|By Doug Edwards||
|August 20, 2008 11:45 AM EDT||
Doug Edwards' Xooglers Blog
[Originally posted Monday, July 10, 2006]
Googling has officially become a verb. The 11th edition of the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary now includes “googling” (lower case g). Actually the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) beat them to the punch a month ago by listing Google (upper case g) in their authoritative lexicon of the English language. It’s about time. People have been using Google as a verb for years, despite protestations by the company (many of which I authored myself) about the genericization of the trademarked name.
Having your brand name used as a generic term, is of course, a mixed blessing for a company. On the one hand, it’s great to have your name become the common shorthand for an entire category. It implies acceptance that your product is the standard by which all others in the category are judged and it’s great word-of-mouth for building awareness and trial.
On the other hand, you want to protect your trademark and it’s difficult to do that if overuse dilutes its connection to your product. If Google becomes synonymous with “searching the internet” without a connection to the specific service offered by Google Inc. at www.google.com, then anyone can offer a way to “google for information.” Say, for example, Microsoft. They could offer an MSN google box if Google’s trademark on the name were to be revoked through genericide.
And so, companies like Google are forced to write letters to those who misuse their trademark as a verb (verbs cannot be trademarked). If they don’t, the US Patent and Trademark Office may decide that the company is no longer interested in maintaining ownership of its trademarked term.
The whole process is silly and goes against the dynamic nature of language and is about as effective as standing in a rising river and yelling at the rain to stop falling. Everyone knows people will use words the way they want to. That’s how languages avoid dying. As an English major and frequent abuser of grammar as an advertising copywriter, I always felt hypocritical playing enforcer, but the law was pretty clear. So letters were sent when we saw our trademark being incorrectly applied.
We’d work with TV shows that wanted to include references to Google and request that they not use it as a verb (they usually ignored us). We’d ask reporters not to promote incorrect usage and we’d keep an eye on the most important of all agents in the battle for trademark protection: lexicographers.
Once an editor defines a word in a dictionary, it carries a lot of weight in the courts as they decide whether a word is still a trademark or has become a more general term. So, we tried to forestall the official definition of Google as something other than our proprietary service.
In early 2003, the website Wordspy included Google as a neologism, without specifically tying it to Google Technology Inc (the formal name of the company at that time). So, our legal department sent them a letter. The note was a typically polite, but direct, request that Wordspy cease and desist their use of Google in an improper fashion. It didn’t threaten legal action, but simply asked that Wordspy, “help us to protect our brand by deleting the definition of "google" found at wordspy.com or revising it to take into account the trademark status of Google.”
When the publisher of Wordspy posted the letter on his site, some people inside and outside of the Googleplex got upset about Google having turned into a heavy-handed monopolistic oppressor of the weak and downtrodden. This happened with disturbing regularity. Apparently a certain percentage of any set group of people looks for signs that companies with sterling reputations are actually fronting for Satan. And of course, with Google’s “Don’t be evil” motto hanging on its back like a “kick me” sign, the company got cut very little slack.
The internal controversy led to seminars on what constituted a trademark and discussion about whether we violated our own rules by offering onesies for infants that said "I Google" and by signing our customer service emails with "Keep on Googlin'."
Slashdot picked up the Wordspy story, which meant it quickly spread through the geek community. To be fair, most of the comments on the original post accurately reflected the nature of Google’s predicament. Still, the hate mail began pouring in and we scrambled to smooth our users’ ruffled feathers.
Just as that furor was calming down, we heard a rumor that the OED was going to include Google in their next edition. Given their prominence, we couldn’t afford to sit back and hope for the best. I worked with Rose in legal to write a letter that took on more of an advisory than adversarial tone. It turned out to be a false alarm as Google had not yet attained the level of awareness it has today and the editors of the OED were not ready to acknowledge it formally. We did receive assurances that the OED staff understood the nature of trademarks and were sensitive to the issues involved in defining a trademark term.
Doug's History of Protecting "Google" Continues on the Next Page
[This post appeared originally here on July 10, 2006, and is republished here in full by kind permission of the author, who retains full copyright.]
With major technology companies and startups seriously embracing IoT strategies, now is the perfect time to attend @ThingsExpo 2016 in New York and Silicon Valley. Learn what is going on, contribute to the discussions, and ensure that your enterprise is as "IoT-Ready" as it can be! Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 17th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty ...
May. 26, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,532
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, will provide an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life ...
May. 26, 2016 10:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,877
SYS-CON Events announced today that Commvault, a global leader in enterprise data protection and information management, has been named “Bronze Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7–9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Commvault is a leading provider of data protection and information management...
May. 26, 2016 09:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,995
Companies can harness IoT and predictive analytics to sustain business continuity; predict and manage site performance during emergencies; minimize expensive reactive maintenance; and forecast equipment and maintenance budgets and expenditures. Providing cost-effective, uninterrupted service is challenging, particularly for organizations with geographically dispersed operations.
May. 26, 2016 09:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,848
SYS-CON Events announced today that Tintri Inc., a leading producer of VM-aware storage (VAS) for virtualization and cloud environments, will exhibit at the 18th International CloudExpo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York, and the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
May. 26, 2016 09:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,236
In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Adobe, will discuss how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects). Bruce Swann has more than 15 years of experience working with digital marketing disciplines like web analytics, social med...
May. 26, 2016 09:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,256
Designing IoT applications is complex, but deploying them in a scalable fashion is even more complex. A scalable, API first IaaS cloud is a good start, but in order to understand the various components specific to deploying IoT applications, one needs to understand the architecture of these applications and figure out how to scale these components independently. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Nara Rajagopalan is CEO of Accelerite, will discuss the fundamental architecture of IoT applications, ...
May. 26, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 1,119
18th Cloud Expo, taking place June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some...
May. 26, 2016 08:45 PM EDT Reads: 3,076
As cloud and storage projections continue to rise, the number of organizations moving to the cloud is escalating and it is clear cloud storage is here to stay. However, is it secure? Data is the lifeblood for government entities, countries, cloud service providers and enterprises alike and losing or exposing that data can have disastrous results. There are new concepts for data storage on the horizon that will deliver secure solutions for storing and moving sensitive data around the world. ...
May. 26, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,226
Join us at Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo 2016 – June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City and November 1-3 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – and deliver your unique message in a way that is striking and unforgettable by taking advantage of SYS-CON's unmatched high-impact, result-driven event / media packages.
May. 26, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,296
SYS-CON Events announced today that EastBanc Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. EastBanc Technologies has been working at the frontier of technology since 1999. Today, the firm provides full-lifecycle software development delivering flexible technology solutions that seamlessly integrate with existing systems – whether on premise or cloud. EastBanc Technologies partners with p...
May. 26, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,110
SYS-CON Events announced today that BMC Software has been named "Siver Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2015 at the Javits Center in New York, New York. BMC is a global leader in innovative software solutions that help businesses transform into digital enterprises for the ultimate competitive advantage. BMC Digital Enterprise Management is a set of innovative IT solutions designed to make digital business fast, seamless, and optimized from mainframe to mo...
May. 26, 2016 08:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,061
SoftLayer operates a global cloud infrastructure platform built for Internet scale. With a global footprint of data centers and network points of presence, SoftLayer provides infrastructure as a service to leading-edge customers ranging from Web startups to global enterprises. SoftLayer's modular architecture, full-featured API, and sophisticated automation provide unparalleled performance and control. Its flexible unified platform seamlessly spans physical and virtual devices linked via a world...
May. 26, 2016 07:30 PM EDT Reads: 2,022
SYS-CON Events announced today that ContentMX, the marketing technology and services company with a singular mission to increase engagement and drive more conversations for enterprise, channel and SMB technology marketers, has been named “Sponsor & Exhibitor Lounge Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, New York. “CloudExpo is a great opportunity to start a conversation with new prospects, but what happens after the...
May. 26, 2016 07:15 PM EDT Reads: 995
The essence of data analysis involves setting up data pipelines that consist of several operations that are chained together – starting from data collection, data quality checks, data integration, data analysis and data visualization (including the setting up of interaction paths in that visualization). In our opinion, the challenges stem from the technology diversity at each stage of the data pipeline as well as the lack of process around the analysis.
May. 26, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,341
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit y...
May. 26, 2016 07:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,928
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with the 19th International Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world and ThingsExpo New York Call for Papers is now open.
May. 26, 2016 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,757
The IoTs will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and share the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the development proc...
May. 26, 2016 04:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,865
SYS-CON Events announced today that Enzu, a leading provider of cloud hosting solutions, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 18th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Enzu’s mission is to be the leading provider of enterprise cloud solutions worldwide. Enzu enables online businesses to use its IT infrastructure to their competitive advantage. By offering a suite of proven hosting and management services, Enzu wants companies to foc...
May. 26, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,181
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discuss how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. We'll cite examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He'll also highlight how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable...
May. 26, 2016 04:15 PM EDT Reads: 2,751