A new startup called “googol”

Larry Page and Sergey Brin, by Graziano Origa
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin, by Graziano Origa

Post Title: Sergey Brin and Larry Page

Post Date: August 7, 2014

Sergey Brin and Larry Page are relatively new players on the computer-industry playing field. They both come from academic families, and they were both Ph.D. candidates at Stanford University when they founded Google in September 1998.

In the computer industry, Stanford University has a reputation as a training ground for alumni who eventually create well-known tech companies. Two of these distinguished alumni are Jerry Yang and David Filo, the founders of Yahoo! They are germane to this discussion because both Brin and Page studied the Yahoo! search technology, seeking to build a better search engine of their own.

Page figured out a way to determine the importance and significance of a website by determining how many links point back to it. If a website had 200 links pointing to it, then it would be a more important website than one that had, say, only 5 links pointing to it. The search engine would then rank its search results based on this information. The two algorithms that did this were called BackRub and PageRank, respectively. These algorithms, a rudimentary version of what was to become Google, produced better results than the other search engines of the day: Yahoo!, Alta Vista, and Excite.

When they realized that starting a company might be necessary in order to pay for the hardware resources used by their search engine, Brin and Page were referred by David Cheriton, a Stanford faculty advisor, to Andy Bechtolsheim, who was not only active in early-stage investments, but also a founder of Sun Microsystems.

After meeting with Bechtolsheim, Brin and Page had a check for $100,000 to create a start-up company. But it wasn’t until early 1999, when the venture capitalists John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) and Michael Moritz (Sequoia Capital) invested $12.5 million each in Google, Inc., that people in Silicon Valley took notice.

Page and Brin originally intended to use the word “googol” for the name of their startup, dot-com company because their search algorithms involved sifting through a large number of hypertext links between web pages; and the larger the worldwide web became, the more links there would be. The company name Google is an unintentional misspelling of the word googol, which is the number 10 raised to the 100th power (that is, 1 followed by 100 zeroes).

Google search has become so prevalent in society today that the word “google” is now also used as a verb. Google is successful because its search engine delivers relevant search results when mining data on the internet. Their search engine sifts through the myriad of information on the entire web, organizes it, prioritizes it, and presents it in a simple and understandable way to the masses. Quickly and efficiently.

That Brin and Page created a superior search engine is without a doubt. But how did they actually make any money out of search technology? The answer: it used a new advertising model specifically tailored to cyberspace: paid search. The search-related advertising model that Google used is similar to a paradigm first conceptualized by Bill Gross, a business entrepreneur. In fact, in early 2002, Overture.com (formerly GoTo.com), one of Gross’s companies, sued Google for using AdWords — Google’s own pay-per-click algorithm — alleging infringement upon Overture’s search-related patent. Overture dropped the lawsuit when Google paid an out-of-court settlement. But much to the chagrin of Overture.com, Google still got the de facto credit for creating the pay-per-click advertising paradigm in the search industry.

Google was so successful that it survived the dot-com bust of the late-1990s and early-2000s. (Other survivors of the dot-com bust: Amazon.com and eBay.com.)

Title: All-Stars of Modern Computing | Address: computingallstars.blogspot.com

Author: Richard Vega | From: National City | Blogging since: May 2014

[Posts edited for length]

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