Google as a verb

Earlier today I wrote the following phrase using the noun Google as a verb:

people are far less likely to Google adjectives than nouns.

There’s no problem with using a noun as a verb in this way, people have “hoovered carpets” for years.

Maybe they googled adjectives or Hoovered carpets?

Google and Hoover are proper nouns requiring a capital. There’s no such thing as a proper verb, so should Google and Hoover take a capital when used as verbs?

I remember a regular supplement in the UK Press Gazette arguing exactly that: a company name used as a verb needs a capital. I’m not convinced.

4 thoughts on “Google as a verb

  1. When used as a noun, it should be capitalised. When used as a verb (as in your “hoovered” example above) it is no longer the company name but an action associated with the company, and should not be capitalised.

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    • That’s exactly the rules I learnt with Hoover back in the pre-web era.

      There are two problems.

      1. Everyone else uses Googled, Googling etc. That’s possibly just ignorance and can be changed.

      2. The spell-checker on my computer capitalised Google-verbs.

      I’m in the switch-off-the-spell-checker camp, but I’m aware these tools are becoming the global de facto style guide.

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      • I’ll pay more attention to the capitalisation of verbs in the future. I don’t recall seeing “Googled” capitalised terribly often, but that may be due to not paying sufficient attention.

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