Word Choice – To Google or Not to Google

Odesh’s question: “Many people now use the word “Google” as a verb to indicate searching the Internet. Is this still informal or is it acceptable in formal writing?”

BizWritingTip response: “Google” became the proprietary name for the popular Internet search engine in the 1990s.

However, according to Oxford Dictionaries Online, it is now used as a verb meaning to “search for information about someone or something on the Internet.” Its usage is still defined as “informal.” Therefore, I would use it in an email and most business correspondence but look for a synonym in a formal report, e.g., Internet search.

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