Google issued a statement yesterday that walks through the ways you should use the term "google" in relation to the engine. Why are they doing this? Intent to protect copyright is an important issue now online, where people are utilizing websites like Google as part of what they do on their own, blurring the lines between the two. In order to keep "Google" from becoming open domain, the company has to defend its usage, or they cannot help it at all becoming a word like "xerox", which will mean to copy, regardless of if you are using a Xerox machine or otherwise. Since "google" was redefined in the Merriam-Webster and Oxford English dictionaries this year...
Usage: 'Google' as noun referring to, well, us.
Example: "I just love Google, they're soooo cute and cuddly and adorable and awesome!"
Our lawyers say: Good. Very, very good. There's no question here that you're referring to Google Inc. as a company. Use it widely, and hey, tell a friend.
Usage: 'Google' as verb referring to searching for information on, um, Google.
Example: "I googled him on the well-known website Google.com and he seems pretty interesting."
Our lawyers say: Well, we're happy at least that it's clear you mean searching on Google.com. As our friends at Merriam-Webster note, to "Google" means "to use the Google search engine to find information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web."
Usage: 'Google' as verb referring to searching for information via any conduit other than Google.
Example: "I googled him on Yahoo and he seems pretty interesting."
Our lawyers say: Bad. Very, very bad. You can only "Google" on the Google search engine. If you absolutely must use one of our competitors, please feel free to "search" on Yahoo or any other search engine.