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Google says J Lo is why we have image search

A Google image search of Jennifer Lopez's Grammy Awards dress
Google image search
Google says image search owes its existence to J Lo’s famous 2000 Grammy Awards dress.
  • Marc Bain
By Marc Bain

Fashion reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

Jennifer Lopez, or “J Lo” as she is commonly known, has been a great many things in her career: fly girl, singer, actress, American Idol judge. Apparently she can add tech muse to that list, because she’s the reason Google image search was created.

In a January post on global commentary site Project Syndicate, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt details the story of how this integral feature on the world’s most popular search engine came about:

So our co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin—like all other successful inventors—kept iterating. They started with images. After all, people wanted more than just text. 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.

Reuters/Mike Blake
So disruptive.

At the time of Google Image’s launch in July 2001, the site offered access to 250 million images. By 2010 that number had reached to more than 10 billion.

And all of this easy access to an endless array of cute cat pictures and other imagery came about in large part because of the public’s overwhelming demand to see J Lo in her shimmering, sternum-and-navel-baring green Versace gown.

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