Today I learned that, beyond the success Buffy the Vampire Slayer entailed for Joss Whedon—late of Avengers-directing fame—it has a nerdly milestone of its own.
According to Charles Arthur in his book Digital Wars, the first use of to google on television appeared in Buffy. On October 15, 2002, in the fourth episode of the show’s final season, the character Willow turns to the eponymous slayer and asks, “Have you googled her yet?”
The character Xander answers: “She’s 17!”
Willow clarifies: “It’s a search engine.”
According to Arthur, just a few months later, all 60 members of a committee selected by the American Dialect Society voted to google 2002’s most useful new word. Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary would soon note the coinage. By 2006, Google’s lawyers—fearful of seeing the company’s name brand watered down to the trademark mushiness of kleenex—wrote a post for the company blog outlining when and when not to google should be used.
“We’d like to make clear that you should please only use ‘Google’ when you’re actually referring to Google Inc. and our services,” it said.