David Papp Blog

What does Google have to do with a hundred Zeroes?

In 1938 a mathematician asked his 9 year old nephew to describe a really big number, and Googol was the answer. This is a 1 followed by 100 zeroes.

In 1997 Larry Page and Sergey Brin (founders of Google) were searching for Googol to see if it was taken. They were looking for a name for their new search engine. However they misspelled it as Google. The name was registered immediately and is now worth multi-billions of dollars.

Why Google? Check out “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” with the powerful computer called the Googleplex Star Thinker (1979).

Googleplex is the name of the corporate HQ complex for Google.

So how often is google googled?
Using this nifty page Google AdWords keywords search, you can see that it currently runs a billion searches globally each month.

Have you ever googled the word google?

20 thoughts on “What does Google have to do with a hundred Zeroes?”

  1. Never knew that thing about Larry Page and Sergey Brin looking for Googol. Makes sense really. I’m sure in the not so distant future Google will have an amount with a hundred zeros as their profit the way they are going. Android and YouTube are only growing day by day as you have shown in other blog posts.

    • It would most certainly be ironic with a profit margin equal to it’s namesake. But getting something is much easier than keeping it. And then I wonder if that future would be a good one… It sounds like inflation had hit really hard.

  2. I heard that Google was created to make a good brand name for word googol, now this post has cleared my misconception. Google Larry has always been my role model because he won’t stop inventing, acquiring and expanding Google empire with android, YouTube, maps, gmail, 100s other. I read it somewhere google is buying at an average of 1 product in every week since 2010. Lots of new things to come.
    I have never googled google though 😛

    • One thing I’ve read recently (thanks reddit!) is that Google is removing their 20% time. This is something that they previously had in place where employees were alotted 20% of their work time to be able to pursue anything they wanted. Products such as gmail and reader (now defunct) were created in this 20% time.

      With the loss of this time to be creative, will Google be the innovator that allowed it to become a superpower?

  3. Did they recruit employees with this word? I heard that they would display equations or something similar on billboards and if someone could solve it, they would earn the opportunity to be a Google employee.

  4. Yes I have definitely googled the word google! It makes for a funny loop; you go to google, search google, and google.ca comes up, so you click on it and it brings you right back to where you started (this is coming from someone who has nothing better to do). It’s quite shocking to realize how big Google is! I mean, Google is Googled a BILLION times a month? There’s 1.2 billion people living in India… and 1.3 billion in China…

  5. I’ve checked how many people googled “Google” and boy, that’s a lot of numbers. It gets crazier if you add related terms like Google Earth or Google Translate and the likes.

    Anyone appreciate the fact that by using Google as a name, they sort of fulfilled its meaning by being having so many people use it in innumerable ways while earning multi-billions of dollars?

  6. Didn’t knew that. They were nerds back then. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is actually a really cool book and you will find a lot in there that is being referred to on the internet.

    Google has a lot of things to offer that doesn’t really meets the eye on the first place. For example their famous eater eggs.

  7. Great info. I am always curious about the origins of words. I remember back in the early days of Google when it was just mostly a search engine among many others; the name always sounded to me like that of a creature you might find in a children’s book.

    This also makes me want to reread “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” I was a preteen when I read it. I certainly would appreciate on a much different level, now as an adult.

    I must admit I had never googled Google other than to find the country-specific search engine — “Google Germany” for instance — but that doesn’t count as I was just being pragmatic!

  8. Hehe! I knew this already! And yes, I’m quite proud of the fact that I knew this.

    Although I didn’t know they misspelled the word. I thought they took the name on purpose!

    Goes to show if the word is influential enough, the misspelling can become the spelling!

  9. Are there any others here who has thought how amazing it is that Google’s still going strong when many of its generation has failed and has already faded to obscurity? Not only that but it looks like they’re also preparing hard for the future which may be in mobile devices.

    • I’m not surprised at all. Some think that google is actually a covert government organization. They do seem like they could be when you consider the scale of the projects that they have undertook. They were highly funded and touted before their stock went public. They sit on billions in cash. How long until they have their hands in all the electronics pies – from television sets to smart phones? Is there anything that they won’t sell?

      • Yes, and what’s amazing is that Google has only been around for 15 years; they just celebrated their birthday with a typical stylized logo just yesterday. It’s amazing how they have morphed from a search engine to a multi-faceted empire that is constantly rolling out new products and services that address so many different needs and wants that we have. And of course, they are also creating some needs and wants; we didn’t know we “needed” Google Street View, let alone the forthcoming Google Glass.

  10. Googol, how interesting! I didn’t know that was a 1 followed by a hundred zeroes. That explains why they named the company as so. I know they wanted a name that was heavy on the vowels. Studies of consumption prove that humans favor vowel based companies. The names are easier to say than names without vowels. Google. Sounds like goo goo ga ga. Ha.

  11. I heard about ‘Googol’, I guess it was from my Mathematics textbook when I was in like 5th grade or something. I researched about it only to find out that Google’s name was derived from it. I believe it is relevant as Google Search delivers a ton of results when a single term is searched. Besides, they earn a lot of money and offer a wide range of services.

  12. Yes, I heard the story about a kid coining the word Googol duting may college days, but can’t recall how many 0’s that actually have. 🙂

    Anyway,I myself have been “googling” google sometimes, for the specific reason that I was typing in my address bar, and didn’t know it was set to google. I feel like I contributed about a hundred of hits for the past few months. My bad.

  13. Hmm haha good hing they didn’t keep it googol. Google sounds much better. Great information though, for people who’re curious to know how stuff eventually came to be. Though googol would be quite apt, because well, google does search a million pages in s fraction of a second every second for millions of users, Larry and Sergey have done a brilliant job indeed.

  14. Huh, I never knew that it was just a misspelling of the word “Googol.” I know that it was somehow derived from “Googol,” but I always thought that it was that Google was aiming for a search engine with an insane amount of results. And I can see that “Google” is googled a lot because there are still a ton of tech-illiterate people who search “google” to get to the homepage.

  15. No, I have never Googled the word Google before. I didn’t know a Googol had that many digits and that many zeros. So many people are Googling the word Google, Google News and Google Docs daily. It’s a fascinating finding.

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