How Did Google Start?

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In 1995, two computer science students from Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, began to work on a computer program called Backrub, a search engine that used backlink analysis to track and record data from the Internet. Backrub’s crown jewel was a data collection system known as PageRank, which ranked websites by calculating the number of pages mingled with the relevance of links to the original website. 

The world’s most powerful search engine at the time was launched on Stanford’s private network in August 1996, becoming more precise and useful as the World Wide Web continued to grow, and the two, along with Brin, renamed their company “Googol” (one followed by 100 and zero).

In 1998, Google, the unit now owned by the parent company Alphabet Inc., campus officials asked them to find a real office after Stanford’s IT department complained that they were sucking up the bandwidth of universities.

Google Inc. began a rise to the top of the Internet search pyramid when it was launched in 1999, the same year Page and Bryn opened the first office in Menlo Park, CA.

Key facts

  • Google handles more than 70 percent of the world’s online searches, placing search engines at the centre of most Internet user experiences.
  • Rajeev Motwani and Terry Winograd, co-authors of the founders “first paper on Google, which described PageRank as the first prototype for a better system for analyzing web-site relationships, were published in 1998.
  • Today, Google, Inc. is a multinational American technology company specializing in Internet services and products such as online advertising technology, search engines, cloud computing, software, and hardware.    

About the author

Pieter Borremans

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