Museum of Media History | MMH | Berlin
Google’s precursor in 1996 was called “BackRub,” a search engine research project headed by Larry Page at the computer science department at Stanford. BackRub might have been a reference to the underlying algorithm which counts backlinks as affirmative votes, the same approach that was then turned into PageRank.
In August 1996, according to a cached copy of the BackRub engine from C63.be, the number of “HTML URLs” this “web search engine” indexed was 75 million, with 30 million HTML pages downloaded by the crawler. BackRub was written in Java and Python based “on several Sun Ultras and Intel Pentiums running Linux.”
On the backrub homepage, Larry Page thanked Scott Hassan, Alan Steremberg and Sergey Brin for their help. Larry Page was still pretty much the owner of the project at the point. The hand in the logo was his own, scanned. And as the FAQ stated, if there was any question unanswered, his email address and phone number were available for you to directly reach him.
Later, BackRub turned into “the Google Search Engine,” which may have looked like the following in 1997, though it’s quite possible the logo back then was different than the one in the screen shot:
Google began in March 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Ph.D. students at Stanford working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP's goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library." and was funded through the National Science Foundation among other federal agencies. In search for a dissertation theme, Page considered—among other things—exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. His supervisor Terry Winograd encouraged him to pick this idea (which Page later recalled as "the best advice I ever got") and Page focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks to be valuable information about that page (with the role of citations in academic publishing in mind). In his research project, nicknamed "BackRub", he was soon joined by Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford Ph.D. student supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Brin was already a close friend, whom Page had first met in the summer of 1995 in a group of potential new students which Brin had volunteered to show around the campus. Page's web crawler began exploring the web in March 1996, setting out from Page's own Stanford home page as its only starting point. To convert the backlink data that it gathered into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm. Analyzing BackRub's output—which, for a given URL, consisted of a list of backlinks ranked by importance—it occurred to them that a search engine based on PageRank would produce better results than existing techniques (existing search engines at the time essentially ranked results according to how many times the search term appeared on a page).
Convinced that the pages with the most links to them from other highly relevant Web pages must be the most relevant pages associated with the search, Page and Brin tested their thesis as part of their studies, and laid the foundation for their search engine.
Originally the search engine used the Stanford website with the domain google.stanford.edu. The domain google.com was registered on September 15, 1997. They formally incorporated their company, Google Inc., on September 4, 1998 at a friend's garage in Menlo Park, California.
Google has created hundreds of logos since they renamed from BackRub to Google. The current official logo of Google was designed by Ruth Kedar and later on in 2009 they made several changes to their logo. The Google Logo is a wordmark which is based on catull typeface. With their time to time changes they also made some of the most interesting changes in their logo were made when the Google Logo gone colorless to pay tribute to Lech Aleksander Kaczyński 4th president of Poland and then this logo was again used to pay tribute to Chinese earthquake victims.
Saying Goodbye to Google Services