Tough guidelines issued by Google to those who persist in using the company's name as a verb have provoked an angry reaction from users.

The search giant first got riled by the passing of its brand into common lexicon back in 2003, when it issued Word Spy proprietor Paul McFedries with a cease-and-desist letter commanding his removal of the word "google" from his site.

"Google" has since been added to the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary this year.

Now the company has used its official company blog to correct users who "google" rather than "search":-

"Our lawyers say: Bad. Very, very bad. You can only 'Google' on the Google search engine. If you absolutely must use one of our competitors, please feel free to "search" on Yahoo or any other search engine."

Michael Krantz wrote: "While we're pleased that so many people think of us when they think of searching the web, let's face it, we do have a brand to protect, so we'd like to make clear that you should please only use 'Google' when you’re actually referring to Google Inc. and our services."But the missive prompted criticism online. Sean Johnson wrote: "Lecturing to the best .00001% of your customers, the ones that like you so much that they read your blog, is just stupid."

Social media marketing expert Steve Rubel from the Edelman PR agency added: "Last I checked Google and I both live in a free country."

And former BBC blog evangelist turned citizen media consultant Ben Metcalfe said: "'Do you 'Google?' has to be one of the most patronising blog posts ever to have originated from the Googleplex."

There has been no further response on the matter from the Mountain View-based company.


Published 30 October, 2006 by Robert Andrews

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