October 3, 2007

Someone, somewhere knows the answer, but they weren’t in the room at the time. “Google knows everything,” I said, “so it’ll be googleable.” ” ‘Googleable’! “, my friend said, “That’s a good one, not heard that before.” (He is a friend, but calling him my colleague might make you think we were avoiding work for a minute or two on a Friday afternoon.)

This led to a diverting conversation for, now, three of us. If there’d been more of us in the room the conversation would have hoovered them all in. So now we get to consider, if it’s been used yet, the merits of spelling this word ‘googleable’ or ‘googlable’. Using Google, of course, we found in favour of the former. Incidentally, both googleable and googlable have a definition, in fact three, on Urban Dictionary.

We never got round to checking it out, but I remembered that Google wasn’t happy seeing google as a verb, something about loss of brand identity, appears to have been first defined by WordSpy. But one company’s marketing disaster is another’s gain; imagine the arguments over a verb like ‘to yahoo!’ (or ‘to yahoo’?). And would you say ‘yahooable’, or perhaps attempt to articulate ‘yahoo!able’ with a click consonant?

Talk turned to word formation, and thus to googleize (or googlize, googleise, googlise?). [Yes, to all: ‘googlise’ is particularly French, their verb being ‘googliser’… can there ever be too much information?] Although I use British English, I prefer -ize to -ise as it matches pronunciation better and reflects the Greek origins of the suffix (-ιζειν) better, in this context. However, I was on the frosty end of a glare for suggesting that colour lose the ‘u’.

But what could googleize mean? Google reveals no answers using “define:” or “definition:”, at this time, but Urban Dictionary will sort that out, although I don’t agree with the definition there; it’s just a weaker version of googleable. So I take the liberty to define googleize as (verb) “to make a website, web page or web content accessible and or usable for a search engine”. Put in a different way, it’s much like Search Engine Optimization. Much less of a mouthful, but not without consequences: it could upset Google for turning their brand into yet another verb, other search engines for ignoring their brands, and all the SEO experts for removing their professional-sounding three letter acronym.

But I get ahead of myself, for I came out with “Everything is googleizable.” The truth of this isn’t the point here. It was the glibness of creation of ‘googleizable’ and ‘googleablize’. Whether there is a distinction between these, or even if we should care, I leave in the literary tradition as an exercise for the gentle reader.

Later I wondered if ‘googleablization’ would be Word Spell Checked into ‘globalization’; surely soon to follow, as ‘googleableisation’ and ‘googleablisation’ do. (Somehow, I don’t expect ‘wordspellcheck’ to cut it as verb, but this could be a self-defeating prophecy. It is used as a name for (parts of) a computer program(me).)

What was the question that started this all off? I have no idea! As there’s no recording of that afternoon’s conversation, the information is ungoobleable.

If Google is, indeed, to know everything, may I assist with  a touch of semantic geekery … an incomplete, yet unignorable list of some of the words I may or may not have made up. Please choose your preferred spelling and pronounciation.

googleable (37,900 hits), googlable (20,600 hits), googleize (30,300), googlize (174,000), googleise (344), googlise (10,900), googliser (849, though this includes a domain name in some results), googleizable (4), googlizable (14), googleisable (19), googlisable (81), googleization (29,200), googlization (103,000), googleisation (93), googlisation (12,400), googleablization (0), googlablization (0), googleablisation (0), googlablisation (0), googleablizationism (0), … , ungoogleable (26,300), googleword (766, in dispute over its status as a proprietary name), googleworthy (89), misgooglizable (0), yahooable (34), yahoo!able (0), yahoo-able (2, if you look carefully), wordspellcheck (0 as a word) … aaaargh, enough!

(Count at 2007-10-03. Results to be taken with care, as they may include irrelevant results and exclude pages not indexed.)

Whether any of those googlewords were googleworthy is another matter entirely. But just for a moment I may gain googlewhacks for the effort! Or at least eight temporarily unrecorded words.

For those who like information compressed into a more (in)digestable form (although not all combinations are any much use): (un-|dis-|mis-|re-)googl(e)-abl[e|ism], -i[z|s]e(r), -i[z|s]able, -abli[z|s]e, -i[z|s]ation(ism), -worthy; googleword(s). There are, of course plenty of other well-formed words awaiting use, in addition to some more creative ones.

I think I could get to like misgooglizable (ah, the ‘e’ inconsistent with googleable): “to recognize (potential) web content that could be ambiguous, and thus incorrectly presented such that Google finds it for inappropriate searches”.

And then, googleablizationism as “the doctrine or practice of making all information content accessible to Google”.

Is this just a word derived from playing with word-building? Is there a concept here that needs exploration? Or is this the word to name something that already happens?


3 Responses to “Googleablizationism”

  1. Peter Manson Says:

    “But I get ahead of myself, for I came out with “Everything is googleizable.” The truth of this isn’t the point here.”

    Isn’t it? Surely if everything WAS googleable (or whatever) we just wouldn’t need the word(s)? Luckily we live in a multiverse where there will always be infinitely more that is unknown than known, so even the great god Google will never achieve omniscience.

  2. infomancie Says:

    I’m sticking with the Humpty Dumpty glibness of word creation and meaning here – it’s my story!

    There are limits to what is googleable or googlizeable, but would we be able to talk about what lies beyond in anything other than at best conjectures and generalizations.

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