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Case Details:

Case Code : ITSY019
Case Length : 18 Pages
Period : 1996-2002
Pub Date : 2003
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization :
Industry : Information Technology Countries : USA

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This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

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Background Note

The founders of Google, Larry Page (Larry) and Sergey Brin (Sergey) graduated in computer science from Stanford University in 1995. By January 1996, Larry and Sergey began working on extending their summer project work on a search engine. They wanted to develop technology that would retrieve a relevant set of data from a massive database of information. They named their search engine 'BackRub' because of its ability to identify and analyze 'back links' that pointed to a given website. Larry began creating a new kind of server3 environment that used low-end personal computers (PCs) instead of costly big machines. For this they needed to buy several low cost PCs. However, due to shortage of cash, they had to borrow PCs from the university.

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By 1997, BackRub gained a lot of popularity due to its unique approach to solving search problems on the Internet. 

Throughout the first half of 1998, Larry and Sergey focused on perfecting their technology. To store huge amounts of data, they bought a terabyte of memory disks (one trillion bytes equal one terabyte) at bargain prices. Larry used his dormitory room as a data center, while Sergey used his room to set up a business office. By now, they knew that their search technology was superior to any other technology available. They actively started looking for potential partners interested in licensing the same. They contacted many people including friends and family. One of the people whom they got in touch with was David Filo (Filo), the founder of Yahoo, a leading portal4.

Excerpts >>

3]  Servers are computers or devices that manage the resources in a network. For instance, users on a file server can store files on the server, which is essentially a storage device dedicated to storing files. In a search engine, database servers are used to process database queries.

4]  A portal is a website featuring commonly used services as a starting point and a common gateway to the web (a web portal) or a niche topic (vertical portal/vortal). The services offered by most portals include a search engine, news, email, stock quotes, chat, forums, maps, shopping and customization options. Large portals include many more services apart from the ones mentioned above.

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