Google Caught In Name Game – Again

    July 13, 2007

In Germany, Google’s already lost its hold on the term “Gmail”; now Beijing Guge Science and Technology has challenged the company’s right to use the Chinese version of “Google” itself.

A Beijing Guge spokesperson “said Google’s commercial name had led to the company being constantly disturbed by people calling up its office trying to contact the search engine,” according to a Reuters report.  At this point, I was still inclined to think that (even from Google’s perspective) this was a laughable matter.

But the then article states, “The case had been accepted by a court in Beijing’s Haidian district, the Beijing News reported.”  And the Chinese government is not famous for liking American Internet companies.

Still, Google China may not be doomed to lose this battle, as Joel Martinsen of Danwei relates a bit of information from a new Beijing News piece: “Beijing Guge opened for business on 19 April, 2006, or one week after Google announced its new Chinese name the 12th.”

Martinsen later adds, “The general feeling online is that Beijing Guge chose its name out of opportunistic motives and filed its complaint in a bid to profit from the media attention.”

Google’s struggles in China have been well-documented; having to start over with a new name would be disastrous.  Alternately, if the Chinese government gives Google a win, it may be a sign (in addition to the news about a content license) that the American search giant’s luck is improving.