Google has changed its name, creating Alphabet as a parent company for Google and many others, and now changed its logo – all in the space of a month. Haven’t seen it? Just google it. Notice I didn’t use a capital ‘G’ in the case of the word Google? That’s because it’s not just one of the world’s biggest brands, synonymous with web search, mobile browsing, email, photos and other tech startups. But also it’s now used as a pure verb – meaning to search the web.
There is a beautifully written piece from the New York Times in 2009 that explores brands as verbs. It focuses on Google and its Micosoft rival Bing. The use of brands as verbs is a good thing and the positives far outweigh the negatives. According to the article: “The risk of becoming generic is so low, and the benefits of being on the top of someone’s mind are so high”.
Take Xerox as an example. A large percentage of people (particularly Americans) use the word “Xerox” interchangeably for photocopy. This was frowned upon at first by the ‘big-wigs’ of the company, who thought it would pigeon hole them into a market and forever associate them with the good, the bad and the ugly of office photocopiers (who hasn’t wanted to kick a photocopier before?). However, the use of the word is marketing of its own, and far outweighs any negative connotations.
Google as a company has a rich 17-year history, evolving from a simple search engine to so much more: Google Maps (the only way I can find a restaurant), Gmail, Android, Chrome, YouTube and the list goes on. “The name of the company has now become its own verb in the dictionary,” the Today Show announced in the US back in 2007.
When we logged onto our computers on the first day of Spring, Google had done something different again. To our shock they changed their logo. Using the classic Google colours, simplifying the typeface, and moving to simply being G. On the day, Google teased us with a Google Doodle of the old logo being wiped away by an animated hand, probably using our tears as a lubricant, before replacing it with the new one.
While some people hate change, we love it. It’s a c-word after all. The new look for Google, a simple, sleek recognisable design seems in line with its parent company Alphabet. You’ll get used to it. And we bet, if you haven’t already you’ll google something later today.
Cheers, Jack & the c word crew
PS. What other brands have become verbs – add your own in the comments below 🙂