Finding the right name to trademark register is a difficult and complicated process. Many names are already taken, while others don’t illustrate the essence of the product adequately. This list, however, is for software names that work extremely well. Names that are unique, maybe obvious – but which communicate exactly what they do.
10. Norton Commander
Norton Commander from 1986 has been hugely significant for the way we copy and move files. In spite of the program being entirely text-based, it still had a very clear representation of copying from where to where. It was so effective and popular that many kept similar programs on Windows, such as Windows Commander or Total Commander. Today, all FTP clients have a structure pulled directly from Norton Commander.
The name may not be unique, but it promised full control over the computer – and it delivered.
PhoneGap was developed by Nitobi and was bought by Adobe in 2011. The name is descriptive of the very gap it bridges so nicely.
I’m surprised how few people actually knows the origin of the Google name. It is one of the most influential and powerful companies in the world – everyone knows about Google. At first blush, the name may seem like gibberish, but it originates in the name of the enormous number, 10^100, a ‘googol’.
The name was introduced in 1920 by 9-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew to the American mathematician Edvard Kasner. Mathematically the number is also known as ‘ten thousand sexdecillion’, and it is written ‘10 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000 000’. The number is used strictly to describe enormous quantities, such as the number of electrons in the universe or the combined number of possibilities in a game of chess. The number is actually greater than the number of elementary particles in the universe, which is estimated at 10^80.
Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin, came up with the name with his fellow graduate student, Sean Anderson. He was looking for a name to indicate the fact that their software algorithm was able to categorize enormous amounts of data. The alternative spelling is simply due to Brin not knowing that the spelling is ‘googol’, not ‘google’. Today they might have googled the word first.
Pinterest is that tool where you can find pictures of wedding dresses, cats, and colorful muffins.
Studies show that women are generally more critical and have higher expectations than men do, when it comes to services on the internet. 85% of Pinterest users are women. Pinterest is definitely doing something right.
The name is a contraction of ‘Pin’ and ‘Interest’. Precisely what you can do with this cloud-based service, save and display things you find interesting.
Some of you might remember the old DOS-based word processing program, WordPerfect. And precisely like CorelDraw, QuarkXPress, and Adobe Flash, this program actually still exists.
The program was cutting-edge at the time of its launch in 1979, offering many useful functions, such as spellcheck and the option of creating chapters. The developers came late to developing a Windows version, however, losing the race to Microsoft WinWord (which would later be known as Microsoft Word).
Today, many newer text programs go back to simpler form, such as Markdown, SublimeText, and Google Docs, while Microsoft Word is increasingly becoming a DTP program.
5. Pretty Good Privacy
Pretty Good Privacy (PGP) is the world’s first free open-source encryption software – Software that is really making it possible to send data and messages without anyone being able to decode and read the contents. PGP was founded and developed by Phil Zimmermann in 1991 – several years before the true proliferation of the internet.
At that time, the American government considered development and export of encryption software a military matter. For this reason, Zimmermann was sued by the United States Government, when he made the source code freely available. The case lasted three years, but was dropped in 1996. The commercial side of PGP has since been sold to the antivirus and security company Symantec.
The name is perfect in its understated, slightly cheeky, form. And fits its purpose to a T.
Workbench was the graphic user interface of the Amiga 500 computer. In contrast to most programs today, almost all software for the Amiga (games) must be started by sidestepping the graphic user interface in order to avoid excessive memory use.
However, graphic sketch programs and programming tools were written for Wordbench. The workbench symbolizes a platform you can work through to develop creative works. Exactly what made the Amiga with its huge demo-scene so famous later on.
In spite of its alleged wow factor, ‘Windows Vista’ was one of Microsoft’s biggest flops. Among other problems, it drained the battery twice as fast as previous versions.
‘Windows Mobile’ came to market much too late, and never really caught on with either developers or consumers.
The crisis is undeniable, and Microsoft is still at a loss about the future of their primary product. There is one thing, however, they should keep, and that’s the name. Programs and files are shown in rectangular fields known as windows on the graphic screen interface. Windows with various vistas, windows of opportunity.
The name is positive and explains in the best possible way the basic concept for Microsoft’s operating system. It just needs a little airing out.
Obviously, a new cutting-edge product like Oculus Rift – with expectations bordering on the religious on top of everything else – must have a unique and ceremonious name. ‘Oculus’ is Latin and means ‘eye’. The round shape, to which our gaze and our attention is always drawn first.
A name that commands respect and instills curiosity. The all-seeing Eye. Eye of the beholder. The Eye of Horus – Or the word for the round opening in the 2000-year-old Roman temple, the Pantheon.
In its early development, there were several other name suggestions, among them ‘StepN2theGAME’. Not quite as brilliant.
Apple obviously didn’t make up the word ‘Keynote’. The concept ‘Keynote Speaker’ means someone who conveys an important message. However, the word is so very closely associated with Apple’s many iconic product launches. It immediately brings to mind Steve Jobs’ masterful presentations in the dark in front of the hopeful audience.
The many slides on the big screens are just as minimalistic as Apple’s products. It’s not about techie features and endless integration options. It’s about getting the message across – about cutting out any excess.
Of course, Apple’s keynotes are created in the Keynote software application. Thus, it becomes the biggest kudos to their own program!
“It works like magic!”, as Steve Jobs was wont to say.