How 6 Memorable Tech Companies Got Their Names

Just imagine if instead of "Googling" something, you "BackRubbed" it.

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3. Google


Just imagine if instead of "Googling" something, you "BackRubbed" it.

Crazy as it sounds, it could have happened. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin first started working on their search engine at Stanford, the two dubbed the creation "BackRub." (I think it's best if we don't ask why.)

When the original name lost its luster, Page and Brin decided to go with something related to the word "googol," a mathematical term that makes a million look like chump change. A googol is a one followed by a hundred zeros -- or, in technical terms, "a freakin' ginormous number."

Depending upon whom you ask, Page and Brin accidentally misspelled the word, spelled it wrong on purpose, or spelled it wrong in order to cash a (figuratively speaking) googol-sized check. According to that last account, Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim wrote Page and Brin a $100,000 check to help get their business started -- but he wrote it out to "Google" instead of "Googol." Page and Brin, as the story goes, incorporated their company with the unusual spelling as a result.

Of course, they might have just gone with Google because was already taken. The domain has been registered since 1995. According to current DNS records, it belongs to a "Mrs. Jello" of Livingston, New Jersey.

Don't believe me? Google it.

4. Fark


Some social sharing sites have pleasant-sounding names. You have Twitter, Facebook, and even the deserted land of MySpace. And then there's Fark. Pardon my French, but what the fark is a Fark?

[ See also: The 10 Biggest Tools on Twitter ]

According to the site's founder, Fark is absolutely nothing. Well, sort of. Drew Curtis says he came up with the word "fark" as a random expression while surfing the Net's then-quiet corners in the early '90s. Curtis says the word was either a drunken typo or perhaps a substitution for another more colorful "F"-word; he's not entirely sure.

However it was first uttered, Fark stuck -- and when Curtis decided to register a domain name, it was one of the few four-letter words still available (gee, I wonder why). Two years later, Curtis was inspired to build a site devoted to weird and wild stories, and was already at his fingertips.

OK -- so what is Fark? As the Fark-masters themselves explain it, "Fark is what fills space when mass media runs out of news. Fark is supposed to look like news, but it's not news. It's Fark."

Sounds pretty farking good to me.

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