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Google – a story about a garage and a 1 with many zeros

In the world there are some companies whose names almost everyone knows. These include Apple and Microsoft, for example, but also the search engine giant Google. Google was founded back in 1998, but how did it become a global corporation?

Did you used to “altavister” or “lycost”? If you are older than 25 and already had Internet access back then, most certainly. These terms mean nothing to you? They don’t even exist. However, today we all know the term “googling” as a synonym for “searching something on the Internet”. The first known search engines in the 1990s were called AltaVista and Lycos. However, it was not until Google that it developed into a functioning business model, although the story begins in a garage.

It was in this garage in 1996 that the two computer science students Larry Page and Sergey Brin tinkered with the idea of putting a completely new type of search engine on the Internet. The first version of their search engine is called BackRub. A short time later, the two students change the name to Google.

Why Google? The name is derived from the mathematical term “googol”. This refers to a 1 with 100 zeros. Mathematically correct, this number is actually called “ten sexdecillions” or “sedecillions” for short. However, the American mathematician Edward Kasner found this name too unwieldy. Therefore, in 1938, he asked his nine-year-old nephew what he would call such a number. The nephew found “googol” quite suitable. But that’s just a side note.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin want to revolutionize the search for websites. At the heart of all the considerations of the two Internet pioneers is a completely new search method: the Page Rank method, named after its inventor Larry Page.

A great idea conquers the world

With the Page Rank method, the importance of a website is not primarily evaluated according to its content, but according to how often other, thematically similar websites link to a page. This idea or evaluation method still characterizes Google today and has been refined and adapted over the years.

The actual founding of “Google Inc.” begins with a ten-minute presentation to Sun Microsystems co-founder Andreas von Bechtolsheim. The investor is visibly impressed by the two students’ idea. Without thinking twice, he writes Larry Page and Sergey Brin a check for $100,000.

Unfortunately, Andreas von Bechtolsheim enters “Google Inc.” as the check recipient. At this point, however, the company does not yet exist. In order to cash the check, the two computer science students found the company “Google Inc.” on September 4, 1998.

Keep it simple

In February 1999, Google opens its first office in Palo Alto, California. The number of daily search queries quickly rises to 500,000, and the popularity of the new search engine grows rapidly. In 2000, the Google index lists over one billion pages. The new company has thus overtaken its competitors within a very short time and rises to become the leading search engine.

Google’s success also has something to do with its simple appearance and ease of use. Other search engines deliver similarly good results to Google. However, many competitors overload their search service and build entire web portals.

Today, web portals are nothing unusual. In the early 2000s, however, Internet connections were still very slow. Back then, speed made Google the winner. The site does not need a lot of graphical bells and whistles and therefore appears faster on the computer monitor.

Read also: This is what popular websites used to look like

Google is now a publicly traded company and one of the most important companies in the world. We all use one of Google’s many services every day. Due to the data collection frenzy, there is of course also a lot of criticism of Alphabet, as the parent company has been called since 2015. However, can you still imagine a world without Google?


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