How a typo gave Google its name


EIt's a world-changing word: 25 years ago, the course was set for "googling" to become a synonym for internet searches. It could have turned out differently. As the Stanford students Larry Page and Sergey Brin started developing a search engine in 1996, it was initially called Backrub. It was a playful nod to the seminal idea that hits are more relevant when they have more backlinks.

However, after just a few months, Page and Brin came to the conclusion that a successful search engine needed a catchier name. At times they favored “The Whatbox,” as well-known Silicon Valley journalist Steven Levy wrote in his book on the history of Google. However, on a September day in 1997, Page's roommate threw out the term "googol," the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. Page liked the word. According to legend, the roommate typed the misspelled "Google" into the search for available domain names. He was still free - and within a few hours was Google.com occupied by Page on September 15, 1997.

However, it then took almost a year until Google was registered as a company on September 4, 1998 – in order to be able to cash a check for $100,000 from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andreas von Bechtolsheim. The mission: to organize all information in the world and make it accessible to everyone. The credo, which is no longer mentioned: "Don't be evil". First the server ran from the student dorm, the first office was looking for Page and Brin befitting a garage in the heart of Silicon Valley. Her landlady, Susan Wojcicki, now runs the video subsidiary YouTube.

Google makes billions today

Page was the company's first CEO -- but investors weren't comfortable handing over the fast-growing business to two founders who weren't even 30. So in 2001 became the experienced manager Eric Schmidt brought to Google as a kind of "adult supervision". For ten years, until a mature page took over again, fortunes were controlled by a kind of "troika". Although Schmidt was the head of the group, the founders had the freedom, for example, to buy the start-up behind the Android smartphone system, which is now the market leader, without being asked, as he later recalled.

Google co-founders Larry Page (below) and Sergey Brin pose at Google's headquarters in Mountain View in 2004.


Google co-founders Larry Page (below) and Sergey Brin pose at Google's headquarters in Mountain View in 2004.
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Image: AP


Just as innovative as the search engine algorithm was Google's idea of ​​how to make money with it: with small ads in the vicinity of the hits - which match what the user is looking for. You only have to pay if the ad is clicked, and the exact price is determined in an auction process.



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