Google is undeniably the most active internet search engine in the world, so active that the verb, “google,” was added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006. Now, “google,” has become a common generic word worldwide that means “to search the Internet.”
Larry Page and Sergey Brin-students at Stanford university who invented Google as a research project in March 1996 used a misspelling of “googol,” which refers to the number represented by a 1 followed by one-hundred zeros (10100)
The research project on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP) was aimed at developing the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library.” and was funded through the National Science Foundation among other federal agencies. In search for a dissertation theme, Larry Page considered—among other things—exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. His supervisor Terry Winograd encouraged him to pick this idea (which Larry Page later recalled as “the best advice I ever got”) and Page focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks to be valuable information about that page (with the role of citations in academic publishing in mind). In his research project, nicknamed “BackRub”, he was soon joined by Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford Ph.D. student supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Page’s web crawler began exploring the web in March 1996, setting out from Page’s own Stanford home page as its only starting point. To convert the backlink data that it gathered into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm. Analyzing BackRub’s output—which, for a given URL, consisted of a list of backlinks ranked by importance—it occurred to them that a search engine based on PageRank would produce better results than existing techniques (existing search engines at the time essentially ranked results according to how many times the search term appeared on a page).
Convinced that the pages with the most links to them from other highly relevant Web pages must be the most relevant pages associated with the search, Page and Brin tested their thesis as part of their studies, and laid the foundation for their search engine.
Originally the search engine used the Stanford website with the domain google.stanford.edu. The domain google.com was registered on September 15, 1997. They formally incorporated their company, Google Inc., on September 4, 1998 at a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California.
The Google search engine attracted a loyal following among the growing number of Internet users, who liked its simple design. While many of its dot-com rivals failed in the new Internet marketplace, Google quietly rose in stature while generating revenue. By the end of 1998, Google had an index of about 60 million pages.
At its peak in early 2004, Google handled upwards of 84.7% of all search requests on the World Wide Web through its website and through its partnerships with other Internet clients like Yahoo!, AOL, and CNN, although in February 2004, Yahoo! dropped its partnership with Google, providing an independent search engine of its own. Today, Google has become well known for its corporate culture and innovative, clean products, and has had a major impact on online culture.