The Day JLo’s Dress Inspired Google

Catherine A. Jones
 | March 4, 2024

In February 2000, during the Grammy Awards, Singer Jennifer Lopez, aka JLo, graced the red carpet wearing a jaw-dropping green Versace jungle print dress. The gown, which hugged her curves, revealed a daring neckline that left everyone in awe. Little did anyone know that this fashion moment would go far beyond the Grammys. This is the day JLo’s dress inspired the creation of Google Images.

JLo’s Dress Inspired Google Images

She wasn’t the first to don the dress, but Lopez clearly wore it best.

“… we really had a choice between two dresses,” Lopez explains in an interview years later. “And one was – I don’t know – kind of like I think a white dress or something. And the other one was the Versace jungle print dress. And my stylist goes, ‘I think you should really wear the white dress because three people have worn this dress.’”

She ignored her stylist’s recommendation, and chose the now-famous Versace dress.

JLo’s fashion statement on the red carpet became an instant sensation. The media buzzed with discussions about its audacity, elegance, and sheer impact. But it wasn’t just the fashion world that took notice. Internet users around the globe were equally captivated. They turned to the fledgling search engine: Google.

The Birth of Google Images

Years later, Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt revealed an astonishing truth. After JLo’s Grammy appearance, there was an unprecedented surge in searches for photos of the dress. People craved visual evidence of this fashion statement. But the tech giant wasn’t ready.

“ … after the 2000 Grammy Awards, where Jennifer Lopez wore a green dress that, well, caught the world’s attention,” Schmidt, now the Chair of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence, wrote in Project Syndicate in 2015. “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: J­Lo wearing that dress.”

At the time, Google was already a powerful tool for finding information through text-based searches. However, the world wanted images. It wanted that dress.

Luckily, Google’s co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin recognized the need and immediately set out to create a dedicated image search feature.

“So many people went searching for this, and they had no way to search a picture at that time on the internet. So they created Google images,” Lopez later told Access Hollywood.

Google Image Search launched in July of 2001.

The Versace Dress Redux

Fast-forward to 2019. Jennifer Lopez, now an international superstar, stepped onto the runway at Versace’s Spring/Summer 2020 show in Milan. The crowd held its breath as she strutted in a modernized version of the same iconic dress. Social media erupted, and the footage of JLo in the updated Versace gown garnered millions of views.

The Milan Fashion Week show paid homage to both the original dress and to Lopez herself. So, there she was again — the embodiment of a fashion moment that had sparked a technological revolution.

“Vogue reports that the final few models in the show walked the catwalk to Lopez’s 2001 song Love Don’t Cost a Thing, before a montage of Google Image searches for the original Grammy’s dress was projected onto the walls,” the BBC writes.

The Legacy Lives On

Today, Google Images stands as an integral part of our online experience. It allows us to explore the visual tapestry of the world, from historic moments to everyday snapshots. 

And all of it began with a daring green dress that JLo fearlessly wore to the Grammy Awards — a dress that forever changed the way we search for and appreciate images online.

“Who knew?” Lopez asks. “One person can change the world. One dress can change the world.”

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