Original Name Of Google Has Left People Baffled

Google's original name has left people baffled.
Credit: Alamy

People have been left baffled after discovering Google’s original name.

The search engine has become an essential part of our day-to-day lives, with it having the answer to pretty much anything.

Looking for a recipe? Google it. Feeling ill and you don’t want to visit the doctor? Google it (but be prepared to self-diagnose yourself with the worst thing possible).

Just saying the phrase ‘Google it’ has become synonymous in everyday vocabulary because it has a ring to it.

So you’ll be surprised to know that it originally had a different name which would change the way we know things.

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On the About Google section of the website, the company breaks down its history and explains how two Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, came up with the software in 1995.

“Working from their dorm rooms, they built a search engine that used links to determine the importance of individual pages on the World Wide Web,” it reads.

The text then reveals that they called this search engine Backrub. Yes, that’s right, Google was originally called Backrub.

It continues: “Soon after, Backrub was renamed Google (phew).

“The name was a play on the mathematical expression for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros and aptly reflected Larry and Sergey’s mission ‘to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.'”

Adding to this story, Stanford employee David Koller has explained that the original name came from ‘back links’ – a term used when one website links to another website.

Google’s original name was Backrub. Credit: Alamy

He continued: “Sean verbally suggested the word ‘googolplex’, and Larry responded verbally with the shortened form, ‘googol’ (both words refer to specific large numbers).

“Sean was seated at his computer terminal, so he executed a search of the Internet domain name registry database to see if the newly suggested name was still available for registration and use.

“Sean is not an infallible speller, and he made the mistake of searching for the name spelt as ‘’,” which he found to be available.

“Larry liked the name, and within hours he took the step of registering the name ‘’ for himself and Sergey,” he added.

According to Koller and Business Insider, the Google domain was first registered on September 15, 1997.

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But it wasn’t until 1998 that Andy Bechtolsheim wrote Page and Brin a check for $100,000 – leading to Google Inc. being officially founded.

People online have reacted to this news, with many not being aware of this fact.

One person says: “Damn, can you imagine if they went with Backrub? Today, instead of saying, ‘I’ll Google it’, we’d be saying, ‘I’ll Backrub it’. That just sounds wrong on so many levels.”

“Imagine ‘Backrub Search’ instead of ‘Google Search’!” says a second.

“I could die without knowing that this was Google’s old name,” comments a third.

Another user adds: “Who else is only just finding out it was originally called ‘BackRub’…”

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a former content editor at IGV who specialised in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.