You peeps gotta relax.
So yeah, Google's lawyers sent letters to media companies saying hey, Google isn't really a verb. But Google had to send those letters as part of its responsibility to its own brand. It's just establishing a precedent in case its trademark faces a real legal challenge. By sending the letters, it can subsequently say, "See your honor, we've heretofore taken all necessary steps to protect the brand."
But do you think Google is really concerned? Puh-lease. Nobody uses "I googled that hottie" in official correspondence, unless it's a send-up. Just ask Google CEO Eric Schmidt. In a press briefing last week at SES, Schmidt said that the company sent a "humorous letter" to the Oxford English Dictionary reminding them how the word Google should be used.
I mean, really: If tall-and-starchy can chuckle at this, so can you.
Just remember: Ubiquity is the new exclusivity.
p.s. Yeah, I know trademarks are expensive things that need to be protected. But brands aren't worth what they used to be worth, and the brands that have the most equity are also victims of genericide. Here's a good list of proprietary eponyms.
p.p.s. Why such a stern article from the Brits? I thought you guys appreciated dry humor?
p.s.x3: Jason Kottke pointed out that Google has been fighting the good fight against genericide for years. Here's an email from 2003 in which Google asks Wordspy.com to change how the site defines the word google.