(Google, Mountain View, CA, www.google.com) The largest Web search engine and one of the most influential companies in the online world. In addition to search, Google offers a huge variety of Web-based software for individuals and companies that range from office applications to multimedia to communications and social networking. See Google applications.|
Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Stanford University students. In 1996, they developed their "BackRub" search engine, named after its unique page ranking method (explained below). With investments from Sun founder Andy Bechtolsheim and others, the company was founded in September 1998, and BackRub was launched as the Google search engine in 1999.
Google acquired the Usenet discussion groups from Deja.com in 2001 and renamed them Google Groups. In 2006, Google surprised everyone by acquiring YouTube, the most popular video sharing site on the Web. See Usenet, Deja.com and YouTube.
The name Google was chosen to represent the gigantic amount of material available on the Web. It comes from "googol;" the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. The name became a verb. To Google something means to search the Web for it. See googol.
The Clean Screen
From the start, Google set itself apart from the other search sites. Instead of its home page laden with graphics that took a long time to download in the days of analog modems, the Google home page contained only a logo and search box. The page downloaded quickly, and users felt they were getting a faster result even before they started searching. Even today, Google's home page is sparse: no news, no ads; only a handful of text links to its huge number of services and applications.
Behind Google's home page lies a sophisticated search engine. The company streamlines all of its several hundred thousand PCs to provide the most search engine power with the least amount of energy and heat dissipation. Using its own self-healing software, Google's Web indexes are mirrored around the globe, and any PC can fail without disruption.
PageRank and Backlinks - A Different Approach
Called "PageRank," Google introduced a unique concept of determining which pages rank the highest in the results list. When you do a Google search, the pages with the most links pointing to them from other sites, known as "backlinks," are placed higher up in the list because they are considered more popular and thus more relevant. In addition, the sites with the backlinks are themselves analyzed for backlinks to determine how popular they are. For example, a site might rank higher if 50 very popular sites link to it rather than 500 unpopular sites. See Google applications, Google Doodle, Google bomb and Googleplex.