can you xerox this cartoon of the guy who feels he was just "googled" for me, along with this picture of a kid rollerblading on the tollway?


WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 8:30 pm on Mar 4, 2003 (gmt 0)

A blurb on yahoo about a new Supreme Court case on trademark dilution, and why a certain lingerie company
now has a (somewhat expensive) broken bra strap to mend.

As it's probably not appropriate to post a direct link, you can see the blurb by wandering over to Yahoo! Spilt Ink-on-me and, via their 'In the News' box, click on the link about Victor & Victoria's not so secret lil' court saga.

Raises an interesting question ... if a certain trademarks get diluted, do these become more transparent than the product fabric?


10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 4:29 am on Mar 9, 2003 (gmt 0)

While taking a break from getting as many pages cleaned up for the deep crawl, I was viewing the "overtime" thread and visited archive.org. I hate to bring back an old thread, but I couldn't resist.

Before I post the link to the page where Larry Page used Google as a verb "way back", I wanted to communicate that I don't believe the lawyer's letter that started this whole discussion was saying that Google can't be used as a verb, but only that it should be clear that when used as a verb it is referring to using Google. Interesting that Mr. Page used it without a capital G...


the end of a message posted on egroups July 8, 1998:

"Expect to see a lot of changes in Google in the next few months. We plan to have a much bigger index than our current 24 million pages soon. Thanks to all the people who have sent us logos, HTML and suggestions. Keep them coming!

Have fun and keep googling!



10+ Year Member

Msg#: 9611 posted 2:31 pm on Mar 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

And after all this CNN has on it's front page Who's Googling you right now? [cnn.com].

Will Google's lawyer contact AOL/Time Warner's lawyer for this or just surrender?

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