When did the noun Google – the name of a company – become a verb?
In July 1998 Google co-founder Larry Page wrote “Have fun and keep googling” on a mailing list, thus using the word as a participle, supposing an intransitive verb. Technically it means using the Google Search Engine to find information on the World Wide Web. Since that time the partners have asked that the word “google” not be used as a verb when describing general web searching. However, for most of us that plea falls on deaf ears. In fact, even dictionaries describe “googling” as the use of any search engine, (including Bing and Yahoo) much the way “Kleenex” and “Band-Aid” are used as a generic description of a product?
In the summer of 2006 “google” (in both upper and lower case) was added to the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary. The American Dialect Society declared “google” the most useful word of 2002. It was first used on television in 2002, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Willow asked Buffy, “Have you googled her yet?”
Google still leads the market for search engine usage; handling 115 billion searches a month. In December 2015 Google enjoyed 69.3% market share, while Bing held 20.7% and Yahoo rose to 12.7. So most of the time when someone says they “googled” it they really did use the Google Search Engine.