Google gets a new Chinese name
The search engine wants to make sure its brand name isn't lost in translation. Plus: Calling on Skype's office in London proves a challenge
SAN FRANCISCO (Business 2.0) - Google may be the most recognized new 21st century brand in the West. But in China, its name was a dog. Surfers had been pronouncing the unfamiliar "Google" as "gougou" or "gugou," among other variants - meaning "doggy" and "old hound." An easier-to-pronounce name is just one of the reasons why rival Baidu has been eating Google's lunch in China. That's why the company tweaked its iconic name yesterday as it opened a new engineering center in Beijing. Google renamed itself "Gu Ge" (pronounced "goo-guh"), which China Daily elaborately translates as "song of the harvest of grain." Google (Research) officials said the new name projected "the sense of a fruitful and productive search experience, in a poetic Chinese way."
Calling on Skype proves a challenge
When San Francisco Chronicle reporter Thomas Frostberg set out to interview a Skype executive in the company's London office, he faced a challenge: Finding the place. Even Skype's public-relations rep didn't know the address, though 100 of the eBay (Research) subsidiary's 270 employees work there. Frostberg wasn't told the top-secret address - 7-11 Lexington Street - until a late-night call, hours before the interview was scheduled. Why the secrecy? Perhaps Skype employees don't want disgruntled customers dropping by to air complaints about spotty service.
Spitzer lawsuit shows more Yahoo adware links
New York State attorney general Eliot Spitzer is suing software maker Direct Revenue, alleging that the company's products are dangerous spyware, and documents from the suit show more links between Yahoo (Research) and the company. (Direct Revenue denies the charges, but also says it has stopped the practices Spitzer objects to.) Yahoo's keyword ads showed up in Direct Revenue's software through an intermediary, Walnut, that Yahoo says wasn't authorized to distribute the ads to Direct Revenue. But the revelations highlight the problems Yahoo has in policing its partners to make sure its ads - and the associated revenues - aren't finding their ways to companies whose practices some find unsavory.
Wireless for the great outdoors
While everyone else is riveted by citywide Wi-Fi experiments in San Francisco and Portland, wireless networks are finding uses in remote areas, too. Arcadian Networks has launched a wireless communications network in 23 states designed to serve "large geographic areas with widely dispersed physical assets." Silicon Beat reported in January that 45-year-old Israeli-American entrepreneur David Gilo, who previously sold a company to Intel (Research) for $1.6 billion, has raised $85 million for the venture. All that to make sure oil-rig operators and ranch hands don't get lonely?To send a letter to the editor about this story, click here.