Google at 20


There was life before Google. I know that because I Googled it.

Google has become such an omnipresent force in contemporary living it’s hard to believe it was 20 year ago today that the domain name Google.com was first registered.

There were search engines before Google. Alta Vista, Yahoo, Excite, WebCrawler among them. What started as a class assignment for PhD candidates Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University changed the burgeoning computer industry and eventually the world. Page’s original title for the project was “Backrub.” Thank goodness the name didn’t stick or we’d all be grabbing our smartphones today saying, “Let me backrub that.” Google has become a verb in more languages than just English.

Like so many tech giants of the era, the company began in the garage of a friend’s Menlo Park, California house. Then it conquered the world, growing from a search engine to Google Plus, g-mail, Google News, and other platforms including You Tube. For the record, the name Google is misspelled. It’s actually Googol, which means a one followed by a hundred zeros. It was a happy error that will be lost to history, unless someone Google’s it.


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