The True Story Of How Google Got Its Name

If knowledge is power, then Google is one of the most powerful entities ever to exist. It knows what you don't know and what you don't want other people to know you search for late at night. It sees your emails and the messages you never sent. Google can tell you how to travel from point A to point Z and show you a satellite image of every other bit of the alphabet you plan to visit. It can also hear what you hear on your journey via Google Assistant. And if you want to connect to the internet, Google has launched two services for that, too: Google Fiber and Google Fi.

In 2018, NBC reported that Google had seven products that boasted a minimum of a billion active monthly users. At this point, Google isn't so much a search engine as it is a panopticon that you opt into. So why don't people freak out about Google's mass data collection like they did when Edward Snowden exposed mass surveillance by the NSA and other government agencies? We're guessing that the company's name has something to do with it.

What's in a name? Google it to find out

A company that acts like an electronic peeping Tom sounds creepy in theory. But the name Google sounds a bit like "giggle," which has a much less lecherous ring to it. But the company didn't always have its comfortingly funny name. Google explains that founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin originally dubbed the search engine "Backrub," a name which captures all the peeping creepiness of the Google we have today. 

Evidently realizing that a product called Backrub might rub people the wrong way, Page and Brin went in a different direction, opting for a math-inspired moniker. Google is a pun based on googol, which is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes. The vastness of that number was more representative of the  creators' stated aim of "[organizing] the world's information and [making] it universally accessible and useful." But given that Google also has haptic technology, it's probably only a matter of time before the company offers actual backrubs.