Google Apps Plans Tool for Improving Startup Names

WebWorkerDaily has learned that a new service is being added to the Google Apps suite of business tools, which is designed to help entrepreneurs come up with names for their startups.

Google’s Averill Forrest told WWD that the tool was developed in response to the declining quality of names being used by web startups, a problem Stacey discussed over on GigaOM recently: “We’re seeing more and more sites that are good ideas, but which have terrible names. We’re not sure whether entrepreneurs just can’t come up with decent names, or whether the traditional ways that web names have been created — adding i’s and e’s to words, leaving out vowels, creating obscure acronyms, spelling things backwards, or using obscure top-level domain names — are running out of steam.”

Forrest thinks that the new service will be popular. ”We realize that a particular customer is not likely to use the service every day, like Gmail, but it makes sense for us to offer it for a couple of reasons. Google wants to position itself as providing indispensable services for entrepreneurs, and we already had the technology.”

The name suggestion tool will be offered as a stand-alone service available to all existing Google Apps Premier Edition customers, and as an additional option during the Google Apps signup process, which already includes an option to purchase a domain name. Once the new service goes live, users will be offered recommended names which can then be purchased.

According to Forrest, recommendations will be automatically generated using the same engine that Google uses to generate its CAPTCHAs. The service will also offer names based on pairs of words taken from the 1 Across and 1 Down answers in published crossword puzzles. “We think that the names generated this way will be euphonious,” Forrest says, “especially since using crossword puzzle answers beginning at the same square guarantees that the first letter of both words will be the same. Word pairs can be useful for other purposes, too; we’re thinking about repurposing this technology for sale to aspiring musicians who need band names.”

The service has not yet been given an official name, although it has been known by the codename Gibwab — which Forrest says was created using the tool itself. The feature will be rolled out sometime in the second quarter of 2010. Google is kindly offering WWD readers early access to a beta of the service.

What do you think of Google’s name suggestion tool?