Googlish - Google's secret code language

Don Dodge · December 9, 2010 · Short URL:

Wdyt? This is the way people communicate via IM, text message and even email

Googlish is the language used to communicate via Instant Messaging. Any high school kid understands it instantly. It is not unique to Google, or any company. Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook has been studying it too. The way we communicate in this Twitter / SMS world, and the tools we use to do it, is rapidly changing. A Googler sent this message recently. I will add translation.

Googlish. (n). A recently discovered language spoken 1,000,000 solar years ago by a civilization on the former planet Earth. Evidence indicates it was a gutural and unpronounceable language, a conclusion drawn from the one surviving fragment:

- yt? vc?                       [You there? Video conference?]
- on 3G, sry, no vc.   [I'm on 3G network, sorry, no video conference possible]
- ooo?                          [Are you Out Of Office?]
- wfh                            [Yes, I am Working From Home]
- k, sync by im?         [OK, can we sync by Instant Message?]
- np.                             [Sure, no problem]
- qq wrt new okr.      [Quick question. With regard to the new OKR (Objectives, Key Results)]
- imho ok by q4/11.  [In my humble opinion, it is OK by the 4th quarter of 2011]
- wdyt q2/11?             [What do you think? Maybe by 2nd quarter of 2011?] 
- w/ hc, np :)             [With some headcount, sure no problem]
- afaik hc tbd. if no hc, q3/11 ok?  [As far as I know, headcount is TBD. If no headcount is Q3 OK?]
- ..sry, gtg (mtg).       [Sorry.. I have got to go to a meeting]
- k, lmk asap. i'm ooo til eod but pls ping.  [OK, let me know as soon as possible. I am out of office until the end of the day, but please ping me when you can]
- sgtm. ty.                  [Sounds good to me. Thank you.]
- yw, ttyl                     [You are welcome. I will talk to you later]

[Archeological encyclopedia, 1,002,010 A.D.]

This is the way people communicate via IM, text message, and even email. Our communication tools need to adapt. Our search technology must be able to search across all our communication modes to find and link all relevant conversations.

Mark Zuckerberg is right. Email will not be killed by a better email system. The market will move to a very different, real time, communication mode that works across all our devices; laptops, cell phones, ipads, etc. It will stay in sync so that a message read on your phone shows as read on your laptop too.

Personally, I like the old English and the elegance of a well constructed line of thinking. Twitter and SMS are great for quick bursts, but totally inadequate for deeper thought. The trick is how to embrace both modes at the right times.

(image source:

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