History Of Google

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Google was started in 1996 by Stanford University doctorial students Larry Page and Sergey Brin. They were working on the Stanford Digital Library Project, whose goal was to develop technologies for an integrated, universal digital library. It was funded through the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies.

Larry Page considered for his dissertation the exploration of the hyperlink structure of the World Wide Web as an emormous mathematical graph. It is easy to see which web pages are linked to any given page as the hyperlinks are noted on the page. However, it is not so easy to work backwards and see which pages, if any, choose to link to any given web page. So Page focused on this problem after considering that this situation was similar to the role that article citations play in academic publishing and that knowing the number of such backlinks would be useful when analyzing a web page.

Page called his research project BackRub and was soon joined by his close friend Sergey Brin. Page’s BackRub web crawler began exploring the World Wide Web in March 1996 with Page’s own Stanford home page serving as the starting point. BackRub began collecting lists of backlinks for any given web page it explored. Next, Page and Brin developed the PageRank algorithm to convert the gathered backlink data into a measurement of comparative importance by ranking the backlinks. They realized while analyzing the BackRub data that a web search engine based on the PageRank algorithm would produce better results than current techniques. Web pages with the most links to them from other highly relevant web pages must be the most relevant pages. This differed from other web search engines at the time, which ranked page results according to how many times a search term appeared on each web page.

Their search engine originally used the Stanford web site, but was registered by them in 1997. The name Google originated from a misspelling of googol, a number equal to 1 followed by 100 zeros. They formally incorporated their company in September 1998 at a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California. By the end of that year, Google had an search index of about 60 million web pages. The Google search engine attracted a loyal following among the growing number of World Wide Web users, who liked its simple, uncluttered page design.

In 2000, Google began selling advertisements based on keywords entered during a web search. The ads were text-based to keep an uncluttered design and a fast page load. Keywords were sold to vendors based on a combination of vendor price bidding and user click-throughs. Because of this successful business model, Google generated revenue while increasing its search index.

In 2001, Google purchased the Deja News Research Service, an archive of messages that were posted to Usenet discussion groups that was started in 1995. Google then created a new interface and called it Google Groups, a free service that supports discussion groups, including many Usenet newsgroups. In 2003, Google bought Pyra Labs, the creators of the weblog publishing platform Blogger, first launched in 1999. This acquisition made many Blogger premium features free to use.

After quickly outgrowing other places, the company leased a complex of buildings in Mountain View, California in 2003. The company has remained at this location ever since, eventually purchasing the property in 2006. The complex has become known as the Googleplex, from the word googolplex, a number that is equal to 1 followed by a googol of zeros.

In 2004, Google bought two companies whose core technologies were transformed into Google Maps and Google Earth. First, Where 2 Technologies became Google Maps. Second, Keyhole, a geospatial data visualization company, had its Earth Viewer application become Google Earth in 2005 while other aspects were integrated into Google Maps.

Google’s declared code of conduct is Don’t be evil, a phrase which was included in their initial public offering prospectus, believing that they will be better served in the long term if they do good things for the world despite forgoing some short term gains. Google’s initial public offering took place in 2004. Over $1 billion was raised when the company offered 14,142,135 shares to the public (and another mathematical reference as 1.4142135 is close to the square root of 2) while another 5,462,917 shares were offered by stockholders.

After the IPO, Google began to acquire companies that helped it develop various online services, many that were offered by Google for free. In 2006, Google purchased @Last Software after the company had developed a plugin for Google Earth. Co-founded in 1999, @Last Software was the developer of SketchUp, a user-friendly 3D design tool. It became Google SketchUp.

In late 2006, Google made two large acquisitions that helped expand its online services. The first was the online video site YouTube and the second was JotSpot, a developer of social software for small- and medium-sized businesses. Google kept YouTube as a separate brand, but JotSpot became Google Sites, a structured wiki- and web page-creation tool where anyone can create a team-oriented site where multiple people can collaborate and share files.

Also in 2006, Google launched Google Labs Spreadsheets. It was from its acquisition of 2Web Technologies and their XL2Web spreadsheet application. In the same year, Google also acquired Upstartle, the developer of a web-based, collaborative word processor, Writely. Together, their combined technologies formed Google Docs & Spreadsheets, later known as just Google Docs.

In late 2007, a presentation program incorporating technology from Tonic Systems was added to Google Docs. Now, Google Docs combined the features of a word processor and a spreadsheet with a presentation program to offer users a free service containing a web-based office suite. Google Docs enables users to collaborate with each other while creating and editing documents online.

5E Learning Cycle

Less than a year after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial Earth satellite, on October 4, 1957, the US Congress passed the National Defense Education Act, which allocated billions of dollars for the purpose of improving math and science education. One result was the establishment of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study by the American Institute of Biological Sciences. A geneticist, Hiram Bentley Glass, chaired the first Steering Committee. The BSCS, made up of mainly professional biologists, decided to focus on secondary school biology, mainly at the tenth-grade level, and collaborated with high school educators and administrators to develop and implement new curriculum materials.

The BSCS team, led by Principal Investigator Roger Bybee, developed a lesson model based on constructivism to advance the teaching of science. Constructivism proposes that learners need to build their own understanding of new ideas. The model describes a teaching sequence that can be scaled for entire programs, specific units, or individual lessons. They called it the BSCS 5E Instructional Model, with five different stages of a teaching sequence. These stages would be done across several school days and not necessarily in a single class period for each stage. The five stages of the BSCS 5E Instructional Model are designed to facilitate the process of constructivism in students by providing connections among student activities and bringing coherence to different teaching strategies. The five stages are: Engage, Explore, Explain, Extend (or Elaborate), and Evaluate.


The purpose for the engagement stage is for teachers to capture student curiosity about the phenomena and to get them personally involved in the lesson, while assessing the prior knowledge of the students. Students are introduced to the lesson topic and start making connections between their previous and current learning experiences. This lays the organizational foundation for upcoming activities.


The purpose for the exploration stage is to give students a chance to build their own understanding by participating directly in an activity involving the phenomena. As the students work together in teams, they build common experiences through communicating and sharing. The teacher is a facilitator, guiding the focus of the students through questioning and observation as they actively learn through inquiry and engineering challenges. Ideally, the students, through guided exploration, make hypotheses, design their own investigations, test their own predictions, and draw their own conclusions.


The purpose for the explanation stage is to ask the students to communicate what they have discovered so far and to figure out its meaning as they build their understanding of the phenomena. Student discussions allow for the placing of events into a logical sequence and occur between peers. The teacher, as the facilitator, may refine the understanding of students by guiding the discussion topics to include vocabulary in context and to redirect any student misconceptions.


The purpose for the extension (or elaboration) stage is for the teacher to ask students to use their new knowledge in unfamiliar but similar situations. At this stage, their understanding of the phenomena is challenged and deepened as the students expand on the learned concepts and make connections to related concepts. The students apply their understanding to the world around them in new ways as the teacher guides them toward the next lesson topic.


The purpose for the evaluation stage is for both teachers and students to determine how much understanding of the phenomena has taken place. It is an ongoing process where the teacher observes each student’s knowledge and depth of understanding. Assessment should take place at points throughout the continuum of the teaching process and not within its own set stage. Evaluation may include teacher observations and rubrics as well as students demonstrating their understanding with projects, interviews, and portfolios.

Did You Know? 2.0

Here is the official update to the original “Shift Happens” video from Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod, which includes new and updated statistics, thought-provoking questions, and a fresh design from XPLANE.

The video resulted from a presentation given at a faculty meeting for the beginning of the school year at Arapahoe High School in Colorado. Such faculty meetings are usually where updates are given on what’s new with technology and what teachers need to know to get the year started. This presentation was different from the usual topics in that it focused on a vision of where educators should be headed with teaching.

Join An Organization For Professional Development

Despite Groucho Marx’s declaration that he would not belong to any club that would have him as a member, it is good to belong to one (or more) if it would help you improve your skills and further your career. Of course, belonging to such associations does require a commitment of both time and money, so your choice should be based on what you can handle. I am a science teacher, so my list reflects this. I am sure that all of the teaching fields have their own equivalents to the ones below:


The National Science Teachers Association was founded in 1944 and is the largest organization in the world committed to promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership of 55,000 includes science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in and committed to science education. NSTA also drafts national science education standards that provide a cohesive approach to K–12 science instruction. They have several area conferences and a national conference each year. They offer four science journals, each specializing in a different grade level (primary, middle, secondary, and college) as well as books and other publications.


The American Chemical Society is the world’s largest scientific society (more than 163,000 members) and one of the world’s leading sources of authoritative scientific information. A nonprofit organization chartered by Congress, ACS is the premier professional home for chemists, chemical engineers, and related professions. The Society publishes numerous scientific journals and databases, convenes major research conferences, and provides educational, science policy, and career programs in chemistry. They also give more than $22 million every year in grants for basic research.


The Science Teachers Association of Texas is a chapter of the National Science Teachers Association and was formally organized in 1957. STAT membership is more than 6,000 strong and is a statewide organization of elementary, middle level, and high school teachers, college educators, supervisors of science, and others dedicated to maintaining the highest levels of science and education in Texas schools. The annual meeting of STAT is the Conference for the Advancement of Science Teaching (CAST). Attendance in recent years has exceeded 7,000 participants, which makes CAST the nation’s largest statewide meeting of science teachers. STAT provides funding each year for conferences within the 20 educational regions of Texas. The regional conferences are intended to bring the best of CAST presentations to a local forum and to encourage new memberships.

Web 2.0 Welcome To The Machine

Oldest Website

Oldest Website was Tim Berners-Lee’s Website at CERN

It’s been about 17 years since Tim Berners-Lee developed the World Wide Web while working at CERN and about 12 years since Marc Andreessen developed Netscape Navigator.

The Web has, for the most part, followed the path of every other breakthrough in communications technology: copy the conventions of the previous leading technology before exploring the innovations that make the new one unique, e.g., early radio programs sounded like people reading aloud from books and early television programs looked like theater plays. Early websites looked like pages out of a notebook or a magazine. Usually, we had to wait until the new technology reached a stage where it gained enough infrastructure in order to enjoy its full potential.

Hopefully, the Web has reached that stage in its development, a stage that Tim O’Reilly calls Web 2.0. Instead of passively reading someone else’s notebook or magazine, a Web 2.0 site may allow us to interact and collaborate with each other and create content in a virtual community.

Michael Wesch's video The Machine Is Us/ing Us

Michael Wesch’s video The Machine Is Us/ing Us

Kansas State University professor Michael Wesch created a video for his students that illustrates these Web 2.0 ideas using the very tools that he talks about. Towards the end of the video, Professor Wesch raises some important thoughts about how advances in technology might effect us as we rethink such concepts as identity, ethics, privacy, and copyright.

Incidentally, the article that briefly shows up in Dr. Wesch’s video is by editor and writer Kevin Kelly and is about the development of a global brain. The article is We Are The Web and appeared in Wired magazine.