A spokesman confirmed that it had sent the letters. "We think it's important to make the distinction between using the word Google to describe using Google to search the internet, and using the word Google to describe searching the internet. It has some serious trademark issues."Link (Thanks, Mary Beth)
But although an attempt to protect the company's trademark, the letters have raised snickers after they were leaked on to the web. Bloggers have been making fun of the examples Google's lawyers deem acceptable. They included: "Appropriate: I ran a Google search to check out that guy from the party. Inappropriate: I googled that hottie."
I just, ah, googled some related past posts by my blog-colleage Cory Doctorow:
* Can Anyone Own Web 2.0?
* Google's trademark counsel sending out dumb lawyer-letters over "to google"
* Trademarks, an essay on OpenP2P.com by Cory.
Reader comment: George Hotelling says,
I find it interesting that Google has a problem with people using "google" as a verb, since Pontiac ran an ad telling people to "Google Pontiac" and in response Google said "We are happy that Pontiac has featured Google search in their television ad campaign."Kalle Alm says,
Hilarious. I wrote a blog entry about just this. The fact it's listed as a verb in Japanese dictionaries. As a "godan-verb of the Iku/Yuku special class", to be precise.Irene Delse says, says
It's ironic but not surprising that "Google" has also spawn verbs in french, italian and spanish. In each language, it means both "looking something up in Google" and "searching the Net for something".
French : googler
Italian : googolare, gugolare
Spanish : googlar, googlear, guglear
Good luck to the firm if they want to enforce their "no Google verb" policy!
Boing Boing editor/partner and tech culture journalist Xeni Jardin hosts and produces Boing Boing's in-flight TV channel on Virgin America airlines (#10 on the dial), and writes about living with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2011. @xeni on Twitter. email: firstname.lastname@example.org.