BEIJING: Gougou, Gugu, Gege, Goule or Guge? A furious online debate has opened up in China over the recent adoption of a Mandarin name by Google - the latest in a series of controversies to hit the American online search company since it launched a Chinese service earlier this year.
Already facing a backlash over its capitulation to Beijing’s censorship demands and problems with US regulators, the world’s biggest search engine is now under fire for choosing a name many users criticise as awkward, nonsensical or rude.
It is less than a fortnight since Google said it would be known as Guge, 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”, it said.
But in a poll by news portal Sina.com, 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.
Soso, one of the leaders of the campaign, said: “When I first heard the name Guge, I couldn’t help laughing. It sounded like fool, funny and fart.” Soso is the founder of igogo8.com, a site that allows users to superimpose their own name on Google branding. The most popular alternatives listed on a second website, NoGuge.com, 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).—Dawn/The Guardian News Service