Does the Chinese name for Google "Guge" befit the
world's No. 1 search engine?
Some Google fans don't think it does. They have
created an online petition called www.noguge.com to get the search engine to
change its Chinese name.
Reasons cited for the petition are the name is "weird," "unsophisticated" and
could damage the "cool" image of Google in China.
"Google, we love you, but we don't love Guge," said the Website, which
received more than 2,600 signatures yesterday. "The name Guge is not
satisfactory and we are disappointed. Do you hear us, Google?"
Eric Schmidt, CEO
of Google (2nd L), Kaifu Lee, Vice President of Google China (L), and
Johnny Chou, President of Google China (R), unveil the new
Chinese-language Google brand name at a press conference in Beijing
Wednersday April 12, 2006. The new brand name 'Gu Ge' or 'Valley Song,'
draws on Chinese rural traditions to describe a fruitful and rewarding
experience, according to Google. [AP
Google, second to its Chinese
rival Baidu.com, has been receiving flak for its new Chinese name since its
elaborate christening ceremony in Beijing last week, graced by Google's global
chief Eric Schmidt and a cohort of the company's senior management.
Domestic media were quick to pounce on the "harvesting song," saying the
Chinese name reflects the US-based company's lack of understanding of the local
Guge in Chinese also means a valley song or a grain song. The name Google
came from the word "Googol," which denotes the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.
"Google gives us an individualistic feel, yet Guge sounds traditional and
rural ... in other words, it's outdated," said a blogger on another Website.
Industry analysts also told Shanghai Daily that Google could have picked a
"A valley song has got nothing to do with Google's original meaning," Tom
Doctoroff, Greater China CEO of ad agency JWT, said yesterday. "You make
mistakes like this when you don't know your consumers. It's a huge mistake."
But Google China is unfazed by the
Kaifu Lee, Vice President of Google
"Guge is not a substitute for Google, rather, it will complement Google," the
company said in a statement in response to queries from Shanghai Daily.
"Names such as Gougou (dog dog) are unable to fulfill the responsibilities of
a corporate, brand or product name, nor do they reflect fully our goals and
mission," it said in reference to the more literal suggestions from net users.
Google has been put under the microscope for its efforts to woo Internet
users in China, which included introducing a censored version of its service in
compliance with Chinese laws.
A survey conducted last year by the China Internet Network Information
Company revealed that more than half of respondents could not correctly spell
"Google," a glitch which the company hopes to remedy with the new Chinese name.
The statement also said the name aims to cater to users unfamiliar with
English usage of the search engine. "It would be unfair to ignore their needs,"
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