Google – verb, noun or trademark?

A lot of big thinking in the PR revolves around the “would it be amazing if…” question.  I always say that it would be really cool if the client’s name became a verb, as well as a proper noun.  “I totally Ed Lee’d that presentation.  Hope I don’t get fired.”

Apparently, the distinction of becoming a cultural touchstone (such as David Armano’s creativity diagrams) isn’t good enough for the world’s most ubiquitous brand – Google. 

In a letter to the Washington Post, Google’s crack team of trademark protection lawyers asked Frank Aherns to cease and desist from committing genericide and was even kind enough to provide a list of acceptable and unacceptable alternatives. 

  • Acceptable: I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party
  • Unacceptable: I googled that hottie

I’ll give Google a pass on using the word “hottie” in legal correspondence but I can’t believe that a team of lawyers representing one of the most innovative internet-based companies sent the complaint via snail mail.

Tip of the hat to Jason Stamper, editor of Computer Business Review, the Economist of the technology space, back in the UK.  And yes.  I wrote about Google to boost my search engine ranking.  Google’s spiders love seeing itself. 

Do you represent a laptop manufacturer or retailer? Do you want your logo here? If you do, please email me!


5 Responses to Google – verb, noun or trademark?

  1. I’m sure I heard the term ‘Googling’ on the Simpsons. That makes it law – right?

  2. newmw says:

    The Simpsons = the law, so probably yeah 🙂 In Dutch the term is also embedded in today’s language in the form of ‘Google-en’. Just like Photoshoppen by the way. So it’s not just in English.

  3. I’m sure Google’s lawyers would love my constant remarking “I’m not sure how to answer that question – I’ll give it a goog.”

    In fact, the “goog” has become the response to every unanswerable question, lately:

    “Why does my mother insist on treating me like I’m still 15?”
    “I dunno, give it a goog!”

  4. […] we’d flick through newspapers and magazines to find something worth reading. Now we give it a goog just do a Google […]

  5. […] get coverage on.  Like when Diet Coke got upset at the Mentos video or Google started sending out cease-and-desist orders for anyone who used their name as a […]

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