In 2006, the verb “To Google” entered the Oxford English Dictionary. I know this because I googled the definition. One wonders if “Google” has entered the realm of “Xerox,” “Kleenex,” “Kool-Aid” and “Scotch Tape.” Its funny how language develops.
“Google” is a thoroughly made up word, a malaprop of “googol” – 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 – chosen ultimately because the .com domain was available. It gained its meaning because of the power of the Google algorithms in finding information on the web – their approach was so different from other search engines, it allowed for differentiating names from other entries. The difficulty of differentiating a product or service to such a degree the best way to describe it is to use its own name in a self-referential cycle.
One might think this would be an exceptional thing for a company – to have its name become so familiar that it becomes part of our everyday lexicon – but to the corporate types it represents a threat to the control of the name. Quite the conundrum that.
Advertisers spend so much time and money to differentiate their product. Google spent almost no money and wound up with the same result.
I know, this is old news, but it got me thinking.