Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford University in Stanford, California.[40]
While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, the two theorized about a better system that analyzed the relationships between websites.[41] They called this new technology PageRank; it determined a website’s relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages, that linked back to the original site.[42][43]
Page and Brin originally nicknamed their new search engine “BackRub”, because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site.[44][45][46] Eventually, they changed the name to Google, originating from a misspelling of the word “googol”,[47][48] the number one followed by one hundred zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine was intended to provide large quantities of information.[49] Originally, Google ran under Stanford University’s website, with the domains google.stanford.edu and z.stanford.edu.[50][51]
The domain name for Google was registered on September 15, 1997,[52] and the company was incorporated on September 4, 1998. It was based in the garage of a friend (Susan Wojcicki[40]) in Menlo Park, California. Craig Silverstein, a fellow PhD student at Stanford, was hired as the first employee.[40][53][54]
In May 2011, the number of monthly unique visitors to Google surpassed one billion for the first time, an 8.4 percent increase from May 2010 (931 million).[55] In January 2013, Google announced it had earned US$50 billion in annual revenue for the year of 2012. This marked the first time the company had reached this feat, topping their 2011 total of $38 billion.[56]
The company has reported fourth quarter (Dec 2014) Earnings Per Share (EPS) of $6.88 – $0.20 under projections. Revenue came in at $14.5 billion (16.9% growth year over year), also under expectations by $110 million.[57]

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