It is a mathematical term, “googol”, which inspired Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the founders of the famous search engine.
The “googol”, or “gogol” in French, is a mathematical term which designates the number 10 to the power 100. That is to say a 1 followed by one hundred 0. It is the American mathematician Edward Kasner who is at the origin of this name. Well, not exactly.
Indeed, according to urban legend, Edward Kasner struggled to find a name for this number. The reason ? This number designates a number greater than that of the number of particles in the universe (note: plus or minus 10 to the power of 85).
Annoyed, the mathematician persists in illustrating that no number, however large, is close to infinity. However, a nameless number induces the opposite idea. Edward Kasner then decides to rely on his nephew… of nine years. The child thinks and finds a solution. This number will be called “googol”.
When Larry Page and Sergey Brin teamed up in 1996, they couldn’t agree on a name for their company. Frustrated, they too ask other students for help. The name “googol” is then proposed. But, funny coincidence, the domain name googol.com already exists. Never mind, the two partners decided on google.com, easier to remember, and registered the domain name on February 15, 1997.
25 years later, Google has succeeded in achieving its ambition: to organize and classify the impressive volume of information on the web. The success is so immense that the term has even become a verb, “googling”.
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