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April 19, 2007

Changes in the Names of Google's Products

Google's shopping site has been rebranded from the catchy-but-not-very-clear Froogle to the simple-yet-boring Google Product Search. "You may be familiar with our product Froogle (a pun on "frugal"). Froogle offers a lot of great functionality and has helped many users find things to buy over the years, but the name caused confusion for some because it doesn't clearly describe what the product does," laments Marissa Mayer on Google's weblog.

"The ill-named Froogle was a problem from the start. "I don't think we understood the complications with rolling out another brand," Marissa Mayer, Google's vice president of search product and user experience, said in an interview with CNET News.com. "While it was a cute and clever name, it had issues around copyright and trademark, as well as internationalization. The pun (to "frugal") isn't obvious.", realizes Google five years after product's launch.

Google has a reputation of launching products with long and unattractive names that have the advantage of being very descriptive (Google Blog Search tells you more about the product than Technorati, but it's also less memorable). Some of the exceptions to the rule were: Gmail, Froogle, orkut, AdWords, AdSense, but also acquired services/products like: Blogger, Picasa, YouTube, which kept their original name.

Another change that should happen pretty soon is replacing "Google Personalized Homepage" with "iGoogle", the name behind the URL google.com/ig. With the addition of presentations and wikis, "Google Docs & Spreadsheets" should better choose a different name than "Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations and Wikis" (what about Google Docs?). Also "Picasa Web Albums" is a long and strange name for a photo sharing service and could easily transform into "Google Photos".

Google has a very strong brand and should include that brand in the names of their products, but that doesn't mean there's no room for creativity or consideration for people who actually have to remember or type those names.

(On a related note, maybe Google Operating System is too long as well. But, hey, I'm not a Google property.)

16 comments:

  1. iGoogle - That could be confused with the ice houses that eskimos live in - Igloos.

    igoogle make as much sence as just shortening it to phgoogle - (PersonalHomepageGoogle)
    what about just calling it PHG?! Works for me.

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  2. iGoogle will be like a copy cat to Apple's i-series.

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  3. If GoogleOperatingSystem is too long, just call it GoogleOS.

    People who understand this blog in the first place know what an OS is.

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  4. Google and Apple are good enough friends that I'm sure there would be no problem with the name "iGoogle".

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  5. iGoogle has always been the internal name of Google's Personalized Homepage and doesn't come from Apple, it's from "I, Robot", a collection of science fiction short stories written by Isaac Asimov (at least, that's what I know).

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  6. In the top bar of GMail there are already the simple names like:

    Documents, Photos

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  7. I agree with most of the things you have said except one: Picasa Web Albums. While it is a long name, I dont think they should change it to Google Photos. Picasa is like Youtube; owned by google but run as its own product. Its not Google Picasa, is it? Its like Google SketchUp being Called GoogleCAD for the sake of its function being clearer, but this will not happen because SketchUp is its own product. Froogle was never its own product. It was an ill named search type and i welcome the change.

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  8. I like Google Photos.
    Not sure about iGoogle. Maybe just My Google.

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  9. I doubt Google will call Personalised Home iGoogle.

    I was under the impression that it was just a codename, like Google Fusion (for Personalised Home and Reader combined) and Cal2 for Google Calendar.

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  10. And what about Google Grid? I cant't wait

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  11. the My Shopping List feature still refers to it as froogle. are they not completely abandoning the brand or did the just forget this part?

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  12. Aw, what. I liked the frugal pun :(

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  13. I liked Froogle better, personally. If they're going to change the name to clarify what it does, then don't use the word "Product Search". They would have been better off using the word "Stuff Search". Why not "Google Shop" "Google Buy" "Google Store Search" "Google Shopping" ... or something else that makes it clear that you can find merchandise, not just "products", and buy. (Integrate it with Google Checkout?)

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  14. Yeah Froogle was clever. Screw those who didn't get it.

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  15. change igoogle to mygoogle. mygoogle makes much more sence, becues thats what it is. its My Google

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  16. hay this is awsome you should try it

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