Tuesday, July 16, 2024

How Jennifer Lopez inspired a Google product

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Google Images is great for a variety of tasks, from looking at cool birds to trying to determine which allergic reaction you’re having now. But did you know the catalyst for this tool was Jennifer Lopez?

The actress/musician famously wore a revealing green Versace dress to the 2000 Grammys, resulting in the “most popular search query we had ever seen,” ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt said.

Google, then two years old, was a text-based search engine with plans to add an image component, but the demand to see images of JLo showed the company what a priority that feature was.

Google enlisted engineer Huican Zhu and project manager Susan Wojcicki (now-former CEO of YouTube) to build it, and had it launched by July 2001. In its first year, Google Images managed to index ~250m images.

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