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Google’s Gone Goofy

OK, so I’m not the only one who found this week’s little proclamation from Google banning the use of the word "Google" as a verb completely ridiculous.

Mike wrote:

"Maybe Google had better start googling to find the mind they’ve apparently lost. 'Genericide?' It is the ultimate compliment to become a verb. They ought to be worried about new and innovative ways to improve their product or expand, not how someone uses their name as a verb. There is certainly no guarantee that just because they’re the search engine of choice today that it will stay that way. I seem to recall at one time Netscape was the de facto standard Web browser. I reach for a Kleenex, even though it’s a Scot tissue. I put on a Band-Aid, even though it’s a non-stick Curad. I just got back from Xeroxing something, although I have no idea what brand the copy machine is (and don’t care).

"It kind of reminds me of a story I heard back in the ‘80s or early ‘90s. Admittedly, I don’t know if this is true or folklore, but there was a software firm that used to code name their development projects using names of famous people. They named one after Carl Sagan, to which he apparently took offense and wrote them a letter asking them not to use his name in that way. They changed the name of the project from ‘Sagan’ to ‘[Ah, let’s just say ‘Jerk,’ but I’ll let you use your imagination here. -- LP] Astronomer’. Even if it is folklore, there’s a lesson to be learned there (and it’s still funny)."

It is still funny, Mike. Thanks for sharing.

And MrTwoPointFive, as he likes to be known, who was actually intrepid enough to make a comment on my RCPmag.com blog, rings in with:

"Thanks for alerting your readers to the unbelievable Google article! By the way, just as a final thought -- calling Duncan's Yo-Yo a ‘yo-yo’ or a Frisbee a ‘frisbee’ didn't seen to hurt Whamo too much, now did it? As far as I know, people do still jump up and down on all sorts of Trampolines and other ‘trampolines’ and use Kleenex. (Facial tissues? Basically what we here in the USA generally refer to simply as ‘Kleenex,’ which we use to blow our noses.) You know some of us even still have reports ‘Xeroxed,’ and please don't even get me started on ‘nylon’ or the term 'genericide'. Just a thought, but is ‘genericide’ even a real word? Do you think I can use it if I get the opportunity to do so the next time my friends and I get together for a relaxed game of Scrabble? I scrabble, you scrabble, she scrabbles... oh never mind."

2.5, if I were Scrabble poobah, I would fully allow the use of the word "genericide." But you’d better watch how you use the word "scrabble..."

Thanks again for writing in. Any other thoughts? On anything? Comment here or at lpender@rcpmag.com, as usual.

Posted by Lee Pender on August 17, 2006 at 11:53 AM