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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  • identicon
    zomg, 5 Jul 2006 @ 11:51pm

    1zt

    ZOMGBBQ!

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

  • identicon
    racked_all, 5 Jul 2006 @ 11:52pm

    tricky question

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

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

  • identicon
    name, 6 Jul 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"

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

  • identicon
    ®idiculous ©rap, 6 Jul 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?

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

    • icon
      Jonh D (profile), 6 Jul 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

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

    • identicon
      duodave, 6 Jul 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."

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

  • identicon
    Sohrab, 6 Jul 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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 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"

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

  • identicon
    Shanking Stevens, 6 Jul 2006 @ 2:24am

    Just like Hoover then.
    Shanking Stevens

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

  • identicon
    Sandah Aung, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    greglas, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), 6 Jul 2006 @ 3:36am

    hmm

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

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

  • identicon
    Pedant, 6 Jul 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

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

  • identicon
    Pedant, 6 Jul 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

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

    • identicon
      Correct Pedant, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    MEoip, 6 Jul 2006 @ 4:45am

    That would be perfectly cromulent.

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

  • identicon
    Stephen Baldwin, 6 Jul 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

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

  • identicon
    JEFF, 6 Jul 2006 @ 5:59am

    GOOGLED

    GOOGLE IS THE DOMINATOR RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

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

  • identicon
    Norwegian Dude, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    sheepo, 6 Jul 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

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

  • identicon
    Jay Knite, 6 Jul 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.

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

    • identicon
      Jedi Wannabe, 6 Jul 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

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

      • identicon
        EdB, 6 Jul 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."

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

  • identicon
    Michael J. Ryan, 6 Jul 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.)

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

  • identicon
    The China Sensor, 6 Jul 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!

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

  • identicon
    eNola, 6 Jul 2006 @ 7:41am

    Google Says:

    You have no chance to survive make your time.

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

  • identicon
    BillDivX, 6 Jul 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...)

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

    • identicon
      wolff000, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    NGUVU, 6 Jul 2006 @ 8:06am

    GGG

    Once I googled google using Google! Seriously...

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

    • identicon
      Brian J. Weimer, 23 Jul 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Dave Cooper, 6 Jul 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.

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

    • identicon
      Dave, 6 Jul 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.

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

    • identicon
      Dave, 6 Jul 2006 @ 1:09pm

      Re: One That Fought

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

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

    • identicon
      eukv@mail.com, 23 Jul 2006 @ 11:13am

      ziqagc gkzcru

      ahzltd nykglc moref ujmyapqh ljtxqokz cmbqdoti tuyrox

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

  • identicon
    Ryan, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    NGUVU, 6 Jul 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

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

  • identicon
    Nit Picker, 6 Jul 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

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    operator, 6 Jul 2006 @ 12:03pm

    w00t.

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

  • identicon
    Professor STFU, 6 Jul 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.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2006 @ 12:53pm

      Re: Bad Oxford

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

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

      • identicon
        Brian, 24 May 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 chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sean, 6 Jul 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?

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

  • identicon
    Madbot, 6 Jul 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)

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

  • identicon
    Logicbot, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    Quberoot, 6 Jul 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?"

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

  • identicon
    jimpbblmk, 6 Jul 2006 @ 1:54pm

    Googolplex

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

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

  • identicon
    Pm Dh, 6 Jul 2006 @ 4:32pm

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

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

  • identicon
    Dougll, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    GoogleSayer, 6 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    Ben Dover, 7 Jul 2006 @ 3:07am

    Dictionary

    Head

    "giving head"

    "getting head"

    Is that in the Oxford?

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

  • identicon
    JM Ibanez, 13 Jul 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.

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

  • identicon
    MikeW, 23 Jul 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.

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


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