AH 2015 A New Google LOGO-4

Search Giant Google Was Once Known As BackRub

October 5, 2015 - Written By Kishalaya Kundu

Google’s recent restructuring has been widely covered by not just the tech media, but also by the mainstream media, as was to be expected. The internet giant now has a holding company called Alphabet Inc. which now incorporates within itself, various subsidiaries, the largest of which is of course, Google Inc. which continues to be in charge of Alphabet’s most valuable properties – search, YouTube and Android. Alphabet however, is also the parent company to Calico, Google X, Google Fiber, Nest Labs and a number of other smaller companies. Post restructuring, co-founder Larry Page has taken over as the CEO of Alphabet with Sergey Brin serving as the company’s President. Sundar Pichai, the erstwhile chief of Android, has now taken over as the new CEO of Google Inc. upon the completion of the restructuring process on October 2, 2015.

While Google as we knew it has now changed over to Alphabet, this wasn’t the first time the Stanford University grads have changed the name of the company they’ve co-founded. It is a fairly widely known fact within tech circles that the search engine was originally named ‘BackRub’ by Messrs Page and Brin back in their Stanford days during the mid-nineties, when the service used to run off of Stanford University servers. That was until it started expanding so rapidly, that it started eating up way too much bandwidth, meaning the company had to now fend for itself, and procure its own infrastructure. Which it of course did, in due course. As for the name BackRub, it was so called because the new search engine analyzed backlinks on sites to gain an understanding of a site’s importance on the web, and how its content relates to that of other websites on the internet.

The offbeat nomenclature is yet another example for the propensity of Google’s co-founders to play on words, something that has only grown stronger and more nuanced with time. “Google” as a name was reportedly suggested by a fellow Stanford undergraduate named Sean Anderson, according to a revelation by Stanford’s David Koller. Actually, to be precise, Mr. Anderson is said to have originally suggested googolplex, which is ten raised to the power of googol, which itself, is ten raised to the power of one hundred! Larry Page shortened it down to googol, but Anderson, while checking the availability of the ‘googol.com’ domain name, mistakenly put in ‘google.com’. Messers Page and Brin liked that even better, and thus was born the search engine that would revolutionize the way people search for information of the internet. Even today, Google’s corporate headquarters at 1600 Ampitheatre Parkway in Mountain View, California is called the Googleplex as an homage to the origins of the company’s name.