Being Googled

Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Mon Nov 4 16:34:25 UTC 2002

> In a message dated 11/4/02 7:24:11 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> susandgilbert at MSN.COM writes:
> > When did being "Googled" become part of our lexicon?
> >  New Yorker cartoon features two men at a bar and one
> shudders and exclaims
> :
> >  "Whew! I feel like I have just been "Googled."
> "Barney Google and his goo-goo-googly eyes" (a song whose age
> I won't even estimate) implies that "Google" (a proper name)
> has spawned the adjective "googly" and therefore it should
> not be improbable that someone would also use it as a verb
> ("Barney googled Miss X...").  Actually this derivation fits
> your context better than a derivation from the name of the
> Internet search engine.  In a bar (particularly if the bar
> in question is notorious as a pick-up bar) one is more likely
> to notice having eyed in a strange or remarkable manner than
> to notice one's Web pages have just been examined.

Having seen the same cartoon, I immediately took it to be from the search
engine, not googly eyes. "To google" is used not only to mean search a web
page, but to "google" a person is to do a quick background check on that
person, searching the web for references to them, not just to find their web
pages. Often you google someone to find their current address or place of
employment. In an earlier era the guy in the bar might have said, "someone
just stepped on my grave." I've never heard anyone use "to google" simply to
mean to look at someone.

The name of the search engine comes from the mathematical term "googol,"
with the spelling changed for trademark purposes.

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