Google has taken a brief break from its quest to index everything the world to protect its trademark. According to a story at Silicon.com, Google has expressed its intention to ask people and media outlets to stop using Google as a verb (“I googled for a good Thai lunch place in New York.”)
Why now? You know, the best time to have begun this campaign was, oh I dunno, THREE OR FOUR YEARS AGO. Definitely sometime before Merriam-Webster added Google to their dictionary.
And of course, I’d have a little better time understanding this if Google weren’t using quotes with the offending verb on its own web site (that’s ostensibly a quote from Larry, no less!) If Google doesn’t like it okay, it doesn’t like it. But why continue to quote usage of the verb on its own site? Do their lawyers send letters to themselves?
The Larry quote is from 1998. But if you run the Google search (googled OR googling) site:google.com inurl:press you will see that Google noted a press mention using an iteration of the Google verb back in 2001, and the verb was in regular circulation in 2002/2003. Why now? Was a critical mass hit?
So here’s an open question to the other search engines: do you also mind? Tell us now. Can we gigablast a query, yahoo a lunch place, askcom a new set of speakers, or exalead a technology we’re trying to understand?
Just trying to get that all nailed down before another round of letters goes out.
In the meantime, I will comply with Google’s request and no longer use “Google” as a verb. Instead I will substitute “donoevil”.
Now if you’ll pardon me, I’m off to donoevil the Oakland Raiders’ offensive strategy and figure out what’s gone wrong…