You Say Googol, I Say Google

By Deane Barker on May 16, 2004

Have your Google people talk to my ‘googol’ people: The mathmetician Edward Kasner coined the term “googol” in the 40s to describe a one with a hundred zeroes behind it. That’s where the search engine Google got its name. Now that Google is on the verge of an IPO, descendants of the dead mathmetician want a piece.

Relatives of Kasner are crying foul. They believe Google has gained financially at their expense. That conviction only increased with Google’s recent announcement that it will go public, hoping to raise $2.7 billion in sales of its stock. If the stock price reaches $40 per share, the founders of the company and several of its employees will be worth many millions each.

Via Metafilter.



  1. Google could be called

    PetaMonkey or Fish and it wouldn’t make it any worse or better search engine.

    The name isn’t what drives the technology.

    So this is funny.

  2. Edward Kasner’s relatives need to get a clugle – most people have no idea what a googol is. And even as one of those people that has actually used the word, I had never made the association between the two. (As a child: “I dare you”, “I double dare you”, “I googol dare you” was the progression, at least until we discovered a googolplex.)

    Instead, the relatives should be happy that their boy Ed gets an interesting anecdotal footnote associated with so successful an enterprise.

    If only he had trademarked or copyrighted the use of the word, they might have had a case…

  3. The number of individuals of the human race approaches 10^10. When Google or a similar computer network becomes aware, a new being will be born. A Google is a small Googol, one individuum of possibly 10^100 Googols. If Google has understood man and his society by the questions he is asked every day and the social structures he can make out, it can overcome man.

  4. OK, I’m going to have to ask you to hand over your copy of “Terminator 3” and go get some sunshine now.

  5. Now everybody is telling me that the all succesful creators of the search engine Google can not spell. How is that? Must I believe it? It seems quite unreasonble to me that the inventors of a search engine can not spell correctly. I suspect the truth lies elsewhere. More than fifty years ago the science fiction writer Simak wrote a short story called Retrograde Evolution and it is about Googles and their capability to run over the Galaxy if they choose to. It is however impossible to talk about this because this little piece of information about Googles will be destroyed. You may wonder why. Adios!

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