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October 22, 2004updated 19 Aug 2016 10:12am

Don’t google me, I’ll google you

Have you noticed how the search engine Google is starting to pervade everyday life? All sorts of people are starting to throw phrases like 'find it on Google' and 'Google me' into their conversations. This suggests that it is only a matter of time

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Have you noticed how the search engine Google is starting to pervade everyday life? All sorts of people are starting to throw phrases like ‘find it on Google’ and ‘Google me’ into their conversations. This suggests that it is only a matter of time before ‘google’ becomes an accepted verb in the English language, just like ‘hoover’ before it. Notice that no other search engine has the same clout – no one ever said ‘AltaVista for it’ or ‘Excite me’ (for perhaps obvious reasons in the latter example).

Meanwhile the Oxford English Dictionary says it is even considering the addition of the word ‘Googlewhacking’. I don’t know who came up with the idea (some canny marketing people at Google, perhaps), but to Googlewhack is apparently the act of entering two-word phrases into Google in the hope they come back with only one ‘hit’, instead of the usual thousands.

The single web page so found is called a Googlewhack, and recent Googlewhacks listed on the dedicated website include ‘underclass welshes’; ‘seminude boogying’ and ‘codswallop usurps’. Many of them only seem to work because the Googlewhacker in question can’t spell: if you Google ‘semi-nude boogying’ you get 17 hits – 16 more than the misspelled ‘seminude boogying’ Googlewhack. Codswallop indeed.

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