Google Gets Its Third Verb
June 1, 2007
I'm happy for my friends at FeedBurner, who've finally announced their acquisition by the Big G. I do have to confess that this marks the point where I'm officially uncomfortable with the centralized gravitational attraction for brains going on at Google, but today's not the day for belaboring that.
More importantly, Google has done something with this acquisition that hasn't happened since its very first acquisition: They got a new verb.
The generic term for enhancing a feed through the use of a service is to "burn" it, thanks to the efforts of FeedBurner. They've always been straightforward about the term they use to describe the process, and its paid off by becoming the name of the concept. I even think it may have helped keep any other services from being able to entrench themselves in the space.
Google, for its part, has always been a little more circumspect about its status as a verb. There was even an a gentle admonishment from Google's legal team a while ago, asking people to please help the poor Googlers avoid the fate of other brands and products that "that fell victim to those products' very success and, as they became more and more popular, slipped from trademarked status into common usage." Oh no! Not common usage! For what it's worth, I know there was some consternation on the part of a number of Googlers about the silliness of the post, especially since Google itself repeatedly refers to its employees as, yes, Googlers.
But that's neither here nor there. Today, the milestone is that Google acquired a signature so distinctive it takes its place in elite company as part of the language. Congrats to Dick, Eric, Steve, Matt, Brent, and everyone else on the team.
p.s. Can someone else do whatever it is Dick does now, and just let him write for the Official Google Blog full-time? Thanks.