The two Stanford students didn’t like each other. In fact, they each considered the other “obnoxious.” However, after several arguments and a bit of time, Larry Page and Sergey Brin found that their differing personalities were complementary as they worked toward a mutual goal: to create a better way to search the Internet.
They began their collaboration in 1996 with a project called, Backrub, which was an investigational tool to see how sites linked back to other pages. Soon, the two realized that enabling people to better discover webpages with additional incoming links from credible sites would be an innovative way to search the ever-growing web.
In 1997, the naming scheme they ultimately landed on was Google. It was a play on the word “googol, ” a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. It reflected their mission to organize the almost infinite amount of information on the World Wide Web. It also serves as a reminder that they have bigger brains than the rest of us. Use googol in a meaningful sentence, we dare you.
In late 1998, PC Magazine proclaimed that Google “has an uncanny knack for returning extremely relevant results” and placed them within the Top 100 Web Sites for 1998.
In April of 2000, the search company unveiled MentalPlex: the ability for Google to read your mind as you imagine the search results you are looking for. And so it began: Google’s annual foray into April Fool’s Day hoaxes.
Largely through word-of-mouth, the search engine attracted a loyal following in the 2000’s within the growing crowd of Internet users. Many found their simplistic design appealing. By mid-2000, Google had found its way into our everyday lexicon. Google became a verb. It finally gained street cred when Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary denoted it as, “to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet.” It is now commonplace to refer to any web search with the word, Google. As in, “Did you Google it?” It certainly has a better ring to it than their earlier name. Can you imagine asking, “Did you Backrub it?”
Google continued its exploration into the Internet with Gmail, a free, web-based email server; Google Earth, an online satellite image service; and Google Maps, a related mapping service. Eventually they created application, business and presentation software—Google Docs. Then came an operating system—Google Chrome—and the acquisition of a mobile operating system, Android. Their semi-secret research and development facility, Google X, has created Google Glass (love it or hate it, it was an innovation) and is the lab that began the development of Google’s self-driving car. There is little this company hasn’t tried.
Some think Google is spreading itself too thin. In fact, Steve Jobs once said, “You guys are doing too much.” Brin and Page’s opinion on the matter? “We try to invest…in the places where we see a good fit for our company. But that could be many, many bets, and only a few of them need to pay off.”
As of May 2016, Google’s brand value has reached $82.5 billion. It employs over 50, 000 people, is considered #2 on Forbes’ America’s Best Employers list, and controls 65 percent of Search.
Time hasn’t slowed Google’s passion for innovation. Its accomplishments are many, yet Brin and Page are still on the search for the next big thing. Investing in Artificial Intelligence; Brin expects “that someday, we will be able to make machines that can reason, think, and do things better than we can.”
Considering their success, perhaps it’s best to mentally prepare yourselves for the day Google ushers in the robot overlords.
Try It: Google Poetry
Google has remained the advance guard in technological development. Their strategies are so unconventional, they’ve earned the nickname “The Chocolate Factory”— a nod to the quirky and peculiar empire in Roald Dahl’s book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. How has the pioneering approach to technology and the web touched the lives of people around the world? What can we learn from their business approach? Create a poem about Google. Or use your creativity (with clever Google queries) and utilize the search engine results to write a poem with!
Thanks to everyone who participate in last week’s poetry prompt. Here is part of a poem from Donna we enjoyed:
Put the paint to rest in a forgotten room
and get up in the morning ahead of the world.
Ask the paint “what now?” and listen quietly
for as long as it takes.
—by Donna Falcone
Photo by Mike Beales. Creative Commons via Flickr.
How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.
“How to Write a Poem is a classroom must-have.”
—Callie Feyen, English Teacher, Maryland