Story by Eric Ravenscroft -
Yesterday, Google announced YouTube Red. Google, blissfully unaware of what goes on in Incognito Mode, apparently thought that this was a good name for a service. It is not the first time that Google has made flagrantly terrible choices in naming stuff.
As a brand itself, Google is pretty great. The name is distinct, it’s become synonymous with search, and the company has even managed to convey a distinct identity of whimsy, curiosity, and experimentation. Which is why it’s pretty frustrating that every single time Google announces the name of a new product, it’s either a generic English word with “Google” slapped on the front, or it’s a weird name that makes no damn sense.
Google Now Is an Awful Name for a Great Product
Google is the only company that hasn’t tried to personify its voice assistant. And I’m okay with that. Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are all nice, but I’m not going to be upset if my phone doesn’t get sassy when I ask it to divide zero by zero. But I almost wish that Google did give Google Now a persona so it wasn’t so stupidly difficult to talk about it.
For starters, Google still hasn’t really clarified what Google Now is. Initially, it seemed that “Google Now” referred to the page of cards that attempted to guess what information you wanted at any given moment. However, it now seems that Google’s collection of voice commands is included in “Google Now.” Or is that part of something called Ok Google, as this help page seems to indicate? Google used to have a separate product called Voice Actions, but that’s now the name of Google’s framework for third-party developers to add voice commands to Google. Maybe Google’s voice actions have no name. But if that’s the case, then Google’s entire personal assistant product has no name at all. Which would be really silly, since the voice commands are way more useful than Google Now cards.