You will be surprised to know that Google began in March 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Initially, it was named as BackRub.
Larry and Sergey begin collaborating on a search engine called BackRub and Page focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, based on the consideration that the number and nature of such backlinks was valuable information for an analysis of that page (with the role of citations in academic publishing in mind). BackRub operates on Stanford servers for more than a year eventually taking up too much bandwidth.
Google.com was registered as a domain on September 15 , 1997.
The namea play on the word “googol,” a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zerosreflects Larry and Sergey’s mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.
The first funding for Google as a company was secured in August 1998 in the form of a US$100,000 contribution from Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, given to a corporation which did not yet exist.
In 90’s ,Baidu was the biggest competitor of Google. Robin Li (founder of Baidu) claimed that he was the first to file a patent about link analysis before the Page Rank technology of Google in 1996. This method was named RankDex. When we look the patent of PageRank, we can see that the RankDex is quoted.
You can read more about it on – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Google