You may know part of the the story of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of Google. They met on a tour of Stanford, when Brin was showing prospective grad student Page around. While they didn’t agree on anything at first, they eventually became friends and business partners and invented Google. Except there was a step before Google – Backrub.
From Backrub to Google
According to Google’s own page on their history, the men wanted to build “a search engine that used links to determine the importance of individual pages on the World Wide Web. They called this search engine Backrub.”
So…eww. Can you imagine saying, “I don’t know, I’ll need to backrub that information?”
We don’t know the precise details about why they changed the name. But we know how the word Google came to be.
“The name was a play on the mathematical expression for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros and aptly reflected Larry and Sergey’s mission ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.'”
Google was a big deal in the academic community at first. Then it caught the eye of Silicon Valley investors in the late 90s.
“In August 1998, Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim wrote Larry and Sergey a check for $100,000, and Google Inc. was officially born. With this investment, the newly incorporated team made the upgrade from the dorms to their first office: a garage in suburban Menlo Park, California, owned by Susan Wojcicki (employee #16 and now CEO of YouTube). Clunky desktop computers, a ping pong table, and bright blue carpet set the scene for those early days and late nights.”
Keeping things useful but unconventional was the duos brand style. Do you remember the first Google Doodle in 1998? It was a stick figure inside the logo telling everyone the staff was off-site attending Burning Man.
How about their motto? “Don’t be evil.”
In any case, things are now a far cry from the days of Backrub. — WTF fun facts