Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Secret meaning behind ‘Google’s name leaves internet users shocked

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Did they Google it?

Google might be one of the most popular search engines on earth, but many people are just discovering how it got its unusual name.

The title’s etymology has come to light via a resurfaced post on the forum platform Quora, in which a user inquired: “Is Google an acronym?”

This prompted a range of theories regarding the name origins of the company, which was founded by computer scientists Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998 while they were PhD students at Stanford University.

Some incorrectly theorized that Google stands for the “Global Organization of Oriented Group Language of Earth.”

Larry Page (L) and Sergey Brin (R), the co-founders of Google, at a press event where Google and T-Mobile announced the first Android powered cellphone, the T-Mobile G1. Corbis via Getty Images

However, as many astute users pointed out, the iconic blue, red, yellow and green letters are not an abbreviation but rather a play on the word “Googol.” For the uninitiated, that’s arithmetic lexicon for 10 raised to the power of 100 or 1 with 100 zeroes behind it — an almost inconceivably huge number.

Interestingly, this term was coined in 1920 by Milton Sirotta, the 9-year-old nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, who frequently referenced the figure in his 1940 book “Mathematics and the Imagination.”

The boy’s rationale was that such a silly quantity deserved an equally silly name.

When Larry Page and co were brainstorming the title of the company, someone suggested calling it Googol, whereupon the tech honcho asked his friend if that domain was available.

A general view of the NYC headquarters of Google.
Some incorrectly theorized that Google stands for the “Global Organization of Oriented Group Language of Earth.” Christopher Sadowski

However, the pal apparently misspelled the word as “Google,” which Page decided he preferred and Google Inc. was born.

In other words, one of the most powerful search engines on earth was named — somewhat fittingly — after a typo in a search bar.

Silliness notwithstanding, Google is perhaps imminently preferable to label that Page and Brin almost chose.

The duo had originally planned to dub the omnipresent search engine “Backrub” because the program used backlinks to search.

As All That’s Interesting so succinctly put it, “if you’re glad you can ‘Google’ something instead of “BackRubbing” it, you can thank a typo, an incredibly large number, and a nine-year-old boy.”

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