Conversations at the Intersection of PR, Traditional & New Media

A village named Google

No I am not joking, there is infact a village with a name Google, situated on the banks of the Krishna river, in the Riachur district of Karnataka. It’s a small village with just about 1000 residents. Though the village name resembles the Internet giant based out of California, the village does not have internet connectivity and most are not aware that one of the world’s largest companies is named after their village. The few who do are proud of their village’s claim to fame.

There are two theories on how the village got its name. The first is a mythical story and springs from the legend that 12th century saint poet Allama Prabhu lived in this village when he was travelling from Basava Kalyan to Shreeshailam in Andhra Pradesh. The cave where he is believed to have lived has been described as Gavi Gallu (cave of stone). The village was hence called Gavi Gallu. Over the years, it became Googallu and now it’s Google. The underground cave exists. Devotees visit the cave which hosts an idol of the saint by crawling through a hole in the ground.

However historians has another story, which seems closer to the truth. According to them the village was named after rocks that seemed to sing. The name comes from ‘Kooguva Kallu’ (stones that make a pleasant sound when river water strikes them).

”The sound wasn’t produced by river water but by people who wanted to communicate with villagers in far-off places,” explains S K Aruni, assistant director of Indian Council of Historical Research. ”In ancient times, people would send signals to far-off villages by hitting rocks with small sonorous stones. This produced cup-like marks in the rocks. Prehistoric rocks with such cup marks are found in several places in the Krishna river basin, such as Watkal, Hunasagi, Hebbal Burj and other villages in Gulbarga and Raichur districts. So, it’s possible that a village with such rocks was called Kooguva Kallu,” he adds. (as quoted in one of the article appeared on this in Times of India). If this true then the steams out from the way people used to communicate, which is what the cyber world Google helps us do.

How Google got its name? Here’s the genesis…

In 1996, Larry Page and Sergey Brin called their initial search engine “BackRub,” named for its analysis of the web’s “back links.” Larry’s shared his office with several other graduate students, including Sean Anderson, Tamara Munzner, and Lucas Pereira. In 1997, Larry and his officemates discussed a number of possible new names for the rapidly improving search technology.

Sean and Larry were in their office, using the whiteboard, trying to think up a good name – something that related to the indexing of an immense amount of data. Sean verbally suggested the word “googolplex,” and Larry responded verbally with the shortened form, “googol” (both words refer to specific large numbers). Sean was seated at his computer terminal, so he executed a search of the Internet domain name registry database to see if the newly suggested name was still available for registration and use. Sean is not an infallible speller, and he made the mistake of searching for the name spelled as “google.com,” which he found to be available. Larry liked the name, and within hours he took the step of registering the name “google.com” for himself and Sergey (the domain name registration record dates from September 15, 1997).

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Disclaimer: The thoughts expressed by me in this blog are my personal views and do not represent the views of my employer or the organizations I have been associated with. I believe in the principle of sharing information. Feel free to link to any of the posts in this blog.
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