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It was back in late 99, I think, that my boss came, sat down besides me and told me "open your browse". I then went and clicked my netscape (yes, netscape!) icon on my brand new Windows 98.
Now, type "goo-gall" (now imagine this conversation in a very bad pronounced spanglish). I went and rapidly typed goggle.com and hit enter. I got either a dns error or a wrong site. "Mmmhh, no, no, no, it is goo-gall, like the number", he told me... "Oh!, ok" then I typed googol.com. We got another website. Then my boss told me, "you know what, they meant to be googol, but they write it another way ... let me remind".
Then I tried several combinations, mostly getting error pages or may be even hit the correct one but didn't see anything spectacular and moved on.
While he was walking to his office, I told him, "but what is it about?",
"oh, it's a search engine, a new one, from a guys at stanford", he replied.
"What for?, why we need another search engine?, we have Yahoo, Altavista and Infoseek, what else do I need?, they have everything!", I yelled while he was already on his chair. I could see him from my place.
"Well, I think they look promising", replied while looking for a note in his mountain of technology magazines.
Then, he came with a piece of paper in his hand. "I got it here", he told.
"Ohh, google.com?, this is a mispell of something or what?", I continued skeptical.
"Go and type it now" he ordered while getting a little agry by my always incredulous attitude.
Then I went and type "Google.com" and a page with a logo and search box were displayed. I don't even recall if they had the search button.
"Just type something!"
"Ok!", "database software <enter>"
I think we got Oracle site on first place and some other familiar places, took less then two seconds.
"Well, I have to admit it was fast... ugly, but fast"
"The page, the website is ugly, where's the content?, where are the categories?"
"Categories? it's just a search engine and the content come when you type what you want", told me winking.
"Yeah, right, they won't beat Yahoo".
Luckly, I didn't bet on it :)
Its simplicity helped. Part of Google's appeal was its lack of bells and whistles, and pretentiousness. It was all we needed, and it worked very well.
Yes, you could submit your site in the early days, and I did it right away. Here's where you can do it now:
How to submit your content to Google
Me n my guy decided to move to California from Minnesota after doing well with websites and I think it was about six or seven years ago.
On our road trip to California we checked our horrible sprint connection to the laptop to find out we are on top of Google for every single money converting keyword related to our sites.
I had a banner rotation system with SSI and parameters in the link.
The Google spider used 5 GB bandwith, I had to pay 1999 $20 per GB.
I wrote them about the problem, they wrote, they stop to index my page.
June 2000, suddenly the message Google is the new default search engine of Yahoo.
I wrote them immedeately, their spider is welcomed.
"What's that!? You're meant to be searching for X"
"Google - it's a very cool search engine"
"What a stupid name to call a search engine - why aren't you using Alta Vista"
.. he typed in a query, up came the results..
.. I don't believe I ever bothered using Alta Vista again :).
Google had been recommended to me by a friend who also alerted me to the potential of the web.
I remember the experience being mind-blowing. I did so many searches that day on all sorts of things, I couldn't believe how fast and accurate the results were.
On that day I became a Google Evangelist, something that many people did after their first experience of Google.
Shame I didn't get any sweat equity for it :(
I guess this kind of business is always one kick^H^H^H^Hstep ahead ;-)