'Google' becomes an official verb

— 11:52 AM on July 8, 2006

After several years of being used increasingly often as a synonym for online search, "Google" has now made it as a full-fledged verb in the latest update to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. The definition can already be viewed online and reads, "to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web." Along with Google, Merriam-Webster also added spyware ("software that is installed in a computer without the user's knowledge and transmits information about the user's computer activities over the Internet"), and mouse potato ("slang : a person who spends a great deal of time using a computer") in the new update.

While few brand names become popular enough to find their way into the dictionary, Google fears its name could join the ranks of Xerox or Kleenex and become a generic term. On page 40 of its 2005 Annual Report, the company said common use of the term "Google" could cause it to lose protection for the trademark, thereby allowing other companies to associate the term with their products.

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