Monday, September 22, 2014

The History of "Googled"

In today's world, it is practically impossible to be unaware of Google and its vast empire. The offices of this Internet giant have moved from a garage in California in 1998 to now with 70 campuses in more than 40 countries. Increasing prevalence of this Internet search engine and its growing influence on society led to the introduction of a new term in the American vocabulary: "googled." I wanted to research the origin of this term in culture and what I found was pretty fascinating.

A ProQuest search for "googled" led me to the first use of the term in a major newspaper, when the LA Times on February 9, 2001 used it to describe a new trend in dating in this online age. Before a date, someone could look their date up on Google or "google them " to check them out in advance. You could now avoid bad dates and find topics of conversation even before the date. So at its origin, "googled" was primarily a dating term.

By 2003, when the first uses of the term in scientific literature appeared, the definition of the term had evolved more towards its current meaning. The Duke Law Journal published an article in December 2003 titled "The Virtues of Knowing Less: Justifying Privacy Protections against Disclosure". The article described "googled" to describe a danger of the increasingly Internet-driven world. People could now "google" each other and uncover private information, then spreading it over the Internet for everyone to see. It's interesting how the privacy concerns of 2003 are still discussed in 2014, as websites have access to more and more of our personal info.

As Google expanded its scope over the beginning of the 21st century, the use of "googled" increased in popularity as well. A Google ngram shows that the verb was used in books 7 times as often in 2008 than in 2002.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting how "google" is a term we use in everyday life and other search engines are primarily used for dating now. It is definitely a term that is used in most people's everyday vocabulary.