This article was recently turned into a video for our YouTube channel, which you can check out above. If videos aren’t your thing, you can read the original article below.
Today we’re here to talk about the fact that Google hates it when people say that they’re going to google something.
Yes, as weird as it sounds, Google despises what essentially equates to free advertising and they’ve been known to flex their legal muscle purely to pressure people into not using the term in an official sense. For everyone who doesn’t have a friggin’ clue what the hell we’re talking about, Google as well as being the most popular search engine in the world, is also a verb that basically means “to search for something on the internet“. So if you wanted to search for the author of this piece on the internet, you could say “I’m going to google that Karl Smallwood dude to see if that’s his real name“. The term is so ubiquitous and ingrained within pop culture that it has appeared in numerous TV shows, movies and comics as well as being listed in practically every dictionary on Earth.
You’d think that this would be the ultimate end goal for any company, to have their name become so synonymous with the service they provide that it becomes literally part of language, oddly though, that really isn’t the case. You see, the second the word “google” enters mainstream vocabulary, how it’s used immediately falls out of Google’s hands which is a terrifying prospect for any company because once that happens, they can never get the brand name back. If you think that sounds stupid, just ask, the company’s that originally made Aspirin, Escalators, Kerosene and Sellotape if they think so. All of those things used to be patented trademarks until they became so commonly used by the public that they lost their legal status.
You may think that Google is too big for this to happen to them, but people probably said the same thing about the company’s that used to make dry ice or cellophane before the exact same thing happened to them. It’s for this reason that Google has very aggressively tried to defend its brand name from becoming a generic, catch-all term for searching for stuff online in the past by sending threatening legal letters and even writing a blog post pleading with people to only use the word Google in reference to them. For example, in 2006, Google sent a bunch of strongly worded, hand-written letters to people trying to use the term “to google” on their websites encouraging them to use the word in a more appropriate way. So, what is an appropriate way to use the word “Google” in a sentence without pissing off a billion dollar company you ask? Well, according to an actual letter signed off by Google, if you wanted to say that you met a cute guy and wanted to search for him online you should say:
“I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party”
“I googled that hottie.”
In case you’re wondering, yes, that is the exact phrasing Google used in the official letters it sent out to professional bloggers and columnists across the web. Oh, and if you’re wondering why we’ve used a lower case G whenever we’ve used the term “google” it’s because that’s the way dictionaries spell it to avoid annoying the company further.
In short, every time you use the word google meaning to search something online, you’re pissing off a billion dollar company and also Bing, so we implore you to do it as much as possible.