Informit article: Expand and centralise: Twenty years of google

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On 4 September 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin deposited a cheque for $100,000 written by ‘angel investor’ Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. With this money put into a newly opened bank account, the pair formally incorporated their start-up, dubbing it ‘Google Inc’. They chose this name in reference to the obscure mathematical concept ‘googol’, a number represented as a one followed by 100 zeros, or in scientific notation, 10100. The word googol was apparently coined in 1920 by the nine-year-old nephew of the mathematician Edward Kasner. This bright little anecdote behind the word fits into the playful tone that the co-founders wanted to create with their company. Shortly afterwards they said: ‘we liked the spelling “Google” better’, adding ‘it sounds cool and has only six letters’.

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