The project grew into something of a legend within the computer science department and campus network administration offices. At one point, the BackRub crawler consumed nearly half of Stanford’s entire network bandwidth, an extraordinary fact considering that Stanford was one of the best-networked institutions on the planet. And in the fall of 1996 the project would regularly bring down Stanford’s Internet connection.
“We’re lucky there were a lot of forward-looking people at Stanford,” Page recalls. “They didn’t hassle us too much about the resources we were using.”
If that’s not one of the best arguments for liberal computing and network usage policies on university campuses, I don’t know what is, especially considering the direct monetary benefits Stanford has reaped from Google’s success.