Gojomo

2006-10-11
Nominative Determinism: YouTube vs. 'Google _[blank]_'

Just when I thought Google had come to appreciate the value of a killer name -- buying a great brand in YouTube -- they roll out the most generic and uninspired product name since, well, 'Google Video': Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

Say that three times fast.

A name like this even creates cognitive dissonance with the widely-understood verb form 'to google'. I know capital-G Google has to fight such word usage to defend their trademark -- but such usage still benefits them, by worming their identity ever deeper into the common understanding of search. To the extent boring names like 'Google Video' or 'Google Docs and Spreadsheets' work at all, they also read as imperative statements using that verb: "google (that is, search) video" or "google (that is, search) docs and spreadsheets".

The value proposition of these offerings go beyond search... but their potential identities are being smothered under the 'Google' uber-brand. Give them some breathing room: stop the parade of "Google ______" offerings and cook up alternates with their own personality and attitude, like YouTube.

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Comments:
The value proposition of these offerings go beyond search...

"Go beyond" isn't quite right, as GV doesn't even address searching for videos on the web, as does Google web search and Google images.

"Google that video" ought to mean "use Google to find that video, wherever it is. But given what GV is if someone said that I'd have to assume they want to upload a video to GV, which is unfortunate.
 
You're right, they don't even include good broad search, so these are damaging the 'Google' brand.

'Google Images' is good internet-wide image search, 'Google News' is good internet-wide news search... but 'Google Video' is a lame walled garden. My hope would be with YouTube inside, 'Google Video' could now become what it ought to be, to be consistent with the brand.
 
thanks for brilliant thoughts on this. very interesting. enjoyed reading, and will surely read your blog more. you'd like our blog, too - namedevelopment.com/blog. search for google, as we've written a lot about this stuff.
 
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