Fri 4 Feb 2011
I read today that Macquarie Dictionary have named their Word of the Year for 2010: Googleganger.
The word is immediately understandable; a googleganger is someone that has the same name as you, whom you find when egosearching on Google. Quite obviously it is a blend of Google and doppelganger.
However I have a few apprehensions about calling it the word of the year.
- It’s been around a lot longer than a year, as this timeline will attest1. The earliest instance appears to be from August 2004, in an article written by Geoff Boucher for the Lifestyle section of the South Florida Sun.
- It’s use since Geoff Boucher first used it appears to have waned by the end of 2008 and has only been used a couple of times per year or so since then.
- It was never in natural use anyway. If you look closely at all the instances of the word, they’re all much like the following in that the writers felt they had to define the word when using it.
But for some people there’s a problem When they Google their names someone else comes up That person is a Googleganger It’s someone with your very name but often a totally different life.
That to me indicates that people were trying hard for the word to become accepted, but still it could never quite find its own legs.
- I’d never heard of it before today, and neither had anyone else I asked.
- Ignore the single instance from 2000; that’s due to Google’s method of attributing dates to web pages. This particular page, from Stephen Fry’s QI, is actually from December 2009. It’s only listed as 2000 because Google have apparently opted to pay attention to a date mentioned on the page rather than the page header itself.