We have J.Lo and Versace to thank for Google Images

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

While the combination of little else than baby oil and a top knot attempted to the break the internet recently, it was apparently Jennifer Lopez and that Versace dress that initially upended the web all the way back in 2000.

This image was removed due to legal reasons.

As Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, writes in a recent essay, Jennifer Lopez's cut-to-there palm-printed gown generated such an unprecedented demand for images that the fledgling search engine was inspired to develop what is now the Image Search feature. Schmidt explains:

"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: J.Lo wearing that dress. Google Image Search was born.”


It's fascinating to think a dress (and in this case, a swatch of fabric, if we're being honest) inspired such innovation, especially in light of the knowledge that the Versace gown was Lopez's last choice for the event. As she told W Magazine in 2013:

"We had looked at a few dresses, and nothing was right…My stylist said, there's this one dress, but other people have worn it. I tried on the Versace and decided to wear it anyway….This loud sound started from the back of the room — it was kind of like a roar, over me in the dress."

To think of what never could have been, for either Google or red-carpet fashion. That's what they call "synergy."

Marjon Carlos is a style and culture writer for Fusion who boasts a strong turtleneck game and opinions on the subjects of fashion, gender, race, pop culture, and men's footwear.

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