Tuesday, May 1, 2007

"I" in Front of Everything

OK. I'm not entirely sure of this phenomenon, though it seems to be catching on a little faster than tacking on "-ability" to the end of every word.

The letter "i," lower case, has become a staple in front of words that used to stand on their own just fine. There is the portal and search engine iWon that gives away cash prizes, giving some weight to the "iWon" name. The search engine has remained in relative obscurity, few taking notice of the "i" in front of "Won."

Then Apple came along with its "i" products, most notably the iPod and iTunes. Even if you just Google the letter "i," Apple's iTunes page is the first result. And let's not all forget the iPhone, the latest offering in the Apple "i" product line. Too bad there won't be "iTV." We have to settle for "Apple TV", but hey, can't win them all.

Apple, however, no longer corners the market on useful products that start with "i." Google has joined the mix with "iGoogle," the new name of the Personalized Home Page. Of all the companies overflowing with originality, I guess I expected a little more from Google. I figured Google to be a trend setter, not a follower.

On the surface of things, "iGoogle" does seem to follow a trend established and used rather effectively by Apple. The rest of the world rides the coat tails of Google, after all, so shouldn't Google be able to ride someone else's for once? But to leave it at that would do an injustice to language, the word Google and the letter "i," lower case.

Where Apple slapped an "i" in front of "Tunes," "Pod" and "Phone" for reasons that make sense to someone at Apple, Google's use of the letter "i," lower case, creates a sentence: "iGoogle," meaning "I Google."

Call it a declaration. "iGoogle" signifies that you, a user, declare Google to be your search engine of choice. And, generally, you search. Google, besides being an obnoxiously large corporation, is also a verb. Apple, however, is a fruit. You consume Apple. It's passive. Google, well, that requires thinking and typing and more thinking and typing until you find what you want.

Words are Google's business, falling under the more accepted term of "search," and what better declaration to make than "iGoogle."


Joseph said...

The illuminati realized that people were still bonded together by material sharing of items. To disband this - they dumped selfishness on practically every product. I didn't believe that it would happen - but look at everything so far - ipod, myspace, youtube, itunes, and then from their - all you have to do is put an i in front of a word in google for example I put "ifood" and I got a website declaring that it's here to serve ME and nobody else. It's getting hard to not use a product that's MINE and not just a product I can do whatever with.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused by this trend, to add another to your list, I work at a company called iAnywhere (A branch of Sybase), when i first started I noticed that we moved to this from a much more interesting name, Xcellenet.

Anonymous said...

It's everywhere.