Google - A bit of history
The first question most people have is, “What the
heck is a “Google?” It is a play on the word “googol,”
which is the mathematical figure 1 followed by 100 zeros. Depending on
the level of your love for math, this is either the greatest or lamest
name for a search engine. Regardless, the clever kids at Google have turned
it into a cultural standard.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin co-founded Google in January of 1996, then
known as BackRub. The boys were in the early twenties and classic computer
geeks. Sergey was born in Moscow, alum of the University of Michigan and
visiting Stanford. Larry was assigned to be his guide. During this visit,
they obviously hit it off or today nobody would give a hoot about linking
Although two men and the name “BackRub” may raise some questions,
the name actually referred to a method for producing search engine rankings.
Specifically, the BackRub search engine was designed to analyze the “back
links” to a site. Although BackRub developed a following with those
in the know, nothing much happened for a few years.
As with most new businesses, the boys needed some serious cash. The brass
at Yahoo was interested, but initially passed. Sun Microsystems, of all
companies, provided an answer. Andy Bechtolsheim was one of the founders
of Sun and, thus, had the necessary deep pockets. $100,000 later, the
new search engine company was on the way to stardom.
A New Name
As legend has it, BackRub became Google for a rather humorous reason.
Apparently, Bechtolsheim accidentally made the $100k check out to “Google,
Inc.” You can make your own guess as to which one of the boys said,
“Hey, I have an idea for a new name.” In September of 1998,
Google opened a small office in Menlo Park, California. The rest, as they
say, is history.
Today, Google is based in Mountain View, California. Google prefers email
communication, but you can get a live voice by calling (650) 623-4000.
If you really want to talk to them, refuse a charge from the company on
the credit card you use for Adwords. They will contact you pretty quickly!
The company went public in 2004 [Symbol: GOOG] and has a stock value
of around $250 per share. Larry and Sergey are sickeningly wealthy. One
can assume that Andy Bechtolsheim is also doing all right.
In the last year or so, Google has certainly received its fair share
of criticism. PageRank is almost useless in relation to ranking in search
results. At the time of this writing, PageRank hasn’t worked for
three days, which means a change, shuffle, dance or whatever you want
to call it is coming.
On the competition front, things are a bit murky. It seems a week doesn’t
go by without a patent lawsuit being filed against the company. MSN and
Yahoo have started to raise the level of competition and more will be
coming. Google’s reliance on AOL as a traffic source is also a bit
troubling given the continual loss of market share by the company that
nearly brought Time Warner down. Gmail is dogged by patent issues, not
to mention questions about violations of the privacy of users. All and
all, things are not as rosy compared to a few years ago, but they can
hardly be called bad.
Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to predicting if Google will
become just another search engine. Personally, I think it will, but not
because of any of the above. Instead, the evolution of the Internet suggests
there will be a next “big thing.” Who knows, maybe Google
will get a Grub [Grub.org] in its Nutch [Nutch.org].
|About the author
Halstatt Pires is with Marketing
Titan- an Internet marketing and advertising company comprised
of a search engine optimization specialist providing meta tag optimization
services and Internet marketing consultant providing internet marketing
solutions through integrated design and programming services.
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