Pronunciation of "googol"

Philip Trauring philip at CS.BRANDEIS.EDU
Sat Dec 21 22:07:31 UTC 2002

Actually, Archie and Veronica (as well as Jughead) pre-dated the web.
They were file browsers that existed before the first web browsers
were created.

Archie was a search program for files on public FTP servers, while
Veronica was a search program for content on Gopher servers.

Gopher was a menu-based system that was the easiest way to present
content on the Internet before the web was created - and more
accurately before NCSA released Mosaic which is really the event that
launched the web. I don't doubt that there are some gopher servers
still running out there, but I don't know anyone that stuff with
gopher for very long after the web began to grow...

Archie was created in 1990 and the name was just short for Archives.

Veronica, created in 1993, was originally just named to match Archie,
since they served similar purposes, but was later tagged Very Easy
Rodent-Oriented Networkwide Index to Computerized Archives, or
something along those lines.

Jughead was another search engine that searched gopherspace, with
similar naming origins.

All of this info can be found by doing a simple search on Google...

Getting back to the origin of the name Google - it seems it's not
connected at all. It is, in fact, a play on the word Googol, which
being an impossibly large number seemed to the founders of Google to
represent the seeming endless size of the web very well.

Google documents their history very well here:

Philip Trauring

At 11:18 AM -0500 12/21/02, George Thompson wrote:
>The name Google may be derived from a mathematical term, but it
>seems likely that it and its pronunciation was influenced by the
>fact that several of its predecessors among web browsers were named
>after cartoon characters.  I recall Archie, which was followed (? if
>I remember) by Veronica.
>I am supposing the the name Google was chosen in part as an allusion
>to Barney Google.
>George A. Thompson
>Author of A Documentary History of "The African
>Theatre", Northwestern Univ. Pr., 1998.
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at YALE.EDU>
>Date: Thursday, December 12, 2002 2:33 pm
>Subject: Re: Pronunciation of "googol"
>>  At 9:20 AM -0800 12/12/02, vida morkunas wrote:
>>  >I say Goo-g'l
>>  >
>>  >Vida.
>>  >(in the Pacific NW)
>>  Me too, but I have an alternation with the full vowel for
>>  "googolplex", where the [u] in the first syllable and the [a] in the
>>  second both get secondary stress:
>>  [,gu,gal'plEks]
>>  (...which is, everyone will remember, 1 followed by a googol of
>>  zeros.  A very large number indeed.  This too is defined in Gamow's
>>  _One, Two, Three, Infinity_, or a title approximating that.
>>  larry
>>  P.S.  Actually, I think I've also known myself to use the ['gu,gal]
>  > pronunciation for "google", with the full vowel.
>  >

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