As we all know, Google provides translation services to help people find the right words in languages they don't understand. For having all tried once to get website content automatically translated by Google using the tempting link 'translate this page', we all know this technology remains for now a little limited. And there is somewhat a reassuring reason behind it: the human sensibility required to communicate cannot be fully monitored by any machinery, not even the most advanced computer and/or AI system.
One interesting thing to observe about Google though is the fact it doesn't seem to fully monitor generating original terms for its own brand. As a fervent user, as many of us today - I get rather confused when a service I use nearly everyday changes its name overnight and without any warning. As an example, Google Docs became Google Drive a few months ago - Google Music that shows up now as part of Google Play.
I understand the point of expanding services for a brand - especially as Google is probably amongst the most visible and active one on the matter, launching new services nearly every other day (I may be exaggerating on this but I am probably not that far off) so services' names might not be fully relevant after a few months or would be better as part of a larger offering. But as a user, I find this rather confusing. I personally don't think 'Drive' necessarily conveys well enough the idea of document storage capability - and even if I get this is indeed a service that can store, edit, organize, search documents of all types, and that the term Drive is to resonate with the idea of it, being a virtual and cloud based extension of your Hard Drive, I think Google Drive could as well be a job search offering, a business-driven people tool so in fact - many other things. For Google Play - I understand the combination of services all together but I must admit, as a stubborn little chick, I never looked into the other services and just get frustrated a so perfect tool for storing and accessing my library of music (that took 4 days to fully upload) is now so long to access due to an endless path of clicks.
I guess the learning from this experience is that on top of challenging the user's ability to adapt to a new technology, Google also challenges users in the comfort zone of consistently naming services the same way by changing a daily used service's name overnight. In the history of marketing, this has probably never been done before, and surely never that frequently. For the time being, as a little 'word-nerd' and 'consistency-freak' (or a stubborn human being - you name it) I must admit secretly hope that the set of shortcuts available at the top left of my screen will soon be fully customizable so I will get 'Music' back on and available in one click again and for the Drive - well, I guess I will just have to be ok with not being on the driving seat on this one.
“The newest computer can merely compound, at speed, the oldest problem in the relations between human beings, and in the end the communicator will be confronted with the old problem, of what to say and how to say it.” - Edward R. Murrow (1908-1965)