Google (verb)

Google (verb)

The transitive verb[1] to google (also spelled to Google) refers to using the Google search engine to obtain information on the Web. However, it can also be used as a general term for searching the internet using any search engine, not just Google. A neologism arising from the popularity and dominance[2] of the eponymous search engine, the American Dialect Society chose it as the "most useful word of 2002."[3] It was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary on June 15, 2006,[4] and to the eleventh edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary in July 2006.[5] The first recorded usage of google used as a gerund, thus supposing the verb, was on July 8, 1998, by Google co-founder Larry Page himself, who wrote on a mailing list: "Have fun and keep googling!"[6]

Fearing the genericizing and potential loss of its trademark, Google has discouraged use of the word as a verb, particularly when used as a synonym for general web searching. On February 23, 2003,[7] the company sent a cease and desist letter to Paul McFedries, creator of Word Spy, a website that tracks neologisms.[8] In an article in the Washington Post, Frank Ahrens discussed the letter he received from a Google lawyer that demonstrated "appropriate" and "inappropriate" ways to use the verb "google".[9] It was reported that, in response to this concern, lexicographers for the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary lowercased the actual entry for the word, google, while maintaining the capitalization of the search engine in their definition, "to use the Google search engine to seek online information" (a concern which did not deter the Oxford editors from preserving the history of both "cases").[10] On October 25, 2006, Google sent a plea to the public requesting that "you should please only use 'Google' when you’re actually referring to Google Inc. and our services."[11]

See also


  1. ^ "Google - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  2. ^ Burns, Enid (June 19, 2007). "Top 10 Search Providers, April 2007". Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  3. ^ "2002 Words of the Year". American Dialect Society. January 13, 2003. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  4. ^ Bylund, Anders. "To Google or Not to Google." The Motley Fool. July 5, 2006. Retrieved on March 28, 2007.
  5. ^ Harris, Scott D. "Dictionary adds verb: to google." San Jose Mercury News. July 7, 2006. Retrieved on July 7, 2006.
  6. ^ Page, Larry (July 8, 1998). "Google Search Engine: New Features". Google Friends Mailing List. Archived from the original on 1999-10-09. Retrieved 2007-08-06. 
  7. ^ McFedries, Paul (February 23, 2003). "Google trademark concerns". American Dialect Society Mailing List. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 
  8. ^ Duffy, Jonathan. "Google calls in the 'language police'." BBC News. June 20, 2003. Retrieved on July 7, 2006.
  9. ^ Frank Ahrens (2006-08-05). "So Google Is No Brand X, but What Is 'Genericide'?". Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-08-05. 
  10. ^ Noon, Chris. "Brin, Page See 'Google' Take Its Place In Dictionary." Forbes. July 6, 2006. Retrieved on July 7, 2006.
  11. ^ Krantz, Michael (October 25, 2006). "Do you "Google?"". The Official Google Blog. Retrieved 2007-08-11. 

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