Google started in 1996 with two Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University. Page was exploring mathematical characteristics of the World Wide Web. Understanding this link was a huge graph and daunting task. Page’s focus became finding out the problem of which web pages link to a specific page. This was in consideration of the number and nature of the back links and the valuable information concerning the page. This would also help him bring out the role of citations in academic publishing. He nicknamed the research project Backrub.
A fellow PhD. student Sergey Brin joined page in his Backrub project. Page and Brin first met in the summer of 1995 and were already close friends. When they first met, Brin had volunteered to show around the group of potential new students, which Page was part. Brin and Page were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project. The development of enabling technologies for an integrated and universal digital library.
In March 1996, Page’s web crawler began exploring the web. The starting point was Page’s own Stanford webpage because it was the only place to start. Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm to convert the back link data that had been gathered for a certain webpage and measure it according to importance. Brin and page went on to realize that PageRank would produce far much better results. This realization came as they analyzed Backrub’s output, which consisted a list of back links ranked by importance. The existing search engines ranked results according to the number of times a search term appeared on a page.More details: History Of Google