The Atlantic reported:
According to Arthur, just a few months [after the show was broadcast], all 60 members of a committee selected by the American Dialect Society voted to google 2002's most useful new word. Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary would soon note the coinage. By 2006, Google's lawyers — fearful of seeing the company's name brand watered down to the trademark mushiness of kleenex — wrote a post for the company blog outlining when and when not to google should be used.
And as UsVsTh3m points out, "Google as a company was four years old in 2002, and was already the largest search engine in the world. So in many ways it's quite surprising that this happened so late."