Google is a Verb, Not Just a Search Engine
E.D. Kain makes the interesting point that it may be too late for Microsoft’s bing to make much penetration into the search market, regardless of whether it’s better at producing desired results, because we’ve already reached the point where the name of the market leader has become a verb.
Once something becomes a sort of universal noun, that’s bad enough. Kleenex did this in the tissue market, becoming pretty much synonymous with tissue. So whether or not you were using a generic tissue or a Kleenex, you called it a Kleenex. They transcended brand. But it’s so much more potent to achieve verb status, and that’s what Google’s done. You “google” something now — you rarely hear someone say “search.” You never hear anyone say “just ask it” or “just yahoo it” — or at least, I never do.
The only other example that comes readily to mind is “xerox” as a synonym for making photocopies. Then again, Canon and others have made quite an inroads into that business.
Kain makes a less catchy but perhaps more salient point in the comments:
Nor do they understand connectivity and product overlap the way Google does. Google connects your email, chat, documents, search, and even browser now, etc. into basically one product, and with upcoming innovations like Wave and their OS that connectivity and overlap will just become far, far more effective. (Apple has done this fairly well also with hardware added into the mix) Microsoft has tried with “Windows Live” and all that, but there are just too many gaps, too many brands, etc. I mean “bing” is now part of the whole cadre of Microsoft products, but is it really tied into them well? Why Microsoft hasn’t made their Windows platform more webby is beyond me. And why they make it so difficult to integrate everything is also confusing.
That, to me, is the real issue. Google may not be the best at anything but they’re pretty good at everything. It’s mighty convenient to have my email, calendar, task list, and whatnot in one place. They’re all good enough that I’ve stopped looking for competing apps even though there may well be something better out their for any particular product.
I sincerely hope that Microsoft — or somebody — creates a viable enough alternative to keep Google honest, though. Google’s marketplace dominance gives them an awesome amount of power in determining which websites thrive and fail, which videos get seen by the masses, and whatnot. Having a ready alternative will make it harder for them to abuse that position.