The NewsDemon Blog

Where Did The Google Bing Facebook Twitter And Other Strange Names Come From?

By Steve Schwartz June 27th, 2011

There are a lot of websites and online services on the web today. And although you may frequent them daily, do you really know what they are about? NewsDemon.com Newsgroups researched a few to find out where the names originated from some of the most popular online destinations.

The meaning of Yahoo!?

From search engine newsgroups, we learn:

“The Web site started out as “Jerry and David’s Guide to the World Wide Web” but eventually received a new moniker with the help of a dictionary. The name Yahoo! is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle,” but Filo and Yang insist they selected the name because they liked the general definition of a yahoo: “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” Yahoo! itself first resided on Yang’s student workstation, “Akebono,” while the software was lodged on Filo’s computer, “Konishiki” – both named after legendary sumo wrestlers.”

How did Microsoft come up with Bing?

Combing through Microsoft newsgroups we learn:

No, it doesn’t stand for “big investment, no goals” although it may seem like to some. Nor does it mean “but its not google”. No, the real story is that Steve Balmer was looking to “verb up” a phrase for users when searching. Much like the popularity “Google It” has become, Steve hoped that “Bing” would unambiguously said search.

Why choose the name Twitter for a social network?

Popular newsgroups reveal:

The service’s name morphed from “Status/Stat.us” to “twittr” to Twitter. From the creators, they stated “Twittering is the sound birds make when they communicate with each other—an apt description of the conversations here. As it turns out, because Twitter provides people with real-time public information, it also helps groups of people mimic the effortless way a flock of birds move in unison.”

Where did Mark Zuckerberg come up with the Facebook name?

USENET reveals:

The name of the service stems from the colloquial name for the book given to students at the start of the academic year by Harvard university administrators to help students get to know each other better.

What does USENET mean?

Duke University graduate students Tom Truscott and Jim Ellis conceived the idea of USENET in 1979 and it was established in 1980. The name came from the love of UNIX and something that best described its function – The USERS NETWORK.

What does Cisco stand for?

Nothing actually.

The name “Cisco” was derived from the city name, San Francisco, which is why the company’s engineers insisted on using the lower case “cisco” in the early days.

What does the Google name mean?

Page and Brin began developing a search engine called “BackRub” as grad students at Stanford in 1996. Google derived its name from the word “googol”, a term coined by then nine-year-old Milton Sirotta, nephew of the American mathematician Edward Kasner. The story goes, Kasner had asked his nephew to invent a name for a very large number – ten to the power of one hundred (the numeral one followed by 100 zeros), and Milton called it a googol. The term was later made popular and in Kasner’s book, Mathematics and the Imagination. After focused brainstorming, they come up with the name “Google”—a derivative of the mathematical term.

How did Steve Jobs come up with Apple

Steve Jobs worked summer jobs at a California apple farm. He also liked the Beatles and their label, Apple Records. When he and Steve Wozniak tried to come up with a company name, they decided that if they couldn’t think of anything better by the end of the day, they’d go with the name “Apple”. And they couldn’t, so they did.

As far as the logo, the Apple newsgroup post the following from the original designer:

“I designed it with a bite for scale, so people get that it was an apple not a cherry. Also it was kind of iconic about taking a bite out of an apple. Something that everyone can experience … It was after I designed it, that my creative director told me: “Well you know, there is a computer term called byte”. And I was like: “You’re kidding!” So, it was like perfect, but it was coincidental that it was also a computer term.”

How did Intel get their name?

When pioneers Moore and Noyce left Fairfield Semiconductors to start their company they were going to call it Moore Noyce but it sounded like More Noise… very unfortunate for a semi-conductor/electronics company. They decided on INT(egrated) EL(ectronics) after trading under NMElectronics for a while but had to buy some rights for Intel as there was a similar sounding hotel chain called INTELCO.