Podcast Host Speaks to WSU About Google’s Dominance

OGDEN, Utah – While many dot-com companies went bust in 2000, Google emerged as a search engine and advertising giant. How and why that occurred will be explored when Weber State University hosts “The History of Google,” Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in the Hurst Center Dumke Legacy Hall and again on Oct. 17 at 10:30 a.m. in Elizabeth Hall Room 229. Both presentations are free, and the public is welcome.

Tech entrepreneur Brian McCullough hosts the popular “Internet History Podcast.” His book, based on information from the podcasts, is scheduled for publication in spring 2018. He has already shared the chapter about Google online.

“Some technology pundits have suggested that we’ve moved from an information economy to an attention economy,” said event organizer and WSU computing instructor Luke Fernandez. “The most valuable commodity out there is our attention, and there’s no company better capitalizing on that than Google. If we want to understand the modern economy, we have to understand a bit about Google.”

McCullough will discuss how a small search engine, begun on the campus of Stanford University, became a billion-dollar business. He will recount the company’s history, how the founders met, the evolution of Google’s search algorithm and how the company captured advertising, while remaining the preferred search engine for most people.

 “From a searcher’s perspective, the miracle was that the ads felt less annoying, the more relevant they became,” McCullough wrote in his chapter. “To a certain extent, Google’s AdWords began to seem almost as useful as the organic search results for certain keywords, because the quality score kept them germane to the searcher’s original query.”

McCullough’s presentation is a joint event of the Weber Historical Society and the Peterson Leadership in Technology Speaker Series in the College of Engineering, Applied Science & Technology. Sponsors also include the WSU Alumni Association, WSU’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and Department of History.

The next presentation in the Peterson Speaker Series will pay homage to those whose life’s work is to maintain the many systems and processes that keep our lives and economy running.

“The Maintainers: Revaluing Essential Work in an Age of Innovation-Speak” will be held Nov. 7 at 10:30 a.m. in the Stewart Library Hetzel-Hoellein Room 321.

Assistant professor of science and technology studies at Virginia Tech Lee Vinsel will discuss his research as co-founder of @The_Maintainers, an interdisciplinary research network dedicated to understanding the practice and virtues of maintenance.   

“In modern culture we spend a lot of time celebrating the virtues of entrepreneurs and innovators,” Fernandez said. “We need to think about the importance of maintainers, and why we should give them at least as much prominence as we give innovation.”

Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.


Luke Fernandez, Computing instructor
801-626-7876 • lfernandez@weber.edu


Allison Barlow Hess, public relations director
801-626-7948 • ahess@weber.edu