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How Google Got the Name Google

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Google began life in January 1996, not as an internet search engine and online advertising corporation as it was destined to become, but as the thesis project of Larry Page, later joined in his endeavors by Sergey Brin, both PhD students at Stanford University, California.

The name 'Google' itself was derived from a misspelling of 'googol' (ten raised to the power of a hundred) but the original name for the search engine was BackRub', paying homage to the theory of the importance of back linking, or citation, which was the cornerstone of the project.

Page had hypothesized that if he could find a way to count and analyze the value of each back link on the web then a search engine using this qualitative data would necessarily yield more useful results than other engines which just counted keywords, Google's mission statement, to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful,' reflects this original, core aim.

The project was highly complex and ambitious and these factors drew in Sergey Brin who began working on the project with Page. They created an algorithm that encompassed the number of links to a particular site and also the number of links into each of the sites linked. This algorithm was named PageRank', after Page.

The verb 'Google,' was added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006 and Google has become integrated into society as a noun in its own right. The practice of searching for information on the web has come to be referred to simply as 'Googling', a tribute to the success and effectiveness of the project's aims.

Google has spawned various internet practices such as to Google yourself', a process of typing your own name into Google and seeing what comes up, on certain forums and on-line communities some innovative people post the names of friends they have lost contact with in the hope that these friends will Google themselves, find the post and make contact.

Another internet term that has been spawned is Google bomb' (also known as a link bomb'), this came about in the realms of net slang to describe the practice of attempting to get a large number of sites to link to a web-site using specific terms, usually with mischievous intentions, the result of such bombs can for example be that a derogatory word or phrase entered into Google will bring up a specific person's homepage.

Google stated in early 2007 via their official bog that they had created 'an algorithm that minimizes the impact of many Google bombs,' but whilst Google have publicly stated that they do not condone the practice of Google bombing it's likely that the extent to which their project has become so integral to the web and it's users overrides any annoyances that come with such broad territory.


TRIVIA: Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California is known as "the Googleplex", this is a further play on googol' as googolplex means equivalent to ten raised to the power of a googol.

Author: Stefanina Hill

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