Google vs google

Google, with a capital G, is the name of the company behind It is a search engine that allows one to find things on the internet.

As a verb, google, notice the lowercase g, means to use a search engine to find something, usually the answer to a question. Originally this meant to use Google specifically to search, but now the term is so widespread that the definition has shifted to mean using any method to find the answer on the internet. If someone else tells you to ‘go google it’, they mean ‘find out’.

The difference between this and other trademark names like Kleenex and Dumpster is that Google went from a noun to a verb. In short, because a new word was created the trademark no longer applies. Though some still capitalize the verb. For tradition’s sake we suppose. The capitalization is listed as an alternate spelling in some dictionaries and it is the prevalent variation inside the United States, used by even major media publications. But to be clear, the verb should be lowercase.


The screen size offers no room for Google’s search ads, plus consumers prefer the ease of being able to click on, say, the Amazon buy button, which already has the payment information stored. [Forbes]

A source told 3AM: “Before they went on their first date, Christian googled Geri – and found a video of her doing the song. [Mirror]

For a couple of years now scientists have been able to flag flu outbreaks by counting how many people are googling the flu. [CBC]

4 thoughts on “Google vs google”

  1. Oh Lordy. Let’s just remember that English is an Anglo-Saxon language with big thick Germanic roots. We do not capitalize verbs. Not in any case, except at the beginning of sentences.

    If I use Google to google what a googleplex is, visually (and orthographically) I see no conflict. I don’t like the lower-case google though to represent Google the formal business name. Because we need to remember that 10¹⁰⁰ is a google, like 10⁶ is a million, 10⁹ is a billion (or billiard in now-all-but-deprecated British) and so on.


      • By jove, I think you’ve got it. Yet so, I also remember (in the way back machine) that one of the founders of Google said that yes, the misspelling of googol was indeed intentional, but ultimately they chose the name because of the almost uncountably large number of combinations of words that one might reasonably employ to look for related things. Thanks!


        • Last century, @ least in western NSW, or N.S.W. as it once was, a google was “a look at”, with connotations of wide eyes.


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