These days Google has become more than just a name for a very successful company. It is a term that is seeping into everyday life. You often hear people saying thinks like ‘”I’ll google that and see what comes out” or “I couldn’t find anything on it when I googled.”
Just like Hoover and vacuum cleaners, Google has become synonymous with its marketplace and is now used as a generic term for searching on the Internet. And is a name which probably only increase in familiarity, one day perhaps becoming a brand along the same lines as Ford or even Coca Cola.
The name Google is a play on the world googol, which as any one who watched Major Charles Ingram on ‘Who wants to be a millionaire,’ will remember means a number formed of a 1 followed by 100 zeros, a figure so large that I’ve only ever encountered it on overdraft statements.
The googol itself has I believe absolutely no practical use as a number, and was dreamed up purely to show the difference between a very large number and infinity. To find out more about the googol, check out Wikipedia.
Google’s headquarters are at the Googleplex, which is another play on words, this time on googolplex, which is 10 raised to the power of a googol. This is a number so vast that it can represent Google’s own ambitions for its share price. These days it difficult to think of internet searching without thinking of Google, and like Henry Ford and the motor car, you get the mistaken impression that they might have invented the industry, forgetting about all those old search engines you probably used in the days of the steam driven Internet.
I was instant convert the first time I came across the site. The clean, functional look drew me right in, no need to worry about all the distracting offers and headlines that had become so off putting on places like Yahoo! I entered my search, and my results turned up, exactly what I was looking for. Over the years my use has only increased. These days I have a Gmail account, will print out directions on Google Maps, and look for a bargain on Froogle. For something that starts off looking almost like an anti-portal it has an unhealthy knack of drawing you right in.
I also have to admit that I like the image that Google seeks to be project. Their informal company motto of “don’t be evil,” reminds of the early idealism of the internet culture, which Google still seems to embody whilst other companies become increasingly like their old economy counterparts.
Despite Google’s own admission this week that they felt that they had reached the end of their explosive growth. I feel that there is much that this company will still accomplish. I look forward to seeing where they are in 10 years time, and wonder what additional functionality will be available. My own pet idea is of course poodle, the search engine for dogs. We’ll have to wait and see whether they take it any further.