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Google Under Fire For Calling Their Language "Go" 512

Posted by Soulskill
from the rename-it-to-proceed-with-caution dept.
Norsefire writes "Since releasing the 'Go' programming language on Tuesday, Google has been under fire for using the same name as another programming language that was first publicly documented in 2003. 'Go!' was created by Francis McCabe and Keith Clark. McCabe published a book about the language in 2007, and he is not happy. He told InformationWeek in an email: 'I do not have a trademark on my language. It was intended as a somewhat non-commercial language in the tradition of logic programming languages. It is in the tradition of languages like Prolog. In particular, my motivation was bringing some of the discipline of software engineering to logic programming.'"
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Google Under Fire For Calling Their Language "Go"

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  • Go! (Score:5, Informative)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:39AM (#30071650) Journal

    It's actually pretty funny Google itself didn't see this coming. Results in Google for go programming language [google.com] are about the existing Go! language and the main developers book about it.

    In this case Google should really change the name since its been used in an existing programming language for years. But maybe they are:

    "We recently became aware of the Go! issue and are now looking into the matter further," a company spokesperson said in an e-mail.

    • Re:Go! (Score:5, Funny)

      by msh104 (620136) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:43AM (#30071680)

      Even more funny is the fact that they hosting their language on code.google.com
      Perhaps we shouldn't worry that much about them harvesting our data after all?

    • Re:Go! (Score:5, Funny)

      by iamhassi (659463) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:58AM (#30071884) Journal
      from the article:

      There once was a language named "Go"
      By Google it's made to help the Pro
      But there's a claim the name
      it sounds quite the same
      as another fellow's lingo

      This other lingo named "Go!"
      "It was earlier" it's inventor says so.
      "Why didn't you look
      on a webpage or in my book,
      it's even google search result two!"

      "So Google, rename your thing!
      Or in front of a judge you i bring!
      Lots of users agree
      it was disgraceful by thee
      just be sorry and give me a ring!"

      So the question arise
      allthough google might despise
      "what new name shall we be giving
      to the lingo that's not yet living
      and has not yet seen this world with it's own eyes?"

      One fella proposed the name "Goo"
      Which is similar to pythons clone "Boo"
      But also this name is taken
      and not yet forsaken
      and honestly sounds close to "Poo".

      Another said "Lango" is cool,
      He would take such thing as a tool.
      But a lingo named "Lango"
      Only rhymes "Jango" or "Tango"
      This is real, not Star Wars, you fool!

      Lots of other names were called
      some were boring, some others were bold
      The question still remain
      Will google act or refrain
      from renaming it's lingo as told?

      The remainder of my little piece
      Is the ironic issue of this
      Why did you, google miss
      to google "go" before release
      You would have known it's not your name, but his'!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ArcherB (796902)

      It's actually pretty funny Google itself didn't see this coming. Results in Google for go programming language [google.com] are about the existing Go! language and the main developers book about it.

      In this case Google should really change the name since its been used in an existing programming language for years. But maybe they are:

      "We recently became aware of the Go! issue and are now looking into the matter further," a company spokesperson said in an e-mail.

      I don't know what they need to look into. There are only two real aspects to look at here. First, from a technical standpoint, it could confuse people want to learn Google's Go and end up learning the other Go. From a legal standpoint, if the guy didn't trademark the name, who cares? He doesn't really have a case. But it does kind of fly in the face of the "Don't be evil" slogan.

      If they want to be nice, they could just rename it to something like Go++ or Go2.

      • Re:Go! (Score:5, Funny)

        by fbjon (692006) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:57AM (#30072646) Homepage Journal
        Next up: Go2 considered harmful.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Iron Condor (964856)

        But it does kind of fly in the face of the "Don't be evil" slogan.

        Not really. There was no malice here anywhere. Nobody tried to be evil, nobody is trying to be evil this moment and nobody is trying to be evil in the future.

        Some dude had an idea a couple years back that was so utterly obscurethat no Wikipedia page existed for it. Let that sink in: There's a page on Wikipedia for every actor that was ever seen in the background of any Star Trek episode; yet this supposed "Go language" was so unknown that nobody ever bothered to make a page for it (until yesterday). And t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ArcherB (796902)

          I didn't mean to say that Google is evil for stealing this guy's name. I was merely stating that this could become a PR nightmare if it becomes a big enough deal.

          Imagine the spin that could be placed here:
          Some poor computer programmer invented a programming language with the hope of making the world a better place and here comes the big bad evil corporation Google and steals the name of this language. When the poor chap brings it up, the door is slammed on his face and Google uses the name anyway. This p

        • Re:Go! (Score:5, Informative)

          by malakai (136531) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @03:24PM (#30077258) Journal

          He published in "Annals of Mathematics and Artificial Intelligence" and it's cited [acm.org] in the ACM portal. Who cares what Wiki has or doesn't have.

          This wasn't some geocities page with talk about a language that was never developed.

    • Re:Go! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by khallow (566160) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:34AM (#30072330)

      In this case Google should really change the name since its been used in an existing programming language for years.

      Why? Go! is just another hobby language that's only been around for a few years. The only thing it has generated is a few academic papers. There probably have been thousands of those in the past 50 or so years. I see no reason for Google to change the name of its computing language just because there are already one or more programming languages with similar names. As the previous sentence implies, I wouldn't be surprised to find out there there are several programming languages with something very similar.

      • Re:Go! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tknd (979052) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @02:41PM (#30076500)

        Just because it is currently a hobby language doesn't mean something popular might be made with it later. That would result in a naming collision for people (which go language?) and a complex legal battle if both products became successful.

        Here's what would happen if nobody says anything: Google's Go gets popular and now has trademark weight. Go! hobby language gets popular because basement developer makes new popular app. Google sees this as a threat to trademark and is forced to use legal action.

        Of course, the hobby language Go! could dwindle and produce nothing of value but we don't know that yet. He's actually doing everyone a favor by bringing up this topic right now while both languages don't have much weight to defend. It eliminates the possibility of expensive arguments in the future.

  • by LaminatorX (410794) <sabotage@NoSpAm.praecantator.com> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:45AM (#30071702) Homepage

    Two "Go"'s considered harmful.

  • From the Wikipedia page about Go! [wikipedia.org], you can download its source code here [mac.com]. Is this language really serious? No docs, just one book with a typo on its front?
    • by qoncept (599709)
      Without clicking the link, let me guess.. it says "Og!" ?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Procasinator (1173621)
      A couple academic papers too, dating back to 2003. No docs isn't that accurate.
    • by bsane (148894)

      And as far as I can tell, the wiki entry was created yesterday.

      (I'm wiki challenged, so I may be wrong)

      • You are correct, it was added by somebody after reading about the go vs go! thing, before then ther wasn't even a reference on "go" disambiguation

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by eonlabs (921625)

        Excellent find,
        I'm sure the author is relishing in the Streisand Effect right now.
        How far down the page was Go! two days ago if you googled the name?

  • by woolio (927141) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:49AM (#30071752) Journal

    I bet someone at Google will get fired soon...

    Either 1 of 2 things may have happened:

    1) They used Microsoft Bing to search for potential trademark violations
    2) They were too lazy and didn't check at all.

    • If Ken Thompson and Rob Pike were designing it, they probably didn't care about getting fired / marketing implications / public backlash etc. They have a history of choosing provocative names, just look at the plan9 stuff.

    • by Jugalator (259273)

      Fired? Isn't that exaggerating things a little? ;)

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:41AM (#30072426)

      I would hate to have you as a boss.
      Oh you had a bug in you code... YOUR FIRRREED!
      Oh you tried to come up with a creative name that was taken by some obscure language... YOUR FIRRREED!
      When brain storming for ideas in the meeting you idea that we all liked had a problem... YOUR FIRREED!

      I bet you work for the government or something. People make mistakes. Googling for GO will lead to a lot of results and people know that and Go is used for a lot of help support too. So they probably realized it is such a common word finding a language like it will be like a needle in a haystack.
      Sure google searches now will probably bring you better results however now that it is news it would effect the Google search criteria.

  • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kbmxpxfan (1251818)
    No TM, no copy right? Why is this guy complaining?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The way I see it, TM or copyright are really useful so you don't have to demonstrate that you were using that name before... he doesn't have it, so he has to show that he had a book, that the language was published in 2003 with that name, etc.

    • Re:So? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:58AM (#30071880)

      Some things are ethically questionable even when there is no legal problem involved. A concept often forgotten in the corporate world.

  • Goo (Score:3, Funny)

    by ei4anb (625481) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:53AM (#30071804)
    Google should rename it Goo, or if that's taken then Gooo or Goooooooooo...
  • Tag this one !news.

    Since when is a gazillion-dollar company considered "under fire" because one dude with no legal status is annoyed at them?

    By that logic, "McDonald's has come under fire this week for serving goodmanj a batch of stale fries last time he went there."

  • by Procasinator (1173621) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:56AM (#30071840)
    This was reported by the author in Issue 9 [google.com]. There have been suggestions to rename the language to Issue 9 - I like it.
  • Couldn't they have googled the name first? You'd kind of expect at least that from them..

    Not like Go is such a great name anyway. They should run a poll to decide the name. With enough luck it'll get called Marblecake or Colbert++.

  • by Moas (1667191)
    If Francis McCabe wanted to protect his work he had 6 years in which to do it. Either he's trying to close the barn door after the horses are gone or he's looking to try to get some sales for his book. They should have planned better.
    • by xophos (517934) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:07AM (#30071992)

      As someone stated before, this is not a legal issue. It's just about basic politeness.

  • Google does whatever it damn pleases. The "do no evil" slogan has lost its meaning because Google is convinced that it simply cannot do evil and everything it does is for the good of mankind and everybody else is a heretic anyway.
  • Google's language is called Go! (with an exclamation mark.) The preexisting language whose existence has been suddenly and rudely revealed is called Go without the exclamation mark. Since ! is the negation operator, the Google's language is Go (Not). People don't seem to realize the full implications of the name.

    It originates from the paper by Dijkstra [arizona.edu] where he argued GoTo statements should be banned. That resulted in many structured programming languages main stream computer science. But what is not k

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:07AM (#30072000)

      Google's language is called Go! (with an exclamation mark.) The preexisting language whose existence has been suddenly and rudely revealed is called Go without the exclamation mark.

      Other way around. Google's language is "Go". McCabe's language is "Go!".

    • by Thornburg (264444) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:24AM (#30072184)

      Dont get me started on the Japanese chess game Go.

      I don't know if your post was supposed to be either sarcastic or funny, but Go [wikipedia.org] is neither Japanese nor chess.

      It's Chinese, and it's older than chess.

      The game commonly referred to as "Japanese chess" is Shogi [wikipedia.org].

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by kumanopuusan (698669)
        Go originated in China, but is played in Japan. TFA is about naming things Go, so it might be worthwhile to note that Go is the Japanese name for the game.
  • by macraig (621737)

    I think they should call it Goop. So much code produced by humans has looked like a blob from a bad sci-fi movie that it seems fitting.

    • Or how about just 'G'? I mean it's not already taken, it rhymes with the the incredibly successful 'C' and it is still easily associated with Google (or Good.)
      • by macraig (621737)

        I still vote for Goop. Have you ever heard the cliche, "you are what you eat"? I think a corollary might emerge: "you are what you code (in)". Some genius will use Goop to code the first artificially intelligent self-replicating nanobots, and they'll decide we're no more significant than any other raw material and turn us all into....

      • by NekSnappa (803141)
        No, then Gatorade would come after them.
  • Hey, the guys who ripped that one off actually ended up making $20 million [wikipedia.org]. Anyone want to pay me for my new "Pearl" programming language?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    How would Google even know that a language called "Go" exists?

    They would have to have some mechanism for searching the internet to do that.

  • by rkww (675767) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:29AM (#30072260)

    It is proposed that this article be deleted because of the following concern: Non notable language. All the sources seem to be papers and a book by the author of the language. Per WP:N, sources should be secondary sources independent of the subject.

    This template was added 2009-11-12 14:22

  • by that IT girl (864406) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:30AM (#30072272) Journal
    They can call it Goog.
  • A poll would be interesting.

    Personally, I think that "Go and "Go! are two different names, so there is no problem.

  • not an issue (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kikito (971480)

    One has a bang (!) at the end, while the other doesn't.

    Everybody knows the difference between C and C#

    The claim has no basis.

  • They will have to call it GoToo!
  • UUIDs (Score:5, Funny)

    by ewg (158266) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:46AM (#30072504)
    This is why I name all my programming languages by UUID. In fact, look for my new book, Ed68c886-6390-4255-813f-48e61f6b0b06: The Definitive Guide to be published in the second quarter of next year!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by clickety6 (141178)

      Bastard! A little research through a few obscure, un-archived computing journals published in the now defunct USSR would have shown you that I wrote the programming language Ed68c886-6390-4255-813f-48e61f6b0b05 over 25 years ago! The cheek of some people!

  • by An dochasac (591582) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:56AM (#30072634)

    What is wrong with people who name new computer languages? Like it or not, google has become a defacto reference for coders. You can't remember the exact syntax of python string concatenation, Google it and see:

    Results 1 - 10 of about 21,200 for python "string concatenation". (0.20 seconds)

    And the relevant examples are bunched near the top of the first page. Now try the same for Go:
    Results 1 - 10 of about 50,000 for Go "string concatenation". (0.20 seconds)
    Of course none of them are relevant but you can see that Go coders are going to have a much worse Signal/Noise ratio.

    The only thing I don't like about the processing language is its name:
      Results 1 - 10 of about 45,900 for processing "string concatenation". (0.24 seconds)

    Of course it come from a long history of google silly names like 'C'
    Results 1 - 10 of about 84,300 for C "string concatenation". (0.09 seconds)

    Microsoft wasn't very smart here:
    Results 1 - 10 of about 157,000 for .net "string concatenation". (0.30 seconds)

    Sun was better
    Results 1 - 10 of about 70,600 for Java "string concatenation". (0.19 seconds)

    Now we're talking:
      Results 1 - 10 of about 7,050 for fortran "string concatenation".
      Results 1 - 10 of about 3,230 for cobol "string concatenation".

    Of course those last two are much less popular languages but the S/N ratio of the pages you get when you search google for that is very high.

    Google should have a naming contest for their new language. Come up with something unique like zarking00g

  • Tingo? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by houghi (78078) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:06AM (#30072768)

    This Is Not GO.
    It apparently also means "To take all the objects one desires from the house of a friend, one at a time, by borrowing them." in Pasquense, Easter Island.

This place just isn't big enough for all of us. We've got to find a way off this planet.

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