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The Typo That Gave Birth to Google

By 19th September 2023No Comments

As Google marks its 25th anniversary, it is an opportune moment to revisit the serendipitous tale of how a simple spelling mistake bestowed upon the tech titan its now-iconic name. Before achieving the ubiquitous status it enjoys today, Google went by the rather unconventional moniker of “Backrub,” conceived by its co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

In the year 1996, a full two years prior to Google’s official launch, Page and Brin embarked on the quest for a suitable name for their revolutionary search engine. According to David Koller, a luminary from Stanford University, where Google’s genesis occurred, the initial choice of “Backrub” drew inspiration from the engine’s profound analysis of the web’s intricate network of “back links.”

Fast forward to 1997, and Page, along with his colleagues, found themselves in search of a more fitting identity for their rapidly advancing technological marvel. During a brainstorming session in the crisp September air of that year, Sean Anderson floated the term “googolplex,” a reference to a colossal numerical concept. In response, Page proffered the more concise “googol,” another term signifying an astronomical number.

However, the turning point in this nomenclature odyssey arrived when Anderson, seated at his computer during this discourse, decided to inspect the availability of the domain name for “googol.” In an ironic twist of fate, he inadvertently committed a spelling error, triggering a search for “” instead. Astonishingly, the domain was unclaimed, and Page found an unexpected fondness for this unintentional misspelling. In a matter of mere hours, he secured the domain “” for both himself and Brin.

Thus, it was a fortuitous typographical error that bestowed upon one of the planet’s most influential corporate entities its distinctive name. This account serves as a poignant reminder of the capricious nature of innovation and the unforeseen avenues that can lead to monumental achievements.


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