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  • Lawrence Ng

Facebook Is Now Meta, How Big Tech Companies Got Their Names

Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg recently announced that the Facebook company is now called Meta. The rebrand is part of the technology firm's efforts to move away from its identity as just a social media company and towards Zuckerberg's goal to build the metaverse.

Credit: Greg Bulla

The name of the Facebook service will still be Facebook, but its parent company is now called Meta. This is similar to how Google's search engine is named Google but its parent company is called Alphabet.


Credit: Laurenz Heymann via Unsplash

Apart from the "Meta" rebrand, other technology companies have given themselves unique names. Throughout its 45 years of existence, Apple has been subject to many theories surrounding the inspiration behind its name. Some people think it is a reference to Adam and Eve, while others believe that it has a connection to Sir Isaac Newton's discovery of gravity due to a falling apple. The latter has some truth to it because Apple co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs designed a logo for Apple, which had Newton on it.

Credit: Apple

But according to Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Jobs pitched the name "Apple Computer" after the latter went to Robert Friedland's All-One Farm, an apple orchard. Jobs said that he was on a fruitarian diet when he thought of the name, which he thought "sounded fun, spirited and not intimidating". Aside from that, the Apple name would get the company ahead of Atari — a company that Jobs used to work for — in the phone book.


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The word "Samsung" means "three stars" in Korean. Samsung founder Lee Byung-chul chose the name in line with his vision for the company to "become powerful and everlasting like stars in the sky".


Credit: Alexander Shatov via Unsplash

As for the popular photo and video-sharing service Instagram, its name is a portmanteau of the words "instant" and "telegram".


Credit: Hotmail

Hotmail founders Sabeer Bhatia and Jack Smith named the company "Hotmail" as it contained the letters html, alluding to the HTML programming language used to help create the service. Hotmail was acquired by Microsoft in 1997 and relaunched as in 2012.


Credit: Yahoo

Meanwhile, Yahoo's name references the word "yahoo", which was coined by Jonathan Swift in his book "Gulliver's Travels". The term described repulsive, filthy creatures that resembled humans. Jerry Yang and David Filo, the founders of the aforementioned email company, thought of themselves as yahoos and believed that the term would be an appropriate name for the firm.


Credit: Sergio Perez via Reuters

As for information technology and networking company Cisco, its name is short for San Francisco. If you look at its logo, you'll see that it resembles the suspension cables on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Founders Leonard Bosack and Sandy Lerner chose the city as their company's namesake as this is where they founded the firm in 1984.


Credit: ASUS

Consumer electronics firms have also taken creative inspiration when naming their companies. ASUS is named after the mythical creature Pegasus. The founders didn't include the first three letters in order to get a high position in alphabetical listings.

The company explained the uniqueness of the winged horse in Greek mythology, which is a symbol of wisdom and knowledge. ASUS, it says, "embodies the strength, purity, and adventurous spirit of this fantastic creature, and soars to new heights with each new product it creates".


Credit: Kyodo

Meanwhile, Japanese company Sharp is named after its first product: an ever-sharp pencil that was made in 1915.


Written by Sophia Lopez

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