Google, which has grown to become one of the most prominent software and information technology companies in the world, began in 1995 when Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford University.

As computer science students, the two collaborated on creating a search engine called BackRub – a reference to the service’s tracing of backlinks to rank search results, as opposed to the number of times a search is mentioned on a page. This novel approach distinguished the search engine almost immediately.

In 1997, the two young computer science professionals changed the name of their search engine to Google – a play on the term “googol,” which refers to the massive number consisting of 1 followed by 100 zeros. The idea reflects Page’s and Brin’s desire to accumulate the world’s knowledge on the web.

Over the next few years, Google underwent rapid expansion, as the small garage company received substantial publicity for its surprisingly relevant search results, as well as support from major investors. Eventually, the eight-person startup moved to an office in Palo Alto, California.

By the time of Google’s Initital Public Offering in 2004, the company had become the preeminent search engine in the world. Within three years after the IPO, share prices hiked from $85 each to $700 in 2007.

Since Google’s launch in 1996, the search phenomenon has become a software and computer tech phenomenon that leads much of the world in technological and internet innovation.

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