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The Princess of Asturias Foundation

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Prince of Asturias Award for Communication and Humanities 2008

Google is regarded as the best search engine in the history of Internet; it enables millions of users worldwide to access a universe of knowledge and information in a fast and organised manner. Its creation has meant a revolution in accessing all sorts of contents and has reinvented the technical principles that ruled previous search engines. With a worldwide presence, Google handles hundreds of millions of requests from users each day and performs searches over millions of web sites and millions of images.

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At the beginning of 1996, Sergey Brin (Moscow, Russia, 1973 - ) and Larry Page (Michigan, USA, 1973 - ) developed a search engine called BackRub, the main feature of which was its ability to analyze the back links pointing to a given website. In 1997, BackRub adopted the definitive name of Google due to its similarity to the term googol, the name for the number 10 raised to the power of 100, a reference to the amount of information that they were attempting to organise.

They founded Google Inc. in 1998, establishing company headquarters in a rented garage in Menlo Park, California. A year later, they were managing a budget of 25 million dollars and moved their offices to Googleplex, Google´s current headquarters in Mountain View, California. What started out as a university project is nowadays considered the best search engine in the history of the Internet and, despite its current leading position, Google continues to progress and enhance the search for information. It has recently acquired You Tube, a video broadcasting platform, and DoubleClick, the leading international online publicity agency.

In collaboration with the UNESCO, it has started up what is known as the Literacy Project, which, by allowing searches within books, academic texts and shared teaching material all via the same website, aims to foster reading and education throughout the world. In addition, Google Book Search means that any user, in any corner of the planet, with access to the Internet has access to culture. This product includes content from the collections of the most prestigious libraries and works from more than ten thousand publishing houses from all over the world. However, not only written but also geographical information is available in the search engine thanks to Google Maps, Earth and Sky, which allow users to gain more in-depth knowledge of both the planet and (in the near future) the firmament thanks to the building of a large telescope that will soon be available. Its latest projects include Google Gears, which allows its services to be used without being connected to the Internet.

In 2000, Google received the Webby Award for the Best Technical Achievement. Brin and Page were named 2002 "Young Innovator Who Will Create the Future" by MIT's Technology Review magazine, and hold honorary MBA Degrees from the Instituto de Empresa (Madrid, 2003). They received the Marconi Fellowship Prize in 2004 from the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University.

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