The new conventional wisdom in marketing is that consumers control the brand. Try telling that to the folks at Google, who as Gord Hotchkiss points out in his MediaPost SearchInsider column are starting to make noise about misuse of the Google name, specifically how said consumers are using “google” as a verb (as now recognized by Mirriam-Webster). Quoth the official Google blog:
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. …
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.
In the words of Sgt. Hulka: Lighten up, Francis. Enjoy the iconic status while it lasts, Google, and consider this: Had the dot-com stars been aligned a bit differently, we might all be Asking Jeeves.