Google becomes a verb

By Derek Sooman on July 9, 2006, 12:20 PM
Quite quickly, the term to "google" something entered into common vernacular. The term is so extensively used that the Oxford English Dictionary added Google as a verb to its online edition. Now, Merriam-Webster has added "google" (without the capital "G") as a generic term, meaning "to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web".

"It's a consequence of us finding the word used in print so frequently that we feel it's appropriate to add it in our dictionary", said Merriam Webster Associate Editor Peter Sokolowski.

"When we find it in print, it is usually used without any definition at all so it is becoming naturalised."

Googling differs from "xeroxing" (another use of a company name becoming a verb) as Googling is done only on Google, whereas xeroxing is done on any old photocopier.

Is this good news for the search giant? Well, perhaps not. Whilst some might see this as evidence of the company's success, others might see it as an erosion of the company's trademark. It is possible that the trademark may slip into the general lexicon, becoming like "xeroxing" in that "googling" will refer to using any Internet based search engine, not just Google's.

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