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April 19, 2007

Rebranding - No More Pun For Google

Yesterday’s CNET report on the rebranding of shopping search engine “Froogle” has the whole blogosphere talking.

google_product_search.jpgThe article points out that Google has apparently decided it is “better to be clear than clever” and has changed the brand name as of last night to the much more descriptive “Google Product Search.”

Google disclosed that introducing a new brand name was more difficult than they thought. Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search product and user experience, said, “the pun (to ‘frugal’) isn’t obvious” [for online shoppers]. Aside from that issue, a myriad of copyright and trademark issues cropped up. Froogle also had issues with internationalization.

Danny Sullivan at Search Engine Land wonders if another “cutesy” name, Gmail, is next to go, or possibly the meaningless Orkut, which is named after its creator Orkut Büyükkökten. Maybe brand names that are puns are just too childish for today’s more mature Internet: John Battelle at Searchblog sums up his sentiments in his post, Goodbye Froogle: It's Time to Grow Up.

Mayer also says, on the Google Blog, that the “name caused confusion because it doesn’t clearly describe what it does.” I agree. I've always thought Froogle sounded like a shopping search engine that found “frugal” people the best deals on the Internet; sort of a search engine for cheapskates.

froogle_logo.jpgRex Hammock wisely notes on his blog today that Google never dropped the “Beta” designation from the Froogle name, until now, perhaps illustrating their discomfort from the outset with the brand name.

It seems Google is maturing as a company and embracing a clearer, less "punny", naming strategy, and I think the more descriptive approach will attract more online shoppers to Google.

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Posted by William Lozito at April 19, 2007 8:34 AM
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Google tends to keep products in beta for a very long time. Gmail is still officially a beta product, and it's been around for something like three years.

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