Where did the baby name Ozlo come from in 2016?


The curious name Ozlo debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 2016, stuck around for one more year, then disappeared again:

  • 2019: unlisted
  • 2018: unlisted
  • 2017: 6 baby boys named Ozlo
  • 2016: 5 baby boys named Ozlo [debut]
  • 2015: unlisted
  • 2014: unlisted

What was the influence?

A short-lived artificial intelligence startup called Ozlo.

The company was founded in late 2013, but it didn’t start making headlines until October of 2016, when the Ozlo personal assistant app was launched.

Ozlo logo

The face of the app was a wide-eyed, light blue creature named Ozlo. Initially he helped users find restaurants and recipes, but, as time went on, he moved beyond food and learned to talk about other topics (like movies and weather).

One reporter, recounting a discussion with Ozlo’s CEO, said: “[T]he two of us immediately had a nice laugh about the repetitive female names for assistants in the marketplace right now — Ozlo, by name alone, is already something different.”

Ozlo was also different from the “female” personal assistants (Alexa, Cortana, Siri, and Viv) in that it performed searches “from a position of information neutrality” — that is, it extracted information from many competing sources, as opposed to a handful of preferred sources.

But the startup was acquired by Facebook in July of 2017, and the Ozlo app — less than a year after being introduced — was shuttered as part of the deal.

If the company had remained independent, do you think the baby name Ozlo would have continued popping up in the data?

Sources: Introducing Ozlo by Charles Jolley, Ozlo Week 1 by Charles Jolley, Ozlo, the Assistant That Works for You, Launches on iOS and Web, Ozlo AI assistant is the new underdog filling the void left by Viv, Facebook buys Ozlo to boost its conversational AI efforts, Ozlo – Cruchbase Profile

(h/t Becca)

7 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Ozlo come from in 2016?

  1. I’d never heard of the name, but I’m not really tech savvy. I
    I was thinking it was a different spelling of Oslo (Norway) In my town we said it like OO-shloo (in Oslo they say it OO-sloo)
    But Was thinking a mother saying ‘AH-zloh’
    Unique and I like it. I have a friend named ‘Scotlund’ I’ve heard of girls with the name Ireland (first name and Kathy Ireland)So city names are very interesting for first names.

  2. I, too, would have thought it was just a different spelling of Oslo. Although it might be a more offbeat choice, there are enough people named Paris, London, Brooklyn, etc that someone naming their child Oslo after the city isn’t too far-fetched.

    If the tech company was still around I do think we’d see at least a few more kids named Ozlo. Personally, I think it’s better suited to cats.

  3. With a similar sound and feel to more common (although not commonly used) names such as Cosmo and Lazlo, Ozlo might have caught on if Facebook hadn’t deep-sixed it. The O ending also could have endeared Ozlo to people who like the names Theo, Leo, Milo, Arlo, Hugo, Juno, Cleo, Margo, etc.

  4. I tweeted the founders of Ozlo earlier today, to tell them about the baby name data and to ask if there was a story behind “Ozlo.” They responded! Here’s what they said:

    Charles Jolley: “That’s cool! [Dave Baggeroer] and his team came up with it. We had a lot of candidates and like Oslo but people tended to mispronounce it. Ozlo is obvious[ly] cuter and fun to say”

    Michael Hanson: “Yes, my memory is that we wanted it to be short, fun, easy to remember, and not already in use anywhere.”

    Charles Jolley: “Also two syllables and easy to pronounce in many language/accents”

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