Chapter 3. In the Beginning

From the time they met in 1996 until 1998, Larry and Sergey continued to experiment with various search ideas. Larry began studying the importance of links with his own homepage on the Stanford website. With the search engine he named BackRub, he wrote and improved on search code based on links between websites.

Page and Brin soon latched onto two big ideas. The first was based on BackRub but was renamed "Page-Rank" after Larry Page. PageRank treated the number of times a site was linked to others as a rough measure of its authority. The second was to automate and sanctify the search process and to cope with the ever-increasing number of sites. In order to give some objectivity to the results, humans could work with the algorithm, but never tinker with the search results. (This still is mostly true. However, with the introduction of Google's SearchWiki, searchers themselves can tailor the results in various ways.)

Once Larry and Sergey had defined the new way to search and deliver the results, they were faced with two more major problems: how to collect the entire World Wide Web into one database and how to find enough computer power to store and process the huge volumes of information.

The pair scrounged around to collect computers for the project, often haunting the Stanford loading docks for machinery to borrow. The first version of Google was released in August 1996, on the Stanford Web. The address was

Very quickly Stanford ...

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