Note the word particularly. Not exclusively. Particularly. So the wording of the definition does allow for the use of the verb “to google” to mean any old internet search.
The Google lawyers said that the word google should only be used to refer to the Google product, not to refer to any Internet search.
I don’t think they can stop a word that’s also a trademark being used as a regular word, and passing into the common lexicon. But it’s understandable that they’d want to point out that they’d prefer a verb “to google” to refer to their product exclusively.
While it is pretty anal/probably wrong on Google’s part, I’ve never seen someone go to a different search engine after being told to “Google [blah]”. If you want to be more general, you just say “search for [blah].” And, honestly, I don’t know if I’d even call the lowercase version of google common at all, although maybe it is and I just haven’t paid attention.
FWIW, William Gibson uses ‘Google’ as a verb meaning “to search” in his new novel Pattern Recognition.
When the protagonist meets someone new, she says “Google you, I get?” (asking her new acquaintance to describe the results of a search on the acquaintance’s name).
I’ve read about 1/2 the book, and he’s already used it a couple or three times. The examples two I remember most clearly had ‘google’ as the first word in a sentence, so I can’t be sure if the first letter is capitalized in Gibson’s usage.
I’m pretty surprised that anyone thinks Google is wrong on this one. I heard the story about it on NPR this morning, and the spokesman from WordSpy was VERY clear that his correspondance with Google was extremely courteous and friendly. This wasn’t a case of “landsharks” threatening anyone. This is a business protecting its name from becoming synonymous with something it’s not, much like earlier battles fought (and in some cases, lost) by Kleenex, Linoleum, Xerox, etc. For more, read the column on this by the Master.
In particular, see this bit:
This issue does impact the Google brand, and they have every right to strive to protect it. Moreover, Google came to an agreement with WordSpy in which the dictionary would simply note that the word is trademarked. Why is that a big deal?
I’m with google a little bit. The definition should state “Search for information on the web using the Google™ search engine.” There should still be a definition, but it should reflect and respect the trademark.