Wednesday, March 27, 2013

On "Googling"

Students of Marketing 101 know that companies hate dilution of their brand vis-a-vis their trademarks becoming part of the vernacular. It diminishes the company's identity by confusing it with one of the company's products.  Xerox used to be the modern example of this as people started to say "Xerox this," instead of "photocopy this." "Kseroks" became a common verb in foreign countries instead of learning "photocopy." Google has been issuing cease and desist orders for years for people using "to Google" as a verb meaning "use a search engine to look something up." You can only say "google" if you mean "use specifically Google's search engine to look something up." Google is now going after the Swedish Language Council for the same issue.

Here's the problem: I know in my head I should probably use "search," or maybe "do a search," in a conversation with someone rather than "google." But yesterday in mid-conversation with someone I decided "search" made me sound incompetent. Like it suggests I personally fumble around various search engines to find something because I'm not that internet-savvy. I use Google--not Bing, Yahoo! or any inferior search engine and I definitely am an expert user. So, I said "google."

What do you think? Does "search" now sound incompetent compared to "google"?

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