While you may not be familiar with the term “genericized trademark,” you probably use them every day. When you have a cold, you may ask for a Kleenex, despite the box being labeled as Puffs. If you cut yourself, you will probably go find a Band-Aid, and maybe take an aspirin for lingering pain. Hook-and-loop fasteners of any type you likely know as Velcro. Now, the same concept is being applied to the world of digital technology, and especially online searches. Not all that long ago, it was relatively common to direct someone looking for information on a particular topic to Ask Jeeves, referring to a search engine launched in 1995. You can probably see where this is headed; today, hardly an hour goes by where you do not hear the phrase “Google it,” or “I was Googling something…" Despite Google's stranglehold on its search engine competitors, it is important to recognize that alternatives do exist and may actually be more popular than many realize.
With its enormous range of products and services for both private users and businesses, Google has quickly become a cornerstone of the web tech industry. As the world’s largest search engine, when Google speaks, marketers listen, as evidenced by the reaction to major algorithm changes this past spring. Google.com is the most visited website in the world, and its search engine hosts more than 1 billion unique visitors every month. More than 3.5 billion searches are conducted through Google every single day, working out to 1.2 trillion per year. This represents approximately two-thirds of all web searches, and nearly 90 percent of all searches conducted on mobile devices. It is hardly surprising that “Google” has literally become synonymous with “look it up on the Internet.”