4.1. A BLESSED BLUNDER

It was Larry and Sergey's idea to name the company googol—the mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. Milton Sirotta, a nephew of the great mathematician Edward Kasner, coined the word. It was popularized in a book Kasner co-authored, Mathematics and the Imagination. The founders felt that the name googol would reflect Google's ambitious goal of organizing and making available all of the world's information.

Fortunately, someone misspelled googol, and the bungled version, Google, took hold. It was just as well. As it turns out, the term googol wasn't available for a website name, anyway.

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