As a research project that Larry Page and Sergey Brin began in 1996 while pursuing their doctorates at Stanford University in Stanford, California, Google was formerly known as “BackRub.”
Scott Hassan, the project’s chief programmer and the person who built the majority of the code for the first Google Search engine, served as an unofficial “third founder,” but he departed before Google was properly incorporated as a business. Hassan founded Willow Garage in 2006 and then pursued a career in robotics.
The co-founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, are clearly wordplay fans, and they seem to have a thing for company names that are simultaneously ridiculous and significant.
But this wasn’t the first time the two had messed around with language. In 1996, before Google became a separate corporation, Page and Brin were already thinking about geeky names for search engines.
BackRub was the initial name of Page and Brin’s 1996 foray into the world of search engines, according to the Google website and Stanford’s David Koller. Because the program looked at “back links” on the internet to assess the importance of a website and the websites it was linked to, they gave it this name.On Stanford’s servers, BackRub operated until all of the available bandwidth was used.
Page’s personal Stanford home page served as the only entry point for his web-crawling examination of the internet in March 1996.