Google a victim of its own success

Revelations that Google has been sending letters to media groups requesting they stop using 'googling' as a generic term for web browsing have not intimidated the good folk at the OED.

Less than two months ago, the principal authority on the English language recognised 'google' as a legitimate verb for searching the internet, based on its common spoken and written usage.

Rather than being flattered by owning the concept (rather like Hoover and vacuum cleaning), Google is worried about the impact on its image. 'We want there to be a distinction between searching through us and making a generic search,' says a Google spokesman. 'Our brand could become diluted; we don't want to lose the right to protect our trademark.'

Despite Google's protests, the OED is sticking to its guns. 'It will be kept because we include words based on their currency and popular use,' chief editor John Simpson tells us. 'We don't censor language.' Phew.

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