Google lawyers crack down on the lexicography website Word Spy for defining “google” as a verb.
Here’s Word Spy’s definition:
google (GOO.gul) v. To search for information on the Web, particularly by using the Google search engine; to search the Web for information related to a new or potential girlfriend or boyfriend.
Here’s the story, as reported by the BBC.
Paul McFedries, who runs the lexicography site Word Spy, received a stiffly worded letter from the firm after he added “google” to his online lexicon.
The company asked him to delete the definition or revise it to take account of the “trade mark status of Google”. He opted for the latter.
Google’s problem is one of the paradoxes of having a runaway successful brand. The bigger it gets, the more it becomes part of everyday English language and less a brand in its own right.
Just as we talk about “hoovering” instead of vacuuming, people have started to say “google” to mean search. The word has become an eponym.
Talk about a good problem to have. Don’t even get me started.