Thursday, February 22, 2007

Google - Make Up Your Mind

The Official Google Blog wrote a post about people's personal Google™ usage stories. The story referenced and linked to another post on their blog "our lawyers may not be happy " with the usage of Google™. It seems Google™ is taking issue with using Google™ as a generic verb for searching the web on any engine, not just Google™. I see their point. However, IBM took this stand at the beginning of the PC market and look what happened to their hardware division. IBM was the name for all non-Apple desktop computers. Now they don't even make computers. I think they would have had an advantage in being the only "True IBM' Computer instead of one of many personal computers. When I buy "facial tissue" I never feel like I am getting the real thing unless it is Kleenex™. Even if the other brands could call their product "Puff's Kleenex", only Kleenex™ could claim to be the inventor's of the original product and claim their original formula. I think the potential dilution of the brand name as a private trademark is less a concern than the advantage of being the makers of a product that is so superior to competitor's versions, their name becomes the name of the item or service.

This issue reminded me of something I have had rolling around in my brain from a 2002 movie I otherwise shouldn't and wouldn't remember. The movie is Maid In Manhattan This movie featured Jennifer Lopez as a single mom. The details of the story are insignificant but a reference to Google™ within the first five minutes of the movie raised a question in my mind. (borrowed from Script-O-Rama)

Mother(JLo): You don't have to listen to that 24 hours a day.
Son: Wait. It's Simon and Garfunkel...You can't just turn them off, Mom.
Mother: I understand, baby. Come on. Careful of the puddle.
Son: Why'd they break up?
Mother: Who?
Son: Simon and Garfunkel.
Mother: You got me. You can Google it at school.

Was this product placement or zeitgeist 2002? At first, I thought it was just something cleverly added to the dialog in attempt to make the film contemporary. In an almost immediate second thought, I felt I was being naive. Why would they give free product placement to anything? Though Google™ stilled seemed like an humble startup then, it was already big business. So if it was product placement, when did they decide it was a bad idea to have Google™ become the new verb for searching the web? Do they expect us to keep saying "I performed a web search on blah, blah, blah..." or "I googled blah, blah, blah...". We need a word and Google™ should be happy we love them so much we named it after them.