Google’s influence on the English language

When both the Oxford English dictionary and Merriam-Webster added the verb “google” to their pages in 2006, Google were surprisingly irked at the development. They felt that they had to protect their brand, and even made a blog post to that effect, saying that people should only describe it as “googling” when they were specifically using the Google search engine – not simply as a general word for searching the internet for a particular term.

However, contrary to their wishes, four years later the word has become something of a universal term for searching. While most people -myself included – use Google for all their searching needs, the phrase “google it” is not usually specific to the search engine, but searching the internet as a whole.

Google is, of course, certainly not the first brand name to enter the dictionary – “hoover” is nowadays synonymous with any brand of vacuum cleaner, much as “tannoy” is sometimes used to mean any kind of public address system.