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One of the world’s most potent superpowers turned 21 today and it wasn’t a government leader. As of today, Google is officially old enough to drink. In 1998 Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded the company. They borrowed a mathematical term for an unfathomable number, googol (10100, which is bigger than the number of subatomic particles in the universe,) and took some creative liberty with the spelling. While this is an exaggeration, even for the wealth of knowledge that the search engine has available, I’m sure we have all been saved once or twice by the immediate advice. Personally, I know that it has saved my bacon many times.

The search engine was unique in that it used a technology they developed called PageRank, which determined a website’s relevance. It will then provide you with unlimited information to dig through to your heart’s content. (But let’s honest. Unless you are desperate, you aren’t going past page two.) Larry and Brian built the first server in their dorm rooms, made of scraped computers and storage disks they found on sale while simultaneously maxing out their credit cards. They tried to license their technology but could not find anyone who wanted it during its early stages of development. The pair decided to work on increasing their funding while they worked on development.

Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim was so impressed that after a quick demo of Google, he told the pair, “Instead of us discussing all the details, why don’t I just write you a check”. The check itself was for $100,000 and due to Bechtolsheim’s endorsement, the raised another $900,000. Google is now the 17th largest company in the world. Just goes to show you what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it.

 

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