Google is celebrating its 22nd birthday with a special Doodle.
Having developed a search algorithm known as ‘Backrub’ two years earlier, Page and Brin chose the name Google for their new project because it recalled the word ‘googol’ – a mathematical term meaning ‘10 raised to the power of 100’.
At a time when the World Wide Web was still in its infancy, Page and Brin’s lofty goal was to “organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.
Although initially overshadowed by rival search engines such as Yahoo and Ask Jeeves, Google has grown to become the world’s most popular website, with more than 63,000 searches made every second.
The verb ‘google’, meaning ‘to search for something online’, has become so widely used that it was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary in 2006.
The date of Google’s birthday has changed over the years without much explanation. Until 2005 the website celebrated its birthday on September 7, supposedly marking the day it became an incorporated company.
But the company actually filed incorporation papers on September 4, 1998, though it has never used this date as its birthday. Since 2005 it has marked its birthday on September 8, September 26 and, more recently, September 27.
“When is Google’s birthday? I’m not sure even we know,” wrote Google employee Ryan Germick in 2013, adding: “Still, while there’s some differing opinions about when to bust out the candles and cake, one fun fact is that our first Doodle was posted even before Google was officially incorporated (30 August, 1998 vs 4 September, 1998).”
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