Microsoft is well known for their long list of fictional companies – the name of which crop up often in the documentation for their software. However they aren’t the only company to do so – Google has a fake company of their own – ‘Altostrat’.
The altostrat.com domain itself was created in November 2007.
A quick Google Search brings up this intranet page for ‘Project Eggplant‘ at Altostrat.
It also brings up the homepage of ‘Altostrat Pediatrics‘.
The Altostrat name makes an appearance in this Google tutorial on ‘Configure Google Apps for Calendar Interop‘.
And this tutorial on ‘Publish a private Chrome app‘.
So where did the name come from?
Getting to the bottom of the mystery
When I filter the Google search results to exclude pages before February 2008, the number of ‘Altostrat’ mentions falls off a cliff.
Why is that date significant? Turns out Google launched their new ‘Google Sites’ product on February 28, 2008.
Google launched Google Sites, basically a relaunch of Jotspot but with many more features. In short, this new software allows teams to share much like you could with Microsoft’s SharePoint.
According to TechCrunch, it took 16 months to relaunch Jotspot as Google Sites, so the registration of the domain in November 2007 fits with the same development timelines.
So my final explanation – Altostrat was an internal name used by the Google Sites team during the redevelopment of their product, and has been reused by others at Google in the years that have followed.