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What was Google originally named? – From search engine to tech giant

A look back at what could have been for an industy giant
Last Updated on December 1, 2023
What was Google originally named
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Google, like most tech giants in this day and age, wasn’t always a household name. In fact, cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn’t start out with the Google moniker, although it’s a great name.

Google is actually a play on the word ‘Googol’, a number equal to 10 to the 100th power. Long story short, it’s a ridiculously long number, something that Google monopolized when it revolutionized the search engine market back in 1998.

How Google originally looked. Credit: Quora

Today, Google handles more than 70% of the internets search traffic, and there’s a good reason why the Californian tech firm is a major authority, backlinking. Think back to school/college/university, any paper or piece of research needed to be credited and referenced correctly. This, in turn, added credibility to the paper a student would write or read from another source.

Backlinking is a website’s take on referencing and crediting. These days, people won’t (or shouldn’t) take a piece of news seriously unless there’s a linked source, regardless of the subject. This is where Larry Page and Sergey Brin saw a gap in how the internet was navigated.

Rather than search for a key headline or word, which more often than not brought up anything but relevant information, why not look at how many backlinks a website has. This would in turn represent how much authority said site or page had regarding the relevant search, which would provide accurate search results.

What was Google originally named?

This idea took flight sooner rather than later, leading to the original version of Google, known as BackRub, taking up all of Stanford’s bandwidth. Although it was an amazing feat to take down such a large internet network at the time considering the internets infancy, why BackRub?

Google was originally named Backrub! Credit: AlyChiTech

Remember when we covered how Google works today? Well, backlink checking and converting websites into relevant search results was the plan back then too. Backlinking, BackRub, Get it? Anyway, this winning formula soon took Page and Brin out of a Stanford dorm room and into Google HQ in Mountain View, California.

Google is one of Silicon Valleys’ biggest titans alongside Apple, IBM, and Microsoft both at its inception and even more so today. Page and Brin however didn’t remain in the picture and chose to step away from the company, but that’s didn’t slow it down.

Growing from a developer first to a software and hardware company, Google still keeps its search engine at the core of its business. In fact, they’d be silly not to, Google search makes its money through its incredible ad revenue, which provided the majority of revenue from its parent company Alphabet back in 2016.

For more information on Google’s handheld operating system Android alongside some great how-to guides, make sure to visit and bookmark our Android hub. 

Christian 'Reggie' Waits' is a contributor to PC Guide, having written a wide array of how to and buying guide content.