This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

A Couple of Yahoos


January 18, 1995: was Registered

Two years earlier, Stanford PhD students, David Filo and Jerry Yang, track their favorite sites found on the internet. Over time, they spend more and more time on this project as more and more people found it useful. They eventually thought that a business could be made from this and they started Yahoo!

Jerry Yang & David Filo

Jerry Yang & David Filo

In January 1994, Yang and Filo were electrical engineering graduate students at Stanford University when they created a website named “Jerry’s guide to the world wide web”.  David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web was a directory of other websites, organized in a hierarchy, as opposed to a searchable index of pages. In March 1994, “David and Jerry’s Guide to the World Wide Web” was renamed “Yahoo!”. The “” domain was created on January 18, 1995.

Yang & Filo

Yang & Filo

The word “yahoo” is an acronym for “Yet Another Hierarchical Officious Oracle”.  The term “hierarchical” described how the Yahoo database was arranged in layers of subcategories. The term “oracle” was intended to mean “source of truth and wisdom,” and the term “officious,” rather than being related to the word’s normal meaning, described the many office workers who would use the Yahoo database while surfing from work.

Jerry Yang                        220px-David_Filo

However, Filo and Yang insist they mainly selected the name because they liked the slang definition of a “yahoo” (used by college students in David Filo’s native Louisiana in the late 1980s and early 1990s to refer to an unsophisticated, rural Southerner): “rude, unsophisticated, uncouth.” Filo’s college girlfriend often referred to Filo as a “yahoo.” This meaning derives from the name of a race of fictional beings from Gulliver’s Travels.

gullivers-travels  GT Yahoos


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