Google Gets Picky Over Use of Name

Dennis Faas's picture

Is Google losing its cool?

The company once considered to be the "it" IT organization -- complete with customizable employee cubicles -- is now acting like your mother. Despite its attempts to reach into pretty much every avenue an Internet-based company can, Google is surprising some followers by demanding that the public stop using its name in off-hand casual conversation.

For example: Let's say you went to a baseball game. A batter recently called up from the minors steps to the plate, takes a good look at a high-outside pitch before pounding the ball into the opposite bleachers. "Wow," you say to your half-drunken friend, "who is that guy?" In between gulps of barley and hops your pal mumbles, "I dunno; google him."

What's wrong with that situation? Well, according to Google, it isn't the public intoxication. Representatives from that company are now requesting that the media stop using its name in casual situations such as the one listed above, and the results might very well curtail some of Google's future hopes of owning the Internet (sorry, Mr. Gore).

Now, it's still just fine to use the Google name in a more formal and professional manner. If your friend was slightly less tipsy, he could probably get it right by stammering, "I think you should use the search engine Google to research his recent history."

Sound likely? No?

Well, tell that to Google, who earlier in the week released this statement: "We think it's important to make the distinction between using the word 'Google' to describe using Google to search the Internet and using the word 'google' to generally describe searching the Internet. It has some serious trademark issues." (Source:

Am I missing something here? Is Google really opposing the idea of essentially owning the cultural rights to all Internet searches? According to Google, they are simply "flattered" that the media and public alike use their name in common with everyday references to Internet searches. However, their vision of "integrity" means that, in the future, the lawyers could be called in if the Google name is deemed inappropriately used. (Source:

And, that is so not cool.

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