In the 21st century, Google is a household name – even among households that do not use it. Back in the late 1900s, in 1996 to be exact, Google was immense. The precursor to Google, the earliest collaboration between Google founder Larry Page and Sergey Brin, was the nickname, rather weird-BackRub.
That's pretty strange, that is, until you think about how the advanced search engine platform worked. The uploaded web pages, then scanned the backlinks and decided not only which individual web pages link to, but which web pages link to them. If this sounds familiar, it is because the general concept would continue to be the basis of the modern "PageRank" system. BackRub was just a fun word game about how much time the servers used the "massage" backlinks.
"BackRub" moniker hung on through 1996 and late 1997 when they registered Google.com. In autumn 1998, the ambitious couple introduced Google. What began as a project between two friends on a college apartment with a computer cover cobblestones assembled from plastic plates and LEGO bricks grew into the world's largest search provider in the next decade. How much of that growth can be attributed to killing the awkward name BackRub, the world will never know.
Image courtesy of Google / Stanford.