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Google Programming

Google Under Fire For Calling Their Language "Go" 512

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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  • So? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kbmxpxfan ( 1251818 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:50AM (#30071768)
    No TM, no copy right? Why is this guy complaining?
  • Re:Perfect example (Score:4, Insightful)

    by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:55AM (#30071834) Homepage

    There's no IP.

    There is copyright, patents and trademarks. This sounds like a trademark thing, so no need to confuse the issue.

  • Re:Non-issue (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:58AM (#30071866) Journal
    Given that it's the top hit for 'go programming language' on Google, if Google are unaware that it exists then it shows quite how insular they have become - obviously they didn't even think of checking whether anyone else had used the name.
  • 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.

  • by Moas ( 1667191 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:00AM (#30071906)
    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 yogibaer ( 757010 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:01AM (#30071916)
    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.
  • 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.

  • by that IT girl ( 864406 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:30AM (#30072272) Journal
    They can call it Goog.
  • Re:Go! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ihmhi ( 1206036 ) <> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:32AM (#30072302)

    I don't know if there's a Poet Laureate position for Slashdot, but either way I nominate this guy. Brilliant!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • by NotQuiteReal ( 608241 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:52AM (#30072564) Journal
    Maybe GoGo would be better. That has some nice possibilities for logos...
  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rary ( 566291 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @10:54AM (#30072598)

    DMCA is not an issue, since this is a question of trademark, not copyright.

    It seems to me that the only way McCabe could be legally forced to change the name is if trademark law applied, but if trademark law applied, then the mark would be his, since trademark law is "first to use", not "first to file".

    Legal questions aside, if Google keeps using the name, then McCabe will have to change his name not for legal reasons, but practical ones.

  • 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.

  • by Grapes4Buddha ( 32825 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:15AM (#30072902) Journal

    A poll would be interesting.

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

    Unless you get excited about the first one...

  • Re:Go! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SkyDude ( 919251 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:17AM (#30072946)
    Google will send the guy a check with several zeroes in it, relieve their guilty conscience and call it a day. C'mon, you know it will happen that way.
  • Re:Go! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:24AM (#30073060)

    That little light on your dashboard? That's your "broken sarcasm detector" indicator light. You should get that checked out.

  • Re:Go! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2009 @11:46AM (#30073406)

    It's worse than that. You'd think Google would have a comprehensive understanding of the value of picking a term that would make web searches easier. "Go" is rather a common word. There's the game, the other programming language, and it's everyday uses. Talk about namespace collision!

    Maybe they should have named it "GoTwo"? :-)

  • Re:Hmmm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rary ( 566291 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @12:37PM (#30074048)

    I'm not sure why you think selling something is a pre-requisite for being able to trademark its name. What is key is that you use the trademark on an ongoing basis and are the first to use it in a particular field.(Amongst other things). Even if you freely give something away you can still trademark its name; all a trademark does is identify a particular product and prevents others with similar products from trading on your good (or bad) name. Google, for example gives away many services for free yet can still own the rights to Google as a servicemark or trademark; depending on whether you consider search a service or a good.

    I didn't say he had to be selling it, I said he had to be using it in a commercial capacity. Trademark applies to, well, trade. I might use a certain nickname on an ongoing basis in a particular field, but that doesn't mean I automatically get a trademark on that nickname. It would have to be a mark of trade in order for it to be trademarkable.

  • Re:Tingo? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 12, 2009 @12:54PM (#30074356)

    I have recommended gingo (gingo is not go).

  • by wonkavader ( 605434 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @01:10PM (#30074606)

    Because Googling for "go" gets you 2,950,000,000 hits. Yes, that's billions. And yet they didn't see that choosing such a common word for a language name was a bad idea. Ah, how the mighty goof up.

  • Re:Go! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @01:20PM (#30074828) Homepage Journal
    I can write you a check with several zeroes in it but that doesn't mean it's worth anything.
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @02:36PM (#30076396)

    "From what I've read, Go! was pretty much unknown to anyone outside a very small group 2 years ago."

    From what I've read, Go was pretty much unknown outside of Google until about a week ago.

  • 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.

  • Re:So? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource ( 238333 ) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @02:50PM (#30076660)

    "Like reusing the name of an obscure project that seemingly died years ago and nobody here has even heard of?"

    Right. If Slashdotters haven't heard of it, there's no ethical issue.

  • Re:Go! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Friday November 13, 2009 @05:23AM (#30084710) Journal

    "Google have precisely one stage of announcing it to the public."

    Because BasilBrush hath declared it so. To hell with reality and a presented example that happens to be the most well known google service next to search.

    Gmail was leaked pre-alpha, announced alpha, announced beta with invites, leaked in press releases several times and then announced again after invites, and finally announced once more at public release.

    Google milks all the press and buzz it can with every service even when it is only thinking about offering it.

    I saw mention on a tv special about google over a year ago that they were working on a language with short compile times.

    So unless you have something better than nu uh to reply with save the text. I won't be feeding the trolls.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis