www.whyville.net Jan 30, 2011 Weekly Issue

Guest Writer

Google: A History

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We all use it. When you have an unanswered question, it's probably the first thing you think of, the first thing you go to. I know it is for me. It's one of the world's largest databases on the web; it covers practically everything! Search anything, and it's likely to give you the answers you need, the video you want, the website you've been looking for, or the handbag you saw some woman carrying around . . .

I'm talking about Google. Almost everyone around the world uses it, or something like it. We use it all the time to answer our questions, to shop online, etc. But, do we ever wonder who created Google, and when? Or why? I decided to find out for myself. By Googling it, of course!

Google was started in 1996 by two Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, as a research project. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project, or the SDLP for short. Their goal was, "to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal library". The project was funded by several federal agencies. At first, the websites domain was at Stanford's website, google.stanford.edu, and the domain title google.com was not registered until late 1997. The company itself, Google Inc., was not established until late 1998.

But where did Google get its' strange name? According to Wikipedia, "Google" is a misspelling of "Googol", a number with one hundred zeros represented by a one. The word "Google" became so prolific and well-used that in 2006, it was added to Merrian-Webster's dictionary with the following definition: to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.

By 1999, Google had an astounding index of over 60 million pages. People called it "the future of the web", saying it was far superior to other search engines, such as Yahoo! and Excite.com, which they called "overloaded".

Google earned many of its' loyal followers through its' simple, uncluttered page design. While Google had ads, like other search engines, their ads were centered on the keywords that a user typed into the search engine. They arranged the ads so that the page wasn't overwhelmed with ads, or cluttered.

By early 2004, it was estimated that Google handled 84.7% of the world's searches through search engine and it's clients, like Yahoo! and AOL. However, Yahoo! later dropped their partnership with Google, preferring to start a search engine of their own. While this cost them market share, it also helped to define and distinguish Google as a unique, solo search engine. The phrase "to Google" is known in many languages; at first as a slang phrase, now as a standard word.

As you can see, Google has become an extremely prolific and much-loved (and used) search engine around the world. Google Inc. has several industries and/or websites and services including Google.org, Google Earth, Google Voice, Google Translate, Google Labs, and also owns other popular websites such as YouTube, and is partnered with Sun Microsystems and AOL.

So, now I know where my favorite search engine came from! I thought it was interesting to learn how Google had made itself so prolific, and has rooted itself in other websites and companies. This is iBeBekah, probably off to Google other interesting things . . .

Author's Note: Sources:


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