Language English

Launched 1996
Closed 1997

Developer Page, Larry and Sergey Brin

Country of Origin US America

1996 - 1997 Page, Larry and Sergey Brin

Topic Universal

Region No Limitation

Technical functionalities
Robot/Crawler based, algorithmic search

Used SeEn BackRub

Robot: BackRub (Source)

Older Version Internet Archive / WebCite

»Google began in March 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Ph.D. students at Stanford working on the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP). The SDLP's goal was “to develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library" and was funded through the National Science Foundation among other federal agencies. In search for a dissertation theme, Page considered—among other things—exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph. His supervisor Terry Winograd encouraged him to pick this idea (which Page later recalled as "the best advice I ever got") and Page focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks to be valuable information about that page (with the role of citations in academic publishing in mind).

In his research project, nicknamed "BackRub", he was soon joined by Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford Ph.D. student supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Brin was already a close friend, whom Page had first met in the summer of 1995 in a group of potential new students which Brin had volunteered to show around the campus. Page's web crawler began exploring the web in March 1996, setting out from Page's own Stanford home page as its only starting point. To convert the backlink data that it gathered into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm. Analyzing BackRub's output—which, for a given URL, consisted of a list of backlinks ranked by importance—it occurred to them that a search engine based on PageRank would produce better results than existing techniques (existing search engines at the time essentially ranked results according to how many times the search term appeared on a page). [...]

Convinced that the pages with the most links to them from other highly relevant Web pages must be the most relevant pages associated with the search, Page and Brin tested their thesis as part of their studies, and laid the foundation for their search engine. By early 1997, the backrub page described the state as follows: Some Rough Statistics (from August 29th, 1996) [ / ] Total indexable HTML urls: 75.2306 Million [ / ] Total content downloaded: 207.022 gigabytes ... BackRub is written in Java and Python and runs on several Sun Ultras and Intel Pentiums running Linux. The primary database is kept on an Sun Ultra II with 28GB of disk. Scott Hassan and Alan Steremberg have provided a great deal of very talented implementation help. Sergey Brin has also been very involved and deserves many thanks.« Source


»BackRub, named for its unique ability to analyze the "back links" that point to a given Web site.« Source

Critical points

Features & Functionality


See also Google Source

References & further Publications

Wikipedia (EN):
Wikipedia (Others):

Other Sources

Brin, Sergey / Page, Lawrence: The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hyper textual Web Search Engine. At: Computer Networks and ISDN System (1998, Vol. 30, No. 1-7, S. 107-117). Online available at: InfoLab. URL:
"Google." International Directory of Company Histories. The Gale Group, Inc, 2006. 28 Feb. 2015. URL:

Created: 2013-01-15