From ‘Google’ to just plain google

One of Google’s worst fears may have been realised. The latest edition of the Merriam-Webster Dictionary includes the word “google” which means to use the well-known search engine to look for information on the web.

The entry means that in addition to being a proper noun, the word “google” – without capitalisation of the “g” – is now a common transitive verb.

In the latest publicly available filing to the US Securities and Exchange Commission made available earlier this week, Google identified the key risks it faced in seeking to to maintain its dominance in the search market and preserving its revenue growth rate.

Among the risks listed by Google in its what is called the Q-10 filing was a concern that there may be a downside to too much success.

To quote Google: “We also face risks associated with our trademarks. For example, there is a risk that the word ‘Google’ could become so commonly used that it becomes synonymous with the word ‘search’. If this happens, we could lose protection for this trademark, which could result in other people using the word ‘Google’ to refer to their own products, thus diminishing our brand.”

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