Google is a Noun (and Other Things to Remember)

/ September 28, 2017/ Backend

As developers wrap up their projects, one of the things they need to finish is the documentation. And as always, there are a few guidelines on how to write things down. Recently, Google has released some guidelines on writing documentation.

Although the word “kill” is a command in Linux, Google prefers to use the words “stop”, “exit”, “cancel” or “end”. Hopefully, someone should change that pop-up that says, “Would you like to kill the page?”

The word “login” is a noun, “sign in” is the preferred verb. Therefore, don’t use “login” as a verb. Better yet, write “log in”.

“Clickthrough” is a noun; “click through” is a verb.

“Backoff” is a noun, “back off” is a verb, and “back-off” is an adjective.

Before, we write “the Internet”, but now, “the internet” is accepted. But we still write “Internet of Things” and abbreviate it as “IoT”.

And the Oxford comma, the most controversial punctuation mark anywhere, has Google’s blessing. Therefore, if you are writing a list, be sure not to forget that comma before the word “and”.

Lastly, do not use “Google” as a verb or gerund. “Googling” is wrong. Instead, use “search with Google”.

Which brings to mind the genericized trademarks. It is a trademark or brand name that, due to its popularity and/or significance, has become the generic name for, or synonymous with, a general class of product or service, usually against the intentions of the trademark’s holder.

This is what’s happening to brands like Google and Photoshop. People have been using the brand name as a noun as well as a verb. And continuous usage would result to trademark erosion or genericization. Once a trademark becomes so common that it starts being used as a common name and the company has failed to prevent such use, the trademark becomes generic and they could not register the brand name back. Just like what happened to Thermos, Escalator, and other brand names that became too common for use. That’s the reason why companies like Xerox, Google, and Adobe, try hard not to let their trademarks suffer the same fate.

So the next time you need to write Google or Photoshop, think of it this way: you “seach it on Google” and “enhance or manipulate the image using Photoshop”. And you don’t “Xerox it”, instead you “photocopy it”.

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