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IT'S OFFICIAL. "GOOGLE" IS NOW A VERB. That is, according to the venerable Oxford English Dictionary, published by Oxford University Press, as well as Merriam-Webster. Google as a verb with an uppercase "G" was added to the OED, the internationally recognized arbiter of the English language, in June. The word also became an official verb in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Eleventh Edition last month. The next edition is expected to be published this fall.

Google joins other trademarked brands such as Xerox and TiVo that are used as generic verbs in common speech. The OED defines "Google" as: "To use the Google search engine to find information on the Internet. To search for information about (a person or thing) using the Google search engine." Webster's version, with a lowercase "g," identifies the word as a transitive verb meaning "to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web."

Google is among other new entries in the OED that include: air kiss, adware, freakazoid, geocache, pinko-liberal and yada yada." The OED focuses more on tracking the usage and evolution of words; Webster's is more of a traditional dictionary, listing established words in common usage.--Carol Krol

OFFICE DEPOT AND NASCAR STA R Carl Edwards are teaming up to drive a new campaign designed to help schools, parents, kids and teachers prepare for the upcoming school year. Edwards, driver of the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion, will help plug Office Depot's Great Tools for Your Schools Sweeps, a national promotion that will award one school with supplies, technology, $9,999 worth of student scholarship money, $99 Office Depot merchandising cards for teachers and a personal visit by Edwards, who was a substitute teacher before his racing career took off.

The promotion is tied directly to Office Depot's 5% Back to Schools Program that turns customers' purchases into credit that schools can use for classroom supplies. All told, the awards will translate into $65,000 worth of new school supplies and technologies. Prizes include material from Office Depot, Toshiba computers, Sanford writing instruments and 3M overhead and LCD projectors.

Edwards will personally deliver-in the No. 99 Office Depot race car hauler-the prizes to the winning school, then deliver a message to the school's students about the importance of education. The winning school's name will also appear on the No. 99 Office Depot Ford Fusion during one NASCAR Nextel Cup Series race.

Schools can enter at checkout counters at Office Depot outlets, 1-800-GO-DEPOT or shopping online at www.officedepot.com. Deadline for entry is Sept. 30. Fasten your seat belts.--Matthew Schwartz

EUROGROUPS, A GROUP TOUR company and division of rail Europe, ran an advertisement in eTurboNews' "Travel-Telegram" newsletter with the unfortunate promotional headline "France Whine Tour."

Though the advertiser would have been justified in having a fine whine about the accident, surprisingly, it continues to advertise with the e-newsletter provider. The real wine tour is a 12-day/11-night tour from Paris to Bordeaux by first-class rail that is certainly not designed to attract bellyachers, nor a tour that portrays the French as whiners.

Rather than whine about its mistake, eTurboNews dealt with the issue immediately by making a formal apology to the tour company, including sending an e-mail to its readership. Publisher Thomas Steinmetz told BtoB, "It was a true spelling error." The e-mail, signed by the eTurboNews team, also included a corrected version of the ad with no allusions to any kvetching or griping.

By way of explanation, Steinmetz said the ad layout was handled by his company's office in Germany, and chalked up the error to poor translation and not a jab at the French.--Carol Krol

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