Who Invented Google and How did it Happen?

Google is a company you likely know well, but do you actually know how the company got started?
Trevor English

The Google search engine handles roughly 70% of all online requests, but this isn't the only thing Google is involved in. They have cloud services, they make hardware, software, payment solutions, tried to start a social network, run a massive ads platform, Google does pretty much everything. Google and its parent company Alphabet have grown into a technology powerhouse. 


Google got started back in 1998, fairly late when you look at the current top tech leaders. Both Microsoft and Apple formed in the mid-70s, and IBM back in 1911. 

The beginnings of Google

Everything started when Larry Page, a graduate from the University of Michigan, enrolled in Stanford University's Ph. D program for computer science.

Page wrote his doctoral thesis on the WWW, or World Wide Web. At the time he wrote it though, the web wasn't what we know today. It was essentially just an idea in the minds of the world's top computer scientists at the time. Specifically in his thesis, Page wondered if you could use links between web pages to determine which page was more important. From there he theorized that it would be possible to develop an algorithm that automatically did this. If you know anything about how Google's search engine works, you know this was the beginnings of Google.

Page spent years working on his thesis project which was proving to be quite the challenging math problem. He reached out to another student at the university to help refine the math. Together, they named the algorithm they developed PageRank. They integrated the algorithm into a rudimentary search engine and set it on its way to start trolling the web.

After one full year of implementing the algorithm, Page realized that he had discovered something massively important as the results it was returning back were far superior to any other search engine's results. He also realized that as the algorithm got fed more data, the results were only going to keep getting better. More pages on the internet meant more links which meant more data on each site to establish its validity and relevance to a search. The search engine's original name was BackRub, but they soon changed it to Google, a name picked to reflect the scale of the project.

This initial PageRank algorithm formed the basis of Google and on January 9th, 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the other student working with him, filed a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for a method of node ranking in a linked database. One interesting note is that they filed the patent under Stanford University, so Page and Brin licensed the use of the algorithm for their commercial endeavor from the school.

On September 4th of that same year, Google was officially founded. 

Google's evolution

After nearly three years of operation, Google turned over the algorithm code to Amit Singhal, who first started at the company a year earlier. Singhal's key addition to the algorithm was rewriting its core structure so that the search engine could incorporate new ranking criteria more easily. This was the first major change to the algorithm, and since that point, it has undergone constant evolution. 

Over the years, Google has evolved from a search centric company to more of an overarching technology company that has a large search division. They offer things like Gmail, Adwords, Adsense, and all the Google hardware like Google Home or the Google Pixel.

Google, now under its parent company Alphabet, is a massive conglomerate of technology that partly has been amassed through company acquisitions throughout the years. This growth technique is one way that tech companies acquire and hold on to top tech industry talent. 

So at the end of the day, who Invented Google? Larry Page and Sergey Brin. 

However, the answer to who created many of Google's modern products today is much, much more complex.

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