MerriamWebster has added the term google to the latest version of its Collegiate Dictionary. The term is one of new words or expressions that made the cut for this update. Not surprisingly many of the new entries hail from the world of technology.
Joining google among Internetrelated terms to make it onto the pages of the dictionary for the first time are mouse potato a pejorative term that describes someone who spends a lot of time at a computer and ringtone a word that describes the ubiquitous and oftenannoying sounds that signify an incoming call on a mobile phone.
MerriamWebster has posted a sampling of the latest and greatest new expressions in the online version of its dictionary at www.mw.com. Other newbies include spyware unibrow himbo supersize drama queen agritourism biodiesel sandwich generation and manga.
But the most prominent entrant at least for tech junkies is the term google which has become synonymous with the concept of carrying out a search on the Internet said Mukul Krishna a Frost & Sullivan analyst. "People say to each other 'I googled that restaurant' or 'I googled you.'"
One problem with this word trend said Krishna is that when people use the term google they might not necessarily mean that they used the Google search engine.
"It may be that they used Yahoo" he observed. "But in everyone's mind googling has become the generic term. This is good for Google but it has the downside that its brand might become diluted."
Krishna pointed to the battle between CocaCola and Pepsi back in the s. "CocaCola used to send people to restaurants to ask for a Coke" he said. "Very often they would be handed a Pepsi because coke had become the generic term for that type of soft drink. So CocaCola would then sue the restaurant."
Other realworld examples of brand names being used as generic terms include Xerox Hoover and Kleenex.
In its annual report Google actually acknowledged the trend to use its company name as a generic verb and warned in the report that its brand might get diluted as a result potentially affecting the company's bottom line.
The updated print version of the dictionary will be available in bookstores this fall.