Google Says ‘Gchat’ Is Not a Word

Ubiquitous noun/verb is totally unofficial.

The term “Gchat” is used by everyone from you and your friends, to the bloggers at the New York Times, and, perhaps a little too often, in the pages the New York Observer. A recent cover story in New York magazine, “The Kids Are (Sort Of) All Right,” conceived to be an authoritative portrait of the millenial generation, opens with the author Gchatting her sister and excerpts no fewer than 40 lines of said Gchat. A quick search on Twitter shows how easily Gchat slips into casual conversation. “I will Gchat you,” “Thanks, gchat history!,” “oh, i have to tell you something! you on gchat?” etc., etc. “Peep us at the Grammys, we’d like to thank Gchat,” raps Das Racist.

But the popular instant message client ensconced in your Gmail is not Gchat, as this reporter has learned. In fact, Google seems to actively resist the use of “Gchat,” despite its massive popularity and cultural significance (see “On Gchat,” “Gchat Status: An Appreciation,” and “Pitchfork Writer Ian Cohen Seems to Have Blocked Me on Gchat“). Instead, Google subtly corrects users who say it and studiously avoids it in any official communiqués. Read More


  1. Andres A. says:

    Heh, it could be for branding purposes which would be silly because, well, they’re Google. Also, whoa on the Aspberger’s ref.

  2. lefft says:

    using “google” as a verb is a completely different phenomenon: recall “xeroxing some papers,” for example. frequent and useful words undergo syntactic changes all the time (also “having a smoke”). “gchat” is different because it is a user-created word.

    1. lefft says:

      actually i have no idea what kind of word “smoke” was originally but im sure it didnt start off as a count noun meaning “cigarette”

    2. Anonymous says:

      it is still an “example of user-generated jargon”

  3. langer says:

    Wait—I thought “Google Talk” was just the name of the old Windows XP client, not the service at large?

    1. Anonymous says:

      It would seem that now it is the name of the service at large.

  4. jptalcott says:

    I would just assume Google opposes ‘Gchat’  because it strips out the actual brand ‘Google’

    1. Guesty says:

       But Gtalk/Gmail and other gstuff is endorsed. And quite funnily, this is the first time I’ve ever heard  anyone say gchat. But then I live in Europe.

  5. Davidsoll says:


  6. Jonathan says:

    In a boardroom at Google: “What? We never trademarked Gchat? Shit! Why the hell not? Well now what are we going to do?”

    I’ll also remind everyone that for verbs like ‘Google’, Google need only APPEAR to be making an effort to keep people from using them as verbs in order to keep their trademark- which they are doing to the minimum extent necessary.

  7. Vijay Gopal Marupudi says:

    just make it gtalk then, heh google!