Google, formerly BackRub
The world’s most popular search engine, Google, was originally called BackRub in 1996, when its founders Larry Page and Sergy Bin collaborated at Stanford. But the information labyrinth was registered as Google.com a year later in 1997. According to Google, the name was created as a play on the word ‘googol’ – a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros – to show the pair’s mission to organise a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.
Subway, formerly Pete’s Super Submarines
It’s hard to believe everyone’s favorite sandwich joint was named anything else. But in 1965, Subway was originally opened as Pete’s Super Submarines following a conversation between founder Fred DeLuca and his family friend Dr Peter Buck, who suggested Fred opened a submarine sandwich shop. However, the name was soon shortened to Subway, and the familiar bright yellow logo was introduced just in time for the first Subway franchise to open in Connecticut in 1974.
Blackberry, formerly Research in Motion
Canadian smartphone and tablet brand Blackberry was originally launched in 1984 as Research in Motion, when it was founded by Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin. But in January 2013, the company announced plans to change its name to Blackberry – inspired by its Blackberry phone range that have keyboards resembling druplets of the blackberry fruit – in an effort to revive the declining brand in a competitive market.
Pepsi-Cola, formerly Brad’s Drink
Before one of the world’s most popular soft drinks became famous, Pepsi-Cola was briefly named as Brad’s Drink – a name inspired by the surname of its creator, Caleb Bradham. Caleb invented the drink as ‘Brad’s Drink’ in 1893, but renamed it to Pepsi-Cola just five years later as he believed it wasn’t just a refreshment, but a “healthy” cola, which supposedly aided digestion.
Yahoo, formerly Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web
Stanford students Jerry Yang and David Filo initially co-founded Yahoo as Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web in 1994, but soon renamed it Yahoo, an acronym of ‘Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle’.
Nissan, formerly Datsun
Up until 1981, trucks made by Japanese automaker Nissan in the US were advertised under the Nissan brand, but small cars were branded as Datsun. It wasn’t until the company had sold millions of cars across the world that it decided to drop the Datsun name, which originated from the Japanese word ‘dat’, meaning lightning fast.
Panasonic, formerly Matsushita Electric Industrial Corporation
Panasonic, the Japanese electronic producer, was originally founded as Matsushita Electric Industrial Corporation in 1935, and was known by this name for decades. But in 2008, the company finally decided to rename to Panasonic as that was the brand it was most commonly known for producing.
Nike, formerly Blue Ribbon Sports
Before it became Nike, the world’s most famous sporty tick was known as Blue Ribbon sports, acting as a distributor for Japanese shoemaker Onitsuka Tiger. But as the relationship between Blue Ribbon Sports and Onitsuka started to collapse, Blue Ribbon launched its own line of footwear called Nike – the name of the Greek Goddess of Victory.
Mozilla Firefox, formerly Mozilla Firebird
The famous red fox depicting Mozilla’s browser hasn’t always been the animal of choice. Before Mozilla Firefox, there was Mozilla Firebird – but the name got vetoed as soon as the company realised Firebird was already being used by another open source software company.