Wednesday, April 30, 2008


googleable also Googleable adjective

producing a number of search results if entered into the Google® Internet search engine.

googleability also Googleability noun [U]
a measure of how easy it is to find information about a person using an Internet search engine, especially Google

‘Are you Googleable? … If the world’s favourite search engine can’t find you, neither can your clients.’
RealBusiness 5th September 2007

‘The difference in Googleability between a person with the name “Mary Smith” and a person with my name [Donna Steinbraker] makes me wonder whether Googleability might one day affect how parents name their children. If Mary Smith had been named, instead, Upanishad Smith, she’d be more Googleable.’
International Herald Tribune 4th December 200

John Smith or Zephaniah Calshari? Jane Green or Jacinda Merryweather? How unusual is your name? A decade or so ago, the relevance of this question didn’t go much beyond considering how difficult it would be to find you in the telephone directory, but in the 21st century, its significance takes on a whole new dimension. How might a repository of information as vast as the World Wide Web affect your anonymity? Are you instantly identifiable, or sharing the virtual world with countless namesakes? In other words – how googleable are you?

The adjective googleable describes words which deliver a number of results when entered as search terms in an Internet search engine such as Google. Of course, search terms are often proper nouns, names of both organisations and individuals, so the adjective googleable, and its related noun googleability, are more often associated with people. A person's or organisation’s googleability, or how googleable they are, is therefore a measure of how easily identifiable they are in the virtual universe, based on the number of results their name returns when entered in an Internet search.

Googleability can be a positive or negative trait depending on your point of view. For those individuals who want to preserve their anonymity but happen to have a particularly unusual name, googleability is a nightmare scenario. For people or organisations who want to be recognised across the globe, googleability is very good news, a quality to be sought after.

Recent research suggests that googleability is something that will influence 21st century children from the day they are born, since a growing number of parents are considering it when choosing their child’s name. Parents concerned with keeping their child’s anonymity are increasingly choosing more common names, whilst those who want their child to be instantly recognizable in a Google search are opting for something very unusual.

The adjective googleable and related noun googleability are recent derivatives of the new verb to google. Google entered the Oxford English Dictionary as a verb in 2006, and it's defined in the new edition of the Macmillan English Dictionary as ‘to search for something on the Internet using the Google® search engine’.

Other common derivatives are the uncountable noun Googling, which refers to the activity of using Google, and the countable noun Googler, describing a person who googles. On the theme of googleability, another term which has recently popped up is ungoogleable, used as both an adjective and a countable noun to describe a person or thing which produces no results when googled.

Google is a registered trademark of Google Inc

Saturday, April 5, 2008


facebook also Facebook verb

1 to communicate with someone by using the Facebook® website
2 to search for information about someone by using the Facebook® website

“Noticing her healthy hair in a picture the other day, I Facebooked her a compliment.”
The Pitt News, Pittsburgh University  1st December 2005

“My curiosity about Lloyd became overwhelming, and within five minutes I had facebooked him and found out where he lived on campus.”
Daily Free Press, Boston University  15th November 2005

There’s a new verb emanating from the online universe. Taking inspiration from Google, now not just the name of a search engine but also a genuine ‘doing word’, the social networking site Facebook has given us the new expression ‘to facebook’ - a full-blown transitive verb with inflections facebooks, facebooked, and facebooking.

To facebook someone is to contact them through the social networking site Facebook. It therefore commonly pops up in examples such as “That guy I met last night facebooked me this morning” and “I facebooked her about meeting for lunch”. As the example at the beginning of the article shows, it can also be used ditransitively (with both a direct and an indirect object), so we get examples like “I facebooked him a message about that.”

As well as meaning to simply contact someone via Facebook, facebook the verb can also be used to describe the activity of finding out information about someone by using Facebook, as illustrated in the following citation:

“Isabel Owen '06, for example, learned that her current employer Facebooked her before hiring her.”
Wisconsin Alumni Association Dispatches  Summer 2006

It is therefore a kind of synonym for google the verb, though unlike google, which has almost become a generic description for web searching, regardless of the particular search engine used, facebook usually refers specifically to the Facebook website as a mechanism for finding out about someone.

In December 2007, it was reported that facebook the verb and Facebook, the trademarked noun referring to the popular social networking site, had been added to the latest edition of the Collins English Dictionary (see ‘Further Reading’ below).

is a social networking website which was launched in February 2004 and founded by Mark Zuckerberg, an American IT entrepreneur and Harvard graduate. Facebook looks something like a giant online scrapbook, where friends can exchange messages and photos and opt to join one or more participating networks, such as those based around schools, places of employment or geographical location. Initially, its membership was restricted to Harvard students, but from September 2006 it opened its doors to anyone, and with more than 60 million members, Facebook now represents one of the world’s most visited websites.

The name Facebook comes from the related noun facebook (also sometimes freshman facebook), which refers in American English to a printed booklet of college members that is given to students at the start of the academic year so that they can identify one another.

Other notable additions to the English lexicon prompted by Facebook are new senses for the words poke and pimp. Poke, used on the site as both a transitive verb and a noun (i.e. send someone a poke) is a mechanism for getting someone’s attention, a kind of virtual nudge. ‘Poking’ can sometimes have sexual overtones, with the consequence that it is cropping up more widely as a new innuendo. The new sense of pimp, on the other hand, has no such connotations. To pimp your Facebook profile is simply to make it look more attractive by adding photos, graphics, music, etc.

Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.