Thursday, September 06, 2007

Yahoo!'ing

Here's a list of words that have gone into the public domain via genericide, or the loss of trademark protection by the ubiquitousness of the term. These words were originally trademarks, but they were so successful that they named the product for all time - the danger of a perfect name.

Zipper
Escalator
Thermos
Cellophane
Yo-yo
Linoleum

Some say "Google" is on its way to genericide because of the way it's used as verb for "searching." Personally I think it's safe for now. When I say I'm going to "google" something, I don't use Yahoo! to do it. Do you?

I recall reading (but forget where) about how word processing programs assist in the maintenance of trademarks by auto-format capitalizing the first letter of major brand names. The idea being that a capitalized proper noun is more trademark-y than a regular word. Similarly, if you type "google" in MS Word, it will be red-underlined; the suggested correction is "Google."

3 comments:

themarkpike said...

And yet MS Word still doesn't recognize the word "blog".

Bzzz said...

Odd, I just typed "goolge" into my version of MS word and it did not even have the suggestion of "Google" the only proximate word was "googol" as in the mathematical term meaning 10 to the power of 100. However, when I type in this comment box "google" is "incorrect," "googol" is incorrect, yet Google is correct. Must have something to do with the fact that Blogger.com is owned by or associated with Google.

Bzzz said...

Oh and when I Google something - I definitely mean using the Google search engine. I think for a while Mapquest was far closer to being genericized.