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20 years of Google: How the company got its name

In 1996 Page and Brin started experimenting with the homepage of Stanford, where both were studying.

twitter-logo BusinessToday.In   New Delhi     Last Updated: September 25, 2018  | 19:35 IST
20 years of Google: How the company got its name
PC: Reuters

In 1995 when Larry Page and Sergey Brin met for the first time little did they know that they were going to change the course of history in just about a year.  The technology of the web at that time was rudimentary - say, to look up the list of every page that links to another, one would need to check every other website on the net. While one could read the code to find out where a webpage links, one could only find out where it is linked from another page.

Larry Page's project, Backrub, sought to qualify these backlinks. However, it amounted to a mammoth task involving huge computing resources and complex mathematics, where he was helped by Sergey Brin.

In 1996 Page and Brin started experimenting with the homepage of Stanford, where both were studying. Both soon came up with their breakthrough idea - the PageRank algorithm, as mentioned in a report in The Guardian.

What the algorithm did was give more weight to links that came from more authoritative pages. The idea was similar to an academic paper - the more backlinks a site had, the more it was likely to be a good source.

Moreover, this allowed Page and Brin to rank search results not only by keywords but by credibility. Backrub got better as the web expanded.

In August 1996, Backrub became Google - a play on the term googol. Googol denotes the large number of 10 to the power of 100. In decimation, it is written as the digit 1, followed by a 100 zeroes. Now, when you search for anything, Google will offer you multiple results highlighted in the end of the page with multiple 'O's. The more the number of search results, the more the Os in Google.

The first version of Google appeared on the Stanford site. The system consumed so much bandwidth that it would take down the whole of Stanford's internet connection regularly but would still allow users to search all of 24 million pages it had stored in its database.

(Edited by Anwesha Madhukalya)

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