May 25, 2006
Brand Naming: To Google or Not to Google - That is Genericization
Google is worried about the genericization of its name, which means that it doesn't want its trademark to become generic in meaning and suffer the same fate as Kleenex, Rollerblade and Xerox.
I think that genericization is a bug bear of product naming. On the one hand you want your brand name to be a household word, but on the other you want it to still mean your product.
The bone of contention is the infinitive "to google". Google claims that the overuse of the word Google as a verb will lead to "Googling" being the generic term for "searching the Internet with a search engine".
Google has gone so far as to remove the usage from the Wordspy online dictionary, but as Jason Lee Miller (who has done some pretty cool brand name research) points out, various forms of the word Google remain in the dictionary and in common discourse: Googlebombing," "Googleverse," and "Googlejuice." As well as Googtopia, Googler and Googlite.
And it is not entirely clear to me if Google allows you to do all the Googling you want...so long as you use Google? Do they really sit around at Google Corporate Headquarters (called the Googleplex) and not "google"?
Lee also points out that Google did not raise the alarm when Pontiac asked users to "Google Pontiac" in a recent TV campaign (which we linked to in an earlier post) and it does seem unlikely that people will start "googling about" with Yahoo! and MSN Search.
However, I believe Google should by all means protect its trademark - the Google brand name is one with massive equity behind it and they would be remiss in not being concerned about its misuse.
Posted by William Lozito at May 25, 2006 2:03 PM
Posted to Brand Name Research | Brand Naming | Company Naming | Consumer Electronics | Household Goods | Marketing | Naming | Product Naming | Technology | Trademarking
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