14 August 2006

Google going the Oprah route?

OK, this is kind of scarey, given the non-traditional, do no evil, corporate culture/philosophy that they usually portray. But guess what? Google is pulling an Oprah:
Search engine giant Google, known for its mantra "don't be evil", has fired off a series of legal letters to media organizations, warning them against using its name as a verb.
Rather than focus on the use of their trademarked name (which they have every right to protect), perhaps they should focus on ensuring that the definition of "Googling" retains its current meaning, and that this definition spreads throughout popular culture:
The verb to Google, or to google (depending on the dictionary) means "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet."
That way, Google is protecting its trademark, but allowing its name to become a part of culture. To me, I think it would help a company, not harm it, when the name of something that the company has invented (whether it be a product or a service) becomes a part of our every day vocabulary, especially when the name of the product is the same as the name of the company.

I just don't get it when companies object to their names becoming something more than what they are. Take, for example, Xerox and Kleenex, which have objected to the conversion of their trademarked names into generalized terms.

So, instead of objecting to various media organizations' use of the verb "to Google" (and variations thereof), perhaps Google should just be making sure that the journalists who use the verb are, in fact, using the Google search engine to conduct their web queries. What do you think?

Independent Online Edition > Business News