A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device that identifies a particular company's products or services. Google is a trademark identifying Google Inc. and our search technology and services. While we're pleased that so many people think of us when they think of searching the web, let's face it, we do have a brand to protect, so we'd like to make clear that you should please only use "Google" when you’re actually referring to Google Inc. and our services.
Here are some hopefully helpful examples.
Usage: 'Google' as noun referring to, well, us.
Example: "I just love Google, they're soooo cute and cuddly and adorable and awesome!"
Our lawyers say: Good. Very, very good. There's no question here that you're referring to Google Inc. as a company. Use it widely, and hey, tell a friend.
Usage: 'Google' as verb referring to searching for information on, um, Google.
Example: "I googled him on the well-known website Google.com and he seems pretty interesting."
Our lawyers say: Well, we're happy at least that it's clear you mean searching on Google.com. As our friends at Merriam-Webster note, to "Google" means "to use the Google search engine to find information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web."
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.
Hey, thanks, Google!
You want to know why people hate lawyers? This is why. If anyone you ever knew used this syntax: "I googled him on the well-known website Google.com and he seems pretty interesting," I think you'd be morally justified in punching him in the neck.
Hey, protect your copyright. But when you act like a bunch of arrogant pricks, giving the rest of the internet a style guide on how to use what is essentially an accepted slang term, it's just begging me to use yahoo instead. Also, if you're going to be a gigantic ass about your copyright, perhaps you shouldn't steal Yahoo's "Do You Yahoo?" slogan. Because you kind of lose the moral high ground.
Besides, the common usage of Band-Aid and Coke haven't exactly damaged those businesses. It's reasons like this I'm never going into intellectual property. The moment someone asked me to sue somebody for their use of the word google is pretty much the same day I start looking for a new job.