Search engines prevalent at that time provided service that was far from satisfactory. There were many in operation - the likes of Lycos, Webcrawler, Excite and a few others. All of them fell short. They would only display a slew of results that made little sense to the searcher.
At that time, another duo from Stanford was running a company which they had named 'Yahoo'. They devised a better search algorithm, by creating an alphabetized directory of Web Pages. Also, another new search engine called AltaVista came up. Its search algorithm was based, like other search engines, on the number of times the key word figured in theturkana human google doodlebut it displayed results using the now popular concept of web links. A link, essentially, is a kind of a pointer to another web page.
The idea of using links for a search engine excited Brin and Page. They started thinking of it on an entirely new dimension.
Coming from families that treasured academic research, Page and Brin looked at links as something akin to citations in academic research. In academia, a paper was considered good if it had citations. The more the citations, the better the paper. Also, not all citations were equal. Citations from quality sources enhanced the paper's value.
Using the analogy, the pair developed their search algorithm, called PageRank. It depended, among other things, the number of links that pointed to the web page. The more the links, the higher the rank. Also, links from the more renowned websites, such as Yahoo, would carry more weight than a link from a lesser known website.
Initially, the Google Guys named their search engine 'BackRub', as it was based on the links pointing backward to the site. However, they eventually decided that they had to come up with a new name. Because it dealt with vast amounts of data, they decided to name it 'Google'. Googol is a very large number - 1 followed by 100 zeros. 'Google', is actually a misspelling of 'Googol', something which many people do not know.
Google was first released internally in Stanford. From the beginning, it has maintained a clean and simple homepage, free from flashy animations and the like. It was an instant hit in the Stanford network.
As their database grew, Brin and Page needed more hardware. As they were short of cash, they bought inexpensive parts and assembled them themselves. They also tried all they could to get their hands on unclaimed machines. They did everything they could to keep their hardware cost at a minimum.
Initially, the duo attempted to sell Google to other major web companies like Yahoo and AltaVista. However, both companies could not accept Google, because, among other reasons, they did not believe that search was a vital part of the Web experience.