Have you ever stopped to think about what was the reason why Google invented Google Images? You might have just accepted it as a given as this point, and never given it a second thought. Let’s take it all the way back to the year 2000, just before Google Images existed. If you wanted to look up what something looks like, you’d have to head to a library and look up the entry in the encyclopedia. If you were lucky, you might have had a digital encyclopedia available at home.
Then the 42nd Grammy Awards happened. Wait – what does that have to do with anything? Trust us, it’s got everything to do with it. Celebrities flocked to the award show, wearing the best the designers had to offer. That included triple threat Jennifer Lopez, who wore a daring green silk Versace dress.
The dress became an instant sensation, and people were talking about it so much, they were Googling it at an unprecedented rate, which at the time, was quite unusual. The people over at Google realized that this was going on, and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt told Project Syndicate in 2015: “People wanted more than just text.”
He continued to explain: “This first became apparent after the 2000 Grammy Awards, where Jennifer Lopez wore a green dress that, well, caught the world’s attention. At the time, it was the most popular search query we had ever seen. But we had no surefire way of getting users exactly what they wanted: JLo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born.”
Director of engineering and product for Google Images Cathy Edwards shared in an interview in GQ that this account was “completely true,” but she did say that the team was already thinking about working on an image search, but they didn’t realize how much they should have been prioritizing the project.
What did Jennifer Lopez think about this whole ordeal? Well, she was pretty surprised about all of the attention the dress garnered. She said: “It didn’t seem that out there to me. It was a good-looking dress. I had no idea it was going to be such a big deal.”