Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Hey, Dawg ... What's In A Name?
Googling For Google In Mandarin

Google decided a couple of weeks back to adopt the Chinese name of Guge in China. Most people in China find the name awkward, nonsensical or even rude. Google said Guge is represented by the ideograms for valley and song. The name conveyed "the sense of a fruitful and productive search experience in a poetic Chinese way". But in a poll by news portal, 85% of respondents were opposed to Guge.

Tens of thousands of others have signed an online petition calling for Google to rethink its Chinese identity. The most popular alternatives listed on an alternative website,, are Gougou (dog dog), already used by China's web community, Goule (enough), Gugu (auntie), Gugou (ancient dog) and Gege (elder brother). But in an apparent sideswipe at Google's obedience to Beijing censors, the seventh most popular is Good Gou (good dog). Readers who understand Mandarin would be smiling by the insinuations of "dog dog", "enough" and "auntie".

Its quite funny too. "Dog dog" is an affectionate term, where most pet dog owners would refer to their dogs as "gougou". "Gugu" as in auntie is funny not so much in Mandarin but in Cantonese its hilarious (in Cantonese it refers to the male external appendage). As for "gege" (brother), its a form of respect to call someone brother in China, a pragmatic and politically correct term.

A dog in Western culture is a good thing - attached to it are traits like obedience, unconditional love, man's best friend. In Chinese culture, the term "dog" can be used to scold someone who is "unworthy", "lower class" or even "despicable". Well, that's what you get from a country where dogs do get eaten every now and then. Man, if you reincarnate as a dog, make sure you are born in the right country.

I personally prefer Goule (enough) as Google's reach and influence is already too much to bear.


Rohan_888 said...

For the diehard Google bears:

Salvatore_Dali said...

Hi Rohan,

Long time no hear.... great site, thank you... so many bullets, so little netspace.

Rohan_888 said...

Hi Dali,

Keep up the good work, I am a regular visitor but often got nothing to write.

This anti-Google website is quite old, the guy (girl?) started long time ago, he can be quite funny, but not sure if all is correct, he is slightly biased.

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