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Google Logo

A man signing in at Google's main office, Googleplex.

Google is one of the largest search engines on the World Wide Web (WWW). Search engines also do other things than searching. Other search engines (for example, AOL) use its software and information (database) too. That makes it the most-used search engine on the web. Every day, 200 million (200,000,000) people use it. Google's main office ("Googleplex") is in Mountain View, California, USA.

With Google, people can also search for pictures, Usenet newsgroups, news, and things to buy online. By June 2004, Google had 4.28 billion web pages on its database, 880 million (880,000,000) pictures and 845 million (845,000,000) Usenet messages — six billion things.

"To google," as an action word (verb) means "to search for something on Google". Because Google is so popular (more than half of people on the web use it) it has been used to mean "to search the web". Google dislikes this use since the name of the company is a trademark.


Google was started in early 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students at Stanford University, USA. It used to be called Backrub. Later, they made it into a company, Google Inc., on September 7, 1998 at a friend's garage in Menlo Park, California. In February 1999, the company moved to 165 University Ave., Palo Alto, California. Later that year, it moved to another place, now called the "Googleplex".

In September 2001, Google's rating system ("PageRank", for saying which information is more helpful) got a U.S. Patent. The patent was to Stanford University, with Lawrence (Larry) Page as the inventor (the person who first had the idea).

Google makes an important, though shrinking, percentage of its money through its friends like America Online and InterActiveCorp. It has a special group known as the Partner Solutions Organization (PSO) which helps make contracts, helps making accounts better, and gives engineering help.

How Google makes money

Google makes money by advertising. People or companies who want to make other people visit their website give Google money, and Google shows an advertisement to people Google thinks will click on the advertisement. Google only gets money when people click on the link, so it tries to know as much about people as possible to only show the advertisement to the "right people". It does this with Google Analytics, which sends data back to Google whenever someone visits a web site. From this and other Data, Google makes a profile about the person, which it then uses to figure out which advertisements to show.

The name "Google"

The name "Google" is a misspelling of the word googol.[1][2] Milton Sirotta, nephew of U.S. mathematician Edward Kasner, made this word in 1938, for the number 1 followed by one hundred zeroes ([math]10^{100}[/math]). It is said that the word "googol" was chosen as a name for this number because it sounded like baby talk. Google uses this word because the company wants to make lots of stuff on the Web easy to find and use. Andy Bechtolsheim first thought of the name.

The name for Google's main office, the "Googleplex," is a play on a different, even bigger number, the "googolplex", which is 1 followed by one googol of zeroes.


  1. Koller, David. "Origin of the name, "Google." Stanford University. January, 2004.
  2. "Google revolution", How it Works (Imagine Publishing) (37): 40-43, 2012-08-09