Google was officially founded on September 27, 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while both were Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Why did they start the company? At the time, conventional search engines ranked results by detecting how many times the terms appeared on the page, but Page and Brin wanted to analyze the relationships among websites, thus the PageRank algorithm was created. This meant the website’s relevance was determined by the number of pages, and how many of them that linked back to the original site.
The new search engine was originally nicknamed “BackRub”, simply because the system checked backlinks to estimate a website’s importance. “BackRub” was eventually changed to Google, which originated from a misspelling of the word “googol”, or the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. This name was selected to denote that the search engine was designed to provide large quantities of information. Who was the very first employee that Page and Brin hired? It was Craig Silverstein, who was also a Stanford Ph.D. student at the time. He served as the company’s director of technology until 2012, when he went on to work at the Khan Academy.