The origins of the search engine juggernaut known as Google can be traced back to two men: Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Page and Brin met in the mid 1990s while both attended Stanford University. At the time they met, Page was only 22 years old and Brin was 21 [source: Google History].
The two computer science graduate students started working together on a search engine -- its name was Backrub. Page's interest in the workings of the Internet and Brin's strong computer and mathematics skills led to their collaborative creation of an automated Web program called a crawler, which analyzes how Web sites link together. This technology allowed Page and Brin to rank any given Web site based on the importance of other pages linking to it.
As their crawlers proved widely successful, they took up more bandwidth on the college's servers than the college had expected. The two students dropped out of Stanford and set out to create something even more ambitious -- a search engine that we now know as Google.
The name Google comes from a brainstorming session held by Page and Brin and is a derivative of the word "googol," a mathematical terms that stands for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. The ambitious entrepreneurs felt it represented their mission to organize the seemingly endless amount of information that was appearing on the World Wide Web. They were onto a real need: In July 2011, there were more than 19.79 billion indexed pages on the World Wide Web [source: WorldWideWebSize.com]. It was reported in June 2010 that Google was getting more than 9 percent of all Web traffic [source: Mashable].
Still, with all of the success, Page and Brin still were working out of a garage in Menlo Park, Calif., in 1998. With funding from Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, they were able to file for incorporation that year and hire their first employee, another computer science graduate student from Stanford. They outgrew their garage office and jumped to eight employees in only about six months. The company's growth was steady and strong from that point on. Among some of Google's milestones were the acquisition of YouTube in October 2006, the addition of Google Images as a search option panel in July 2009 and the 2010 release of Google Docs, a cloud computing service.
The company says it continues to refine its search algorithms [source: Google History].
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