The History of Google, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin

I am sure that those “enjoyable” parts will put a smile on your face, but first I will write a couple of sentences in an informative way. It’s kind of a rule when you write a blog post with a title that includes; H is for history.

Once upon a time, a few amazing things were happening. For example, ‘Friends’ was being filmed and Central Perk and soon became the coolest coffee shop in the world. JanSport was the only acceptable backpack for school. Everyone was talking about Destiny’s Child, not Beyoncé. We were watching Pokémon on TV and playing with Pokémon Pogs, instead of watching on YouTube or playing Pokémon Go…

Around that time there were two guys, Larry Page and Sergey Brin who both were in San Francisco (if you are looking for the British singer, see Larry Page.) When Larry Page had been accepted to Stanford University but hadn’t decided whether to attend or not, Sergey Brin voluntarily guided potential first-yearers around. People were describing the summer of 1995 like “It was hot, dry and sunny!” and, they met in that “hot, dry and sunny” summer!

It was not love at first sight, but Larry Page and Sergey Brin found their common points and came together.

While A History of Google Had Started to Be Written, The Future for Google Was Being Designed in A Garage

It’s not always easy-peasy to build a history, and it wasn’t easy to build a history for Google.

After Larry Page decided to study at Stanford University, he selected an American professor of computer science and “human-computer” interaction pioneer Terry Winograd as his advisers. Larry was working on a research project involving web search because he was thinking that the Web was very interesting for its mathematical characteristics. In his humble opinion, computer scientists love graphs and considering his background, it was very obvious that Page loved graphs, too. Page thought The World Wide Web may have been the largest graph that was built on links ever created. It was easy to understand when there were only two web pages that were linked. Web page X linked to web page Y, okay. But, wait! How about web page X? (who-was-Linking-to-whom!) Which pages were linked the web page X? Well, that’s the point where backward hugs forward.

What kind of insights would Page get if he could analyze all of the backlinks and map out the link structure of the web?

Well, the answer to these questions brings us the point where Page and Brin’s work has started.

For answers to these questions, Page started to work on backlinks and name this project BackRub.

Google’s History Began with BackRub

Google’s history has started to be written, but it needed time to get called Google first.

After all, what is a link without a citation?

Page wasn’t thinking small but very big. When he wanted to map out the value of the web’s connections and see what was going on backwards, he knew that it would cost him a lot. Allowing him to map “the whole web” (probably 10 million documents with an untold number of links between them) needed money and machines. So he went to his adviser, Terry Winograd to ask for the money and machines.

He had lots of resources to crawl and analyze, and these things were much more than the usual bounds of a student project. Page wouldn’t know what he would face, when he started building his crawler.

The Perfect Duo: Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Larry Page and Sergey Brin came together after their first Stanford-guide-date. The idea of Page was too complex and that complexity was luring Sergey Brin to the job.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin created a citation-ranking system, PageRank. “The idea behind PageRank was that you can estimate the importance of a web page by the web pages that link to it,” Brin said.

“It’s all recursive.” Page said. “In a way, how good you are is determined by who links to you and who you link to determines how good you are. It’s all a big circle.”

Larry Page and Sergey Brin realized that BackRubs’ results were so much better than the other existing search engines. In Page’s opinion, the search engines like AltaVista and Excite were only looking at text instead of another signal (PageRank). Larry Page and Sergey Brin hacked a BackRub search tool to test if it worked well in a search application. And what they got? What they got from hacking was that the search tool’s results were so far superior to the usual search engines. It was searching only the words in page titles and ranked mostly on relevant keywords.

What was BackRub-PageRank combined good at?

PageRank was really-really-reeeeally powerful analyzing on-page-text, web page titles, meta tags, and anchor tags!

Google’s history has already begun.

Was PageRank better than the other search engines? You decide.

  • PageRank could find people. Like the others could do.
  • PageRank could locate the most data. Like the others could do.
  • PageRank even could answer questions. Like the others could do.

Every query had an answer on the other search engines. BUT they haven’t been good at sorting results by relevance. Well, it was the point where PageRank did better than the others! By PageRank, people easily catch their search term at the top of the list.

What can we say? Larry Page and Sergey Brin were so successful, intellectual, and confident.

A History of Google: The Very First Times

In 1997, the search engine was made available by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They started with Stanford University first, then to the general public. Do you know what was happening in late 1998? Two students who were studying at Stanford University were getting more popular with their search engine because it has been serving more than 1.000 queries a day.

Your service, brand or product might be very good and that’s a good thing, but the hardest part is always finding a good name for it. Even Larry Page and Sergey Brin weren’t thinking too much about business stuff (they were keen on writing their research down and publishing), it was kind of need to name the service. While Larry Page and Sergey Brin were trying to find lots of name combinations, they misspelled the “googol” and realized that:

Because “1 googol = 1.0 × 10100”

It doesn’t have a special significance in mathematics but what it meant; Googol is a 1, followed by 100 zeros. It means everything in existence with only a googol (it’s really hard not to write Google while trying to write “googol”). What do you think? Doesn’t everything exist with Google or its services? Even if you’re not a fan of Google, you can’t deny that everything with past, now, and the future is in existence with Google.

The popularity of Google was getting bigger day by day. It wasn’t a simple project anymore, and its requirements were getting more than it had. What would you first do when your service would become so popular and need to be updated? Well, Larry Page and Sergey Brin started improving their “fabulous” service, adding full-text search and more pages to the index. They realized quickly that their computing resources were not enough and they were officially broke. Considering they were still students, the first thing for them to do was to borrow money and buy new computers. Larry Page’s dorm room turned into their machine lab and Sergey Brin’s dorm room turned in to their office and programming center.

Ever saw the movie “Into the Wild”? Christopher is all alone, in the middle of nowhere. No telephone, no people, no food, no nothing, nothing, and nothing. It was kinda like this for them what they’ve been through for a digital development. You’re on a digital development without money and, also the other kind of stuff that’s required to have money again.

If They Were Decisive Over Writing The History of Google in Stone, They’d Need More Resources

Firstly, Larry Page and Sergey Brin went to ask for money from another advisor, David Cheriton from Stanford. David Cheriton had a good potential for the pair, so he introduced them to a successful entrepreneur, Andy Bechtolsheim, founder of Sun Microsystem.

After Andy asked a few questions, he was willing to write a check for Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

A Check of $100,000 in the Name of Google Inc. And A History of Google Formally Had Been Incorporated on September 7, 1998

I really wonder how many cups of coffee they had while leveling up a research project like this. I’d like to see a Black Mirror episode about Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s past, now, and future. Let’s hope Netflix check their backlinks often and considers my super-duper idea, lol.

Let’s get back to the reality from my Larry-Sergey-Netflix fantasy…

Larry Page and Sergey Brin hired Google’s first employee, Craig Silverstein and rented Susan Wojcicki and Dennis Troper’s garage in Menlo Park for $1700 a month (ka-ching!).

“The bus is touring as part of Google’s commitment to provide free digital skills training across the UK”. — 15 Sep 2017

They’ve been working on anything related to Google, in order for it to be developed (even they weren’t living in a money-pool). The operating system they used was Linux; which was totally “free”. They could spend a lot of money on computers but they tried to spend as less as possible, and for the rest of their computer needs, they begged and borrowed from Stanford. Larry Page and Sergey Brin’s office furniture were not even close to called luxurious; they only got what they needed. What else? Of course, like every startup, they had problems with some technical or engineering stuff but they’ve already been finding solutions for those problems without a richie rich’s hand.

Even there are changes in design when you make a research about the history of the Google logo, these changes can’t put a shadow on how Google’s logo was simple. In fact, if you have a service and this service answers everyone in the world, the simplicity of success is always the best design.

Popular Search Engines in the 90s

When the other search engines had lots banners, weather, horoscopes on their homepage, there was only the Google’s logo, a text field for you to search your query, and an “I’m feeling lucky” button that took you to the first result returned. Also on search results, Google was bringing only a list of links in return of the queries.

Because of its simplicity, it was quicker than the others. It wasn’t loading graphics. That’s what I call “being a genius”.

Let’s Make the Time Machine Tick-Tack Fast

In 2001, they had the patent for Google’s PageRank technology and needed a larger space to work.

The company’s motto was “Don’t Be Evil”. Because they’ve already known that the growth could have changed the culture of the company, and before somebody intended to pull the trigger, they wanted to determine a simple rule which was “Don’t Be Evil”. This “Don’t Be Evil” was the company’s code of conduct for the last 16 years but has been changed recently. Also the well-known PageRank has changed, it doesn’t exist anymore.

Google hasn’t stopped being productive. Every part of its growing process has a new feature, product, or service.

“Google Drive, Google Translate, Google Ads, Google Analytics, Pixel, Google Home…” Almost every single service we use every day. To see more, you may check out this link.

“Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin offer a peek inside the Google machine, sharing tidbits about international search patterns, the philanthropic Google Foundation, and the company’s dedication to innovation and employee happiness.

This talk was presented at an official TED conference, and was featured by TED’s editors on the home page.”

Conclusion: Please Welcome to the Fun Part of This Blog Post

Before I started to write this blog post, it goes without saying that I was doing a keyword research to see what people were really curious about. Of course, I’ve already made my topic clear about the History of Google, but I also hoped it wouldn’t be like a historical article. Anyway, I almost collected all of the amazing questions you wondered about and went to my colleague and asked for help, to make a podcast with these questions.

It won’t take much of your time and it will put a smile on your face! I hope some of you get the answers for what you were looking for, and some of you get cheered.

By The Way… I Have Another Thing to Share with You:

27 Aug 2018


Originally published at kubix.digital.