It’s happened! With Google permeating almost every single aspect of our online activities (check out this page for the number of Google services open to the public), it was only a matter of time until they started to impose some sort of regulation on the way we speak as well. After all, linguistics is one frontier they still have to prove their superiority in. From the official Google blog:
A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device that identifies a particular company’s products or services. Google is a trademark identifying Google Inc. and our search technology and services. While we’re pleased that so many people think of us when they think of searching the web, let’s face it, we do have a brand to protect, so we’d like to make clear that you should please only use “Google” when you’re actually referring to Google Inc. and our services.
They then list correct and incorrect ways of using the term “Google” and “to google”, like this:
Usage: ‘Google’ as verb referring to searching for information via any conduit other than Google.
Example: “I googled him on Yahoo and he seems pretty interesting.”
Our lawyers say: Bad. Very, very bad. You can only “Google” on the Google search engine. If you absolutely must use one of our competitors, please feel free to “search” on Yahoo or any other search engine.
Now, while they managed to pull this off in a semi-humorous way via their blog, it reminds me of Adobe’s efforts to make people use insipid phrases like the following:
CORRECT: The image was enhanced with Adobe® Photoshop® Elements software.
INCORRECT: The image was photoshopped.
INCORRECT: The image was Photoshopped.
INCORRECT: The image was Adobe® Photoshopped.
I wonder if the language purists at Google object to President Bush’s use of “the Google” as well.