Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Google-isms gone wild

Who'da thunk the proliferation of search engines would generate, simultaneously, so much convenience, confusion and contention? First off, one must choose which engine to use. Then one must learn the appropriate lexicon.

Which search engine to use?

Gotta query? Where, oh where, should one go for answers? There are many types and quantities of search engines, and their relative rankings change frequently. There are even search engines that search other search engines, such as Dogpile (tagline: "All the best search engines piled into one"),which fetches simultaneously from four best-in-breed sites: Google, Yahoo! SEARCH, MSN search (now known as LIVE search) and Ask.

Google Seach is currently the big kahuna of search engines by popularity of use. That's not surprising, since Google surpasses Yahoo! SEARCH - albeit by a hair - in the Search Engine Relevancy Challenge, which measures what many think really matters.

Search engine lexicon: it's another language. And as George Bush's recent Google gaffe demonstrated, learning it ain't necessarily easy.

However, given that Google is the gargantuan gorilla of search engines, it's not surprising that Google-isms have gone wild. Googleblogger Kevin Burton explains in a post entitled: 'Google'd [sic] him on Yahoo!': "This is just insane."

Usage: 'Google' as verb referring to searching for information via any conduit other than Google.

Example: "I googled him on Yahoo and he seems pretty interesting."

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.

Here's my two cents: "Quitcherbitchin!" Yeah, yeah, I know Google must prevent dilution of its brand identity and avoid trademark infringements. But let's be real. With the rapid proliferation of everyday Internet users, and by extension, online searches, "verb-alizing," of one of the major search engine's names was bound to happen. That "the Google" [sic], rather than a competitor, has become the household term for online search[ing?], from the White House to Flavor Flav's crib, attests to the big galoot's impressive market penetration.