Tuesday 4 September 2018

i’m feeling lucky

Originally developed as a search algorithm provisionally called “BackRub” that ranked websites by the number of other pages backlinking to them in 1996 as a graduate studies project, Sergey Brin and Larry Page filed the paperwork for incorporation on this day in 1998 for their search engine and web crawler, Google. The name was selected as a misspelling of googol, shorthand for imparting the concept of ten duotrigintillon or a one followed by one hundred zeroes, as an illustration of the vast amounts of data circulating on the internet.
Liberal estimates of the mass of the Universe fall short of that by fully ten powers of ten—or in other words just one ten-billionth of a googol of kilogrammes. Google assigns the number in scientific notation “1e100.net” to its array of servers to identify them across the internet. The corporate headquarters “Googleplex” is a much later backronym, homage referencing the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy super-computer Googleplex Starthinking (same spelling) that can calculate the trajectory of each mote of dust in a blizzard and contemplates the very vectors of atoms since the Big Bang—which is again a bit of over-engineering seeing that the value, a googolplex being ten to the googol power, something physical impossible to express outside of our imagination, and far outstrips the total number of subatomic particles in the Cosmos, reckoned at 10⁸⁰ or thereabouts.