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How did Google get its name?

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07/01/2015

Whether an accidental or a required change, the name Google is based on the mathematical term "googol", coined in 1938 to equal 10100, a number much larger than any practical counting operation would require (there are an estimated 1080 atoms in the known universe).

Google, Inc. has stated : "Google's use of the term [Google] reflects the company's mission to organize the immense, seemingly infinite amount of information available on the web.

Anecdotal Origin

In September, 1997, so the story goes, some Stanford grad students were helping Larry Page choose a name for his search engine. "Googolplex," said Sean ­Anderson. (They'd already sensed how big this could ­become.) "Googol," Page ­replied. ­Anderson, checking to see if the name was taken, typed ­g-o-o-g-l-e into his browser and made the most famous spelling mistake since p-o-t-a-t-o-e. Page registered the name within hours, and today, Google isn't a typo, it's a verb, one with a market cap of about $160 billion.

Did Barney Google?

The adjective "googly" was used in the Billy Rose song "Barney Google" (after the Billy Debeck comic strip character) in 1923. "Googly eyes" look in different directions at the same time.

The First Use of The Spelling?

From "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" :

(In the story of this must-read book, the two programmers Lunkwill and Fook talk to the computer Deep Thought, to find out if it will be able to compute an easy answer to the Question about life, the universe and everything. The computer classifies himself as only the second most-powerful computer in the universe.)

"There must be a mistake," he [Lunkwill] said, "are you not a greater computer than the Milliard Gargantubrain at Maximegalon, which can count all the atoms in a star in a millisecond?"

"The Milliard Gargantubrain?" said Deep Thought with unconcealed contempt. "A mere abacus - mention it not."

"And are you not," said Fook leaning anxiously forward, " a greater analyst than the Googleplex StarThinker in the Seventh Galaxy of Light and Ingenuity which can calculate the trajectory of every single dust particle throughout a five-week Dangrabat Beta sand blizzard?"

"A five-week sand blizzard?" said Deep Thought laughingly. "You ask this of me who have contemplated the very vectors of the atoms in the Big Bang itself? Molest me not with this pocket calculator stuff."

There you have it - modest Google does not (yet) compare itself with Deep Thought.