Google lawyers take offence at 'genericide'; inappropriate use of the name


The Google lawyers have got hot under the collar, last month sending a letter to the Washington Post citing inappropriate use of the term ‘to google’.

It’s another case of a trademarked name becoming a generic term for a particular object or service, and they don’t like it.

Ever helpful, the letter from Google gave some examples of appropriate and inappropriate uses of the term ‘to google’.

Here’s a sensible enough one, I guess:

"Appropriate: He ego-surfs on the Google search engine to see if he’s listed in the results.

"Inappropriate: He googles himself."

and here’s one that has got the Net community sniggering to themselves.

"Appropriate: I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party.

"Inappropriate: I googled that hottie."

I’m not totally convinced that Google is so generic that ‘to google’ is
being used universally – the fact is that a lot of people, when they
say they ‘googled’ something, do actually use Google.

We never used to say that we ‘Alta Vista’d’ something (remember them?),
and I wonder, if by some freak accident Google is toppled from the top
of the search engine pile, people will keep on using the phrase?

Personally, I would’ve thought it was in the company’s best interests
to ensure people use ‘Google’ in conversation as much as possible,
particularly for such a forward-thinking company. Is this just a case
of lawyers getting in the way?

Great examples, though. Googled any hotties lately?

Andy Merrett
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