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September 19, 2017  |  Noogling around with words  |  2416 hit(s)

Some weeks ago I joined Google as a technical editor. During orientation my first week, I learned a lot about configuring my computer and about my healthcare options, which is to say that it was a lot like joining any new company. Something that was not specifically on the agenda that week, but that was of keen interest to me, was an introduction to a whole lot of new vocabulary.

Companies tend to develop their own lexicons. In my years at Microsoft, I become fluent in Microspeak (blue badge, a-dash, S+, little-r me). A stint at Amazon taught me another batch of terms, including 6-pagers, dogs not barking, bar raisers, frupidity, and undifferentiated heavy lifting. Right from my start at Google I started writing down terms, and I'm still going. Here I'll list some terms I like.

We should probably start with the company name itself, a story that some people don't know. Google is (it has been reported) a misspelling of the word googol, a term in math for 10 to the 100th power.

The company uses Google as a combining word with gusto. Company headquarters are in Mountain View, California at a campus that's known as the Googleplex. Employees are Googlers; new employees are Nooglers. Ex-employees are Xooglers. Older employees are Grayglers or Greyglers. Google is a dog-friendly company, and four-legged friends on campus are Dooglers. Embodying aspects of the company culture means that you're Googley.

Update 5 Mar 2018 At work today, we got an email that included a picture of a hoogler—a Google employee's pet hedgehog. And the guy who sits next to me said that on internal lists, employees' cats are known as meow-glers.

My Noogler beanie

As with many (most? all?) companies, acronyms and initialisms are everywhere. There are cafeterias in many of the buildings, and smaller areas in each building where you can grab drinks. These are MKs, or "mini kitchens." My email address—what I learned elsewhere to call my email alias—is now my LDAP. That one amused me, for two reasons. One is that it's a technical term (LDAP name) that sort of escaped into general usage. And two is that hardly anyone can tell you want LDAP actually stands for.

The weekly all-hands is referred to as TGIF. You might think that means that the meetings are held on Fridays. And apparently they once were, but not anymore; even so, the name stuck. Slightly amusing: internally, the name Mountain View is abbreviated as MTV, which threw me more times than you'd think when I first encountered it. And an initialism that I hear all the time now is LGTM: Looks Good To Me, which can conveniently function as a verb ("Can you LGTM this for me?")

I don't know if we can consider this acronymic, but even the G in Google gets pressed into service. When I was in Mountain View, I noticed a lot of people using GBikes to get around. (Which seemed smart, given the big campus, clement weather, and flat terrain.) Similarly, in some places folks can commute on a GBus.

Here's a term that I haven't sorted out yet, nor has anyone I've asked. For messaging one another at work, we use Google Hangouts, as you'd expect. Just today I was talking to a colleague and explaining that someone had ... Hangouted me? ... a message. We had to ponder that one for a bit.

It's a lot of fun, this cavalcade of new words. I do still occasionally have to take someone aside and ask them to explain some term or acronym. Or in one case, my boss had to take me aside and explain that I was using a term wrong. But c'mon ... such things are to be expected from Nooglers, right?

Jerry Kindall   20 Sep 17 - 12:00 PM

A nifty nod to the origins of "Google" is found in the domain 1e100.net. 10e100 is scientific notation for a googol (expressed as computers do, using the letter "e" to precede the power of ten). Google uses this domain to identify servers in its network.