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Googling With Google Is Good, But Very Bad Elsewhere

 10:23 pm on Oct 25, 2006 (gmt 0)

Usage: 'Google' as verb referring to searching for information via any conduit other than Google.
Example: "I googled him on Yahoo and he seems pretty interesting."
Our lawyers say: Bad. Very, very bad. You can only "Google" on the Google search engine. If you absolutely must use one of our competitors, please feel free to "search" on Yahoo or any other search engine.

Do you Google? [googleblog.blogspot.com]

Google tries to clarify the use of its trademark.



 10:35 am on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

As the BBC recently pointed out, "google" was already an English language verb in the early 20th Century before the computer or internet even existed.

Nowadays it's usually used as the adjective "googly" as a term in the game of cricket. A cricket bowler who bowls googly balls is a googler, or someone who googles. If you do a search through an archive of cricketing journalism, you'll find plenty of mentions of people googling.

If something related to this ever went to court, especially an English or Commonwealth court, there's a chance that Google might get a nasty shock.


 11:03 am on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)


Oh I don't think so, but IANAL.

The new coined meaning of "to Google" is so different that there is no possible confusion with the old "to google".

The recent "SPAM" trademark case loss by Hormel was because (a) "SPAM" referring to electronic pork scratchings is quite probably more widely used than than Hormel's spicy concoction of centrifuged pig and (b) that Hormel was trying to protect non-pig related uses that could not possibly be confused with their brand.

I know that I'm not often tempted to pop into my local supermarket and buy a can of centrifuged pig OR canned knock-off V***** and email lottery notifications, but I certainly wouldn't confuse the two, and I can't think that anyone else would either.

And I think that English speakers are quite capable of living with words of different meaning that happen to have the same spelling, else "to bowl the maiden over" would never be amusing.




 1:05 pm on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

Whereas to bowl a maiden over is quite an accomplishment.


 1:09 pm on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

I'm not sure they've clarified this enough for my liking.

If I go and search for myself at AOL I get a bunch of results returned from a Google conduit. Does this mean I can say I googled myself at AOL?


 7:12 pm on Oct 26, 2006 (gmt 0)

> Oh I don't think so, but IANAL.

I agree that Google has defined a new use but you can lose your right to protection when a Trademark passes into common usage... as an example: "I hoovered the carpet today". I say, ignore Google's lawyers, this train has already left the station. It is the price to pay for being ubiquitous.



 2:38 am on Oct 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

This is total nonsense. Google is the name of the company. Googled is not. A company name cannot be a verb, it is always a noun.

The only case to which they can rightfully object is the use of 'Google' inappropriately such as in the phrase "I used Google at yahoo.com" or "Major Googles include MSN and Yahoo".

I like to use Google to search but I really don't like to be told what to say or what to write by anyone.


 8:47 am on Oct 27, 2006 (gmt 0)

Nowadays it's usually used as the adjective "googly" as a term in the game of cricket.

...and, since a googly is a cricket ball that comes at you and doesn't quite do what you expect it to, that endorses fully using the term "To Google" ...on Google, of course.


 10:04 am on Oct 28, 2006 (gmt 0)

Personally nowadays, when someone tells me they "googled" anything its rarely ever Google and then they have no clue as to why they said it that way.


 3:27 pm on Oct 30, 2006 (gmt 0)

Google will never be able to hire enough lawyers to stop it and then if they did...they wouldn't be able to hire enough public relations to fix the damage they did. Why don't they just give it up and accept it just like webmasters have to do when google has a whim.

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