Google Etymology derived not from Larry Page but from the mind of a 10-year-old boy
In 1979 I turned 10 years old. It was an age devoid of home computers. If you were really posh, you owned an Atari games console (we didn’t!) WordStar, the world’s first true word processing program was launched in 1978 about the same time the first home-based computers were finding their way onto the market. These early computers were just rudimentary games machines. Even the Sinclair ZX81, the home computer that changed everything, wasn’t about to arrive for another few years and the World Wide Web was merely a glint in Tim Berners-Lee’s eye.
Of course, if you mention the word ‘Google’ today, everyone knows what you mean. It has even earned its place with a new definition in the Oxford English dictionary:
[with object] informal
But here’s the interesting part about that definition:
Origin: 1990s: from Google, the proprietary name of a popular Internet search engine
I have news for the Oxford English dictionary and for Google… That name has its origins long before the 1990s! Back in that misty-eyed era of 1979, the fertile imagination of a young boy invented an entire new species of alien. They were a little family, purportedly from the planet Mars, and the lad needed a galatic-sounding name for them. The Google aliens were born and they were my childhood creation. My intentions were grand; To make a comic book featuring the family heroes. But how far can a small 10-year-old boy living in a provincial village go with such heady ideas? As one would expect, they frazzled to nothing and the Google family were resigned to my family’s loft sometime in the mid-80s.
You’re probably wondering how I came up with the name? Alas, those details are sketchy. Thinking back, it’s possible I may have heard of a googol, which at the time I probably understood to mean a very large number. Perhaps not knowing how to spell it, I named my family ‘Google’ – But to be honest, I can’t really remember. My childhood imagination was pretty vivid, so it’s more likely I just made it up. I needed an ‘alien’ sounding name and Google fit the bill perfectly. Imagine my surprise in the 1990s when my little family from Mars became a worldwide phenomenon in the form of a search engine! The dictionaries failed to consider Google was around long before the search engine empire.
The Google family formed the earliest creations behind my film-making of today – drawing cartoons and even little comics. The picture here is the earliest sketch I could find from 1979.
So here we are over thirty years later. Search-engine Google have made billions from the name whereas I have made nothing whatsoever from it… Not even a nickel! Just goes to show there’s a snitch more money in online search engines than childhood drawings from an era long, long ago!
Well, who knows… My drawings probably form the earliest existence of the word ‘Google’ – That in itself might be worth a few bob in a few years!