Saturday, April 15, 2006

How Do You Say Google in Chinese?

Gu Ge (pronounced goo-guh). It means "song of the harvest grain" in Chinese. Google apparently has been having problems with its name in China because people weren't sure how to pronounce it. Google sounds a lot like "doggy," "old hound," "fruit fruit," or even "check check." In response, Google changed its name in China. This is the first time Google has changed its name in a foreign country, while running 139 country specific Google search sites.

That this change is motivated by consumer confusion may be a red herring. Google has been criticized for being a sloppy company, but they take great care to protect their image as a benevolent figure on the Internet. Not only does this help build trust with users, it also serves to keep litigation and legislation away. After all, which sounds better: a marketing and advertising company named "old dog" or a search engine that conveys the sense of a fruitful and productive search in a poetic fashion?
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