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Would Google have succeeded if it had been called something else? Apparently, the original title for the project (round about 1996) was “Backrub”. While a rose generally smells as sweet by any other name, I am not sure that phrases like “I need a backrub for that” would have caught on. Too much scope for sniggering getting in the way of searching. I know that Google have not officially been keen on the commoditisation of their name and prefer that people don’t use it as a verb but I suspect this has contributed to their success.

More information, including early versions of the Google logo, can be found in the article “What Google was originally called and other interesting facts about Google’s humble beginnings“.

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