Larry Page Almost Sold Google for Pennies on the Dollar of What it's Worth Today

The trials and tribulations of an up-and-coming tech start-up always make for an interesting tale, especially when, by the the end of the story, said startup turns out to be Google, and the story's main character is none other than Larry Page. For example, did you know that, in 1996 -- before it was called Google -- Page's vision for a way to "organize the Internet" actually started out as a search engine called "BackRub"? Also, Page almost sold the company to an Internet portal called Excite for far less than the company is worth today. In fact, the only reason he didn't sell the search engine back then: it was too effective for Excite's liking.

According to Business Insider, Page tried to sell BackRub to Excite in January 1997 for $1.6 million -- $600k in cash, $700k in stock and $300k for Stanford -- under the pretenses that BackRub would bolster Excite's ad revenue by $47 million over a year and bring in an additional 10% in traffic for the portal. Page also offered to work at Excite for seven months before heading back to Stanford.

George Bell, Excite's CEO, believed that BackRub would hurt Excite's advertising business, rather than help. In his eyes, users would be sent off the site too quickly because of BackRub's effectiveness. The perfect search engine, in Bell's opinion, was one that was only 80% as good as those of the competition. His counteroffer to Page: $750k. As we all know from the way history played out, that counteroffer was obviously not accepted, and Larry Page went on to become CEO of the 5th most valuable brand in the world, under the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Coca-Cola and IBM. It's safe to say Page was wise to hold out when he did.

Oh, and for those wondering: Google is now worth a cool $358 BILLION (yes, that's billion with a b).

It's hard to imagine how things might have played out if BackRub never evolved into Google. There would be no Android -- at least not in the state we know it -- and many other services we've grown so reliant upon might never have come into existence. Luckily for us, things are they way they are and life is Googley.

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About the Author

Tony Simons

Tony is a father and recent college graduate. He has a long-standing fetish for technology, and is especially fond of all things Googley. He can usually be found lurking in the threads of your favorite Android development forums.