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Throughout the 1990s, as the Internet grew from a fairly obscure governmental and scientific communication tool to a commercialized virtual world marketplace and information-entertainment realm, users were challenged with the task of finding good information or finding interesting and useful websites. Initial search engines helped people find what they were looking for, but left most users dissatisfied or frustrated. Some services, such as Yahoo, even had teams of employees who would explore the growing internet and create lists of recommended web sites. Advertising on the internet was often irritatingly ugly and obtrusive, and the overall web surfing experience could be bewildering. The Google search engine and Google standards for advertising transformed the Internet in the first years of the new millennium, making it far easier for people to find what they were looking for on the internet.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the Google search engine company in September, 1998. They started their business in a sublet garage with their friend. The idea of developing a better internet search engine came to Page and Brin while they were doctoral students in the computer science department at Stanford University. Google has its roots in a school research project Page and Brin worked together on called BackRub. This technology collected information about the webpage connections and connection use records from the internet. The more frequently viewed webpages would be automatically listed earlier in a list of pages matching a search query. This method of search ranking was named after Larry Page, and called “PageRank”.

The name of the company Google came from the idea of a mathematical term Googol. It is a number one with a hundred zeros after it, a huge number. This also reflects the main task of Google, which is to sort through a huge amount of information. Google’s success in organizing a large information search system has been associated with a rapid growth of internet industries. As Google became better at helping people find information, the quantity of information available online rapidly grew.

Larry Page has a famous phrase about Google’s view of problems: “Having a healthy disregard for the impossible.” This view encourages people to try something which others would not dare try, and Google has indeed been audacious and ambitious, astonishing people with its attempts to digitize books and make them available everywhere, or make the whole planet available for view through Google Earth. Google offers services including: e-mail, maps, web searches, image storage and sharing, YouTube video sharing, toolbars , and many other services. The company profits from its advertisers.

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This work by Eric & Chun-Chih Hadley-Ives is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.