Attention English Teachers: Google Is Officially A Verb

from the fun-for-the-trademark-lawyers dept

Every summer, it's always fun to see what new tech-related words make it into the Oxford English Dictionary as official "words." A few years ago, it was things like "blog," "cyberslacker," and "egosurf." This year, however, the Google lawyers probably won't be all that thrilled to discover that Google has now been included as a verb. Yes, that's right. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it's now perfectly legitimate to say you "Googled" something. From the standpoint of Google, however, this could take them a step closer to losing the trademark on their own name, as it starts to fall into more common usage. Can Google sue the Oxford English Dictionary?


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  1.  
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    zomg, Jul 5th, 2006 @ 11:51pm

    1zt

    ZOMGBBQ!

     

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  2.  
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    racked_all, Jul 5th, 2006 @ 11:52pm

    tricky question

    now that's a tricky job even for google lawyers... But I'm happy to see it in Oxford

     

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  3.  
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    name, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 12:28am

    google'd

    i was on google when i googled google and found google in the google result list. google.

    "googldy googldy google. - quagmire"

     

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  4.  
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    ®idiculous ©rap, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 12:30am

    Yep it is. Also, Band-Aid is a noun and a verb.

    How can this be anything but good news for Google? It’s not like Yahoo could start advertising to users that they can now “Google directly from the Yahoo homepage!” even if Yahoo wanted to, which they wouldn’t!

    As an individual person in my private conversation, if I wish, I can refer to every ‘adhesive bandage’ as a Band-Aid, but 3M can not;

    I can refer to every ‘cotton swab’ as a Q-Tip if I want, but Georgia-Pacific can not;

    I can refer to every carbonated beverage as a Coke, but Pepsi can not...

    Do you need more examples?

     

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  5.  
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    Sohrab, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 1:05am

    I think its good for them. its like when people used to and still say they TiVo'd their show, even if they maybe just have a DVR

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 1:24am

    does this mean that microsoft office will finally be forced to add google and googled to its dang dictionary? I'm getting tired of seeing red lines under "google"

     

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  7.  
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    Shanking Stevens, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 2:24am

    Just like Hoover then.
    Shanking Stevens

     

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  8.  
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    Sandah Aung, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 3:11am

    Google is power

    This means that one of the influential chronicler of the English has recognised the dominance of Google on the day-to-day language of the people. I think this idea of suing Oxford English Dictionary is absurd since the inclusion of the term only indicates the power of Google to make its way into a global language.

     

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  9.  
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    greglas, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 3:35am

    I doubt they can sue, Mike, if the question is serious. They can write a letter saying how upset they are, perhaps.

     

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  10.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jul 6th, 2006 @ 3:36am

    hmm

    Let's Xerox that press release... oh wait.

     

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  11.  
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    Pedant, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 4:38am

    Re: Yep it is. Also, Band-Aid is a noun and a verb

    Seeing as its the Oxford English Dictionary english english - american english Plaster = Band-Aid Cotton wool bud/ear bud = Q-Tip beverage = drink

     

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  12.  
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    Pedant, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 4:41am

    Re: Yep it is. Also, Band-Aid is a noun and a verb

    Seeing as its the Oxford English Dictionary

    english english - american english
    Plaster = Band-Aid
    Cotton wool bud/ear bud = Q-Tip
    beverage = drink

     

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  13.  
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    MEoip, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 4:45am

    That would be perfectly cromulent.

     

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  14.  
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    Stephen Baldwin, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 5:30am

    ...

    Seriously now...do we need to make ourselves look any more foolish to other countries? Don't get me wrong, I like google, but to make it a verb. I even understand that it has become a huge part of our language, but do we need to let other countries know that. T_T

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 5:47am

    Re:

    Does this embiggen Google?

     

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  16.  
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    JEFF, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 5:59am

    GOOGLED

    GOOGLE IS THE DOMINATOR RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

     

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  17.  
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    Norwegian Dude, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 6:00am

    Google

    Here in Norway, google is often used as a verb. It's very common, and i belive that we will adapt this verb from the english language in a few years just like we have adapted many other words.

     

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  18.  
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    sheepo, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 6:01am

    lol it's about time! most people i know have been usin google as a verb for ages now! i googled this, i googled that.. bla bla.. now its official! awesome! =D

     

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  19.  
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    Jay Knite, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 6:34am

    verb with an uppercase?

    In the list of new additions you'll find that Google v. is spelled with an upper case G. As far as I can remember this is incorrect, a verb would be lower case.

     

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  20.  
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    Jedi Wannabe, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 6:52am

    Re: Microsoft adding Google to Dictionary

    To the previous Anon/coward that posted about being upset about seeing red lines under Google. . . Like you don't know how to add words to the dictionary!? You have to wait for Microshaft to do that!?

     

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  21.  
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    SPR, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 6:52am

    Re: Google is power

    Hey Sandah, get your head out of the sandah and maybe you will be able to recognize sarcasm, wit and absurdity!!

     

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  22.  
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    Michael J. Ryan, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 6:54am

    Someone go grab me a ...

    Coke. (It's a pretty common use to describe *any* soda by a lot of people, but even given its' common use out of context Coca Cola Corp. hasn't lost their Trademark name.)

     

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  23.  
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    Jedi Wannabe, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 7:03am

    Re: verb with an uppercase?

    The reason that this particluar verb is listed as uppercase, jay knite, is that this verb is also a proper name, which is most certainly printed with an uppercase letter. Hmm. A real issue. Google the company would certainly have a problem if their company name was not properly printed with a leading uppercase letter.

    Regards,

    jEDI wANNABE

     

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  24.  
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    The China Sensor, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 7:08am

    Verb Blocked

    I can see it now, China *bleeping* out english conversations because we used the word Google to describe an action.
    Actor1: I think I'm pretty important!
    Actor2: That good, huh? Really? Then go *bleep* yourself!

     

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  25.  
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    eNola, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 7:41am

    Google Says:

    You have no chance to survive make your time.

     

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  26.  
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    EdB, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: verb with an uppercase?

    Wrong. According to Meriam Webster the newly defined verb is "google". The trademarked name is "Google". Techdirt is wrong to have capitalized it as a verb. For example "I google images using Google's image search feature."

     

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  27.  
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    NGUVU, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 7:57am

    Re:

    Right Click - and Add to Dictionary :)

     

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  28.  
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    BillDivX, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 8:00am

    to the guy wondering...

    why google being a oxford verb is bad for google:

    When was the last time you called an elevator a "lift," or "Ascending Room?"

    But that's the name for the device itself! Elevator was a brand name. Now when was the last time you remember seeing an actual Elevator brand "lift?" The point is, that people associate the generic versions with the name, and the actual brand loses it's identity. the company Elevator isn't even in business anymore, and tons of other companies call themselves "Elevator" manufacturers. Qtip is a brand which is about halfway there. The real name is "Cotton swab," QTip is a brand name. But how many people have ever called another brand "Qtip", probably without even thinking about it.

    Once "Google" becomes synonomous with "search," it will be pretty hard for google to stop it. It doesn't seem like much now, but the pattern has happened many times. give it 30 years, and Google the company will be gone, and we'll all be saying "Let's go google that on MSN" (or something else, I hope we won't still be using MSN in 30 years...)

     

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  29.  
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    Jonh D (profile), Jul 6th, 2006 @ 8:02am

    Re: Yep it is. Also, Band-Aid is a noun and a ver

    A genericized trademark can not longer be legally enforced. This has happened more often than you might think. Below are a few product names that were originally trademarked, but now either are not, or are but are unenforceable. In most cases, the original trademark owner was forced be neccessity to create new names which could then be trademarked again and suffered brand dilution (and loss of market share) until they were able to get the new name known (if they were able to).

    (source: http://www.reference.com/browse/wiki/Genericized_trademark. Not the complete list, just ones that I felt would be well known.)

    Allen wrench (or Allen key)- hexagonal screwdriver (A rarity among generic words, 'Allen wrench' is no longer trademarked, but is still capitalized because it is named after a company)

    aspirin - ASA (acetylsalicylic acid; remains as a registered trademark in many places around the world in the name of Bayer, but not in the United States)

    bikini - two-piece swimsuit for women

    brassiere - women's undergarment used for breast support

    cellophane - transparent paper

    celluloid - film material

    dry ice - frozen carbon dioxide

    escalator - moving staircase

    formica (plastic) - laminated plastic surface

    frisbee - toy plastic flying disc

    gramophone - record player

    granola - oat and fruit bar

    hoagie - sandwich

    heroin - narcotic drug; originally registered by Bayer as a pain reliever

    hula hoop - toy hoop; originally made of various materials, generic name trademarked by Wham-O when it was redesigned in plastic in the late 1950's

    jungle gym - play structure (from 'Junglegym')

    LP - long playing record

    lanolin - purified, wax-like substance from sheep's wool

    linoleum - floor covering

    mimeograph - reproduction machine

    photostat - reproduction machine

    plasterboard - formed gypsum building material

    spandex - polyurethane fiber; an anagram of "expands"; DuPont later introduced new trademark, Lycra

    Webster's dictionary - the publishers with the strongest link to the original are Merriam-Webster, but they have a trademark only on "Merriam-Webster", and other dictionaries are legally published as "Webster's Dictionary"

    yo-yo - toy

    zeppelin - dirigible airship

    zipper - zip fastener

     

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  30.  
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    NGUVU, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 8:06am

    GGG

    Once I googled google using Google! Seriously...

     

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  31.  
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    Dave Cooper, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 8:10am

    One That Fought

    Rollerblade(R) fought this and, despite "No Rollerblading" signs being everywhere, they are in that particular purgatory between Brand Name and Common Usage.

    On another note..."google" already has a place in the dictionary, the original meaning before there was a search engine, the number represented by a "1" followed by one hundred zeros. That's big. Heck, I'd bet that Google is not worth a google pennies.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 8:15am

    Re: ...

    I dont get it, what is foolish-appearing about this?

     

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  33.  
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    wolff000, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 8:23am

    Re: to the guy wondering...

    No its not bad for business. Coke has been used a a generic term for pop for years yet Coke the company is still going strong. Q-Tips is a product name not a brand name they are owned by Unilever. Yes they were a independent company but where bought out in 1986 so sorry but bad comparison. Google is already synonomous with the word search just look it up in the dictionary. Oh and on the elevator issue I often refer to an elevator as a lift as do millions of other people overseas.

     

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  34.  
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    Correct Pedant, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 8:33am

    Re: Re: Yep it is. Also, Band-Aid is a noun and a

    It's - a contraction of it is
    Its - possessive of it

    Idiot. I don't have time.

     

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  35.  
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    Ryan, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 8:38am

    Aweseome it's a verb and a noun so now I can Google my Google to the Google to Google some Google for my Google.

     

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  36.  
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    gonzague dambricourt, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 9:23am

    Re:

    it wouldnt be bad :) you're right :

    how boring to have red lines under "Google" while every Microsoft product are in Office's dictionnaires

     

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  37.  
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    NGUVU, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 9:23am

    Had to see it in black and white...

    10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0 00,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

     

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  38.  
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    Nit Picker, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 9:31am

    10 to the 100th

    Actually, 1 followed by 100 zeros (or 10 to the 100th power) is googol not google.

    10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 9:56am

    Re: hmm

    that was good... lol

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 10:18am

    Will anybody in Generation-X use this verb?

    I think a lot of the brand names became common verbs or nouns in casual conversation because of a person's first few times of hearing the brand name said in that context.
    I always ask for a Q-Tip or Kleanex (sp?) or Band-Aid because that's how my parents referred to them as; however, my grand-parents always use the definition of those brand names such as cotton swab, tissue or bandage. But I never ask something to be Xeroxed (even if it is using a Xerox copies) or say "Let's go Rollerblading" because those things were invented during my lifetime, and I know what they are.

    So I can't see Google being used as a verb much by people who were born before the invention of a search engine (not many on this site by the looks of it), but it may find it's way in a later generation.

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 10:36am

    Re: Re: Re: verb with an uppercase?

    Too bad we're talking about Oxford, not Meriam Webster.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 11:07am

    Re: dictionary

    Or you could add it to your MS dictionary yourself you lazy ass bastard....if you are not sure how to do this you could google it.

     

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  43.  
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    duodave, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 11:17am

    Re: Yep it is. Also, Band-Aid is a noun and a ver

    Band-aid is also an adjective, as in "It was a band-aid fix."

     

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  44.  
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    operator, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 12:03pm

    w00t.

     

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  45.  
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    Professor STFU, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 12:18pm

    Bad Oxford

    Damn it! Google is a NOUN not a verb. It means, and has always meant, ten to the one hundred power. End of story.

    Saying you googled something is like saying you xerox something. At best it's slang and at worst it's just plain wrong. We already have two standard English words that mean what you want: searched and researched. Use them.

    Putting "google" in the dictionary as a verb is just plain stupid. Image if they did that with Yahoo or Lycos. Yeah, Google is a great search engine, but it's not a verb.

    Also, "it was a band-aid fix" isn't an adjective. It's a colloquialism.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Bad Oxford

    Maybe you should google "Google" before assuming it's definition.
    googol not google.

     

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  47.  
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    Sean, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 12:56pm

    Um, no mike, Google can't sue the dictionary. For what? Adding their name to the expansive vocabulary of the English language? People use the term "Google" as a verb anyway, may as well lend some official recognition to it.

    What would they sue for anyway? Removal? Why not attempt that for any number of other words as well?

     

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  48.  
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    Dave, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 1:07pm

    Re: One That Fought

    Yeah, that's the one that I remember - the Rollerblade thing. It was funny to see their lawyer telling people not to use rollerblading as a verb.

    Use of that verb would, of course, tend to increase their business, not damage it. It's so obviously stupid to try to prevent this that I could only imagine that maybe it was just a craven move by these lawyers to bilk Rollerblade for some more money, or, even more cynically, maybe Rollerblade knew that this was nonsense, but told the lawyers to do it anyway for a quick hit of additional publicity.

     

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  49.  
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    Dave, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 1:09pm

    Re: One That Fought

    By the way, the number "one" followed by a hundred zeros is Googol, not Google. :)

     

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  50.  
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    Madbot, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 1:24pm

    Definition processing

    Word: google
    Definition: v. to search for something using the search engine google

    computing... to search for something using the search engineto search for something using the search engineto search for something using the search engineto search for something using the search engineto search for something using the search engineto search for something using the search engine

    warning.. warning... cannot compute... cannot compute (sound of explosion and shrapnel from my head flying everywhere)

     

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  51.  
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    Logicbot, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 1:40pm

    Seriously though...

    Google doesn't have to worry about going the way of kleenex and q-tip and elevator etc (using a trademarked name as a general reference to an object)... simply because it's being used as a verb that denotes the action of using the Google search engine. You can't google something on yahoo or msn search... the trademark itself is IN the defintion. If you tell someone to google something then you can only mean to look it up using Google's search engine and nothing else.

     

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  52.  
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    Quberoot, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 1:41pm

    Coke

    One thing you might be missing is how hard Coke fights to keep their name from being generic. Virtually a lost war (at least in the South), but they have been known to hire secret shoppers at restaurants to see if Pepsi-joined companies will accept orders for "Coke" without responding "is Pepsi okay?"

     

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  53.  
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    jimpbblmk, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 1:54pm

    Googolplex

    And then, a googolplex is '1' followed by a googol zeros (i.e. 10^googol power)

     

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  54.  
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    Pm Dh, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 4:32pm

    Google as a verb? Xerox me a copy of the document and let me think of it!

     

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  55.  
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    Celes, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Will anybody in Generation-X use this verb?

    Although I've honestly *never* heard anyone say, "Let's go in-line skating!"

     

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  56.  
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    Dougll, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 9:34pm

    NOT Googol

    this would be so much more difficult had Google used the original word Googol as their name.

    I think there would probably be no copyright ever if they used Googol, instead of creating their own word.

    It is important for Google to battle Webster and get the term out - so they can maintain their copyright. They have to maintain their copyright, or else it goes out into the public domain and we'd have every ebay seller and two-bit website saying they're sponsored or in sponsorship with Google.

    I guess Google can mak their own case to demonstrate how they have maintained their copyright and that the term's use isn't as widespread as Webster believes.

     

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  57.  
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    GoogleSayer, Jul 6th, 2006 @ 10:48pm

    How is it anything but?

    Dougll, seriously, how is it anything but widespread? I'm 23 and I've heard my 40 something year old uncle who is anything but computer savvy use it.

     

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  58.  
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    Ben Dover, Jul 7th, 2006 @ 3:07am

    Dictionary

    Head

    "giving head"

    "getting head"

    Is that in the Oxford?

     

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  59.  
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    Jochan, Jul 10th, 2006 @ 5:36am

    Re: ...

    I was rather surprised to see the addition into an English dictionary as news.

    The verb googeln 'to google' has actually been in at least one major German dictionary for two years or so (a search revealed the term in a 2004 edition of the dictionary).

     

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  60.  
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    Clair, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 10:59pm

    Re: Re: ...

    This is interesting. I didn't know about this until today.

    In any case, google added to the dictionary is interesting. People have been using it as a verb for quite a while now.

     

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  61.  
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    JM Ibanez, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 11:24pm

    Google as a verb

    I doubt they'd lose the trademark. For one thing, it's the other way around-- you can't register a trademark if it's already a common word. However, if your trademark *becomes* a common word, I doubt that you'd lose it. IANAL, of course.

     

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  62.  
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    MikeW, Jul 23rd, 2006 @ 9:08am

    Trademark, not copyright

    If the term google has any legal protection, it's a trademark, not a copyright.
    You trademark words. You copyright works.

     

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  63.  
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    rupbo@mail.com, Jul 23rd, 2006 @ 9:52am

    nrvftm xesl

    zturno cjlsxbt cxvqom vrcmf etvpmq usdpzrqo eqhvfozs

     

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  64.  
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    uwqos@mail.com, Jul 23rd, 2006 @ 9:52am

    ftkvsmw lgsi

    mvjwoa vkwp ukygiqx fjtvaez atopxbfk qvitlgkf zdfusyqvb

     

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  65.  
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    eukv@mail.com, Jul 23rd, 2006 @ 11:13am

    ziqagc gkzcru

    ahzltd nykglc moref ujmyapqh ljtxqokz cmbqdoti tuyrox

     

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  66.  
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    Brian J. Weimer, Jul 23rd, 2006 @ 7:53pm

    I googled google using Google! Seriously...

    The word "google" was first used in the 1927 Little Rascals silent film "Dog Heaven", used to refer to a having a drink of water.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Sandah, Nov 27th, 2006 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re: Google is power

    My name is Sandah... this is too funny

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Brian, May 24th, 2007 @ 9:53pm

    Re: Re: Bad Oxford

    You were right on target about the distinction between
    "Google" and "googol."

    But you may want to pay more attention to punctuation.
    "It's" is not the possessive of "it," but rather a
    contraction of "It is."

    Brian

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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