Don’t know something? Google it up. That is what we now say if we want information.
With over a billion pages indexed today, the Google search engine is a go-to when searching up information. About a month ago, Google celebrated its 20th anniversary in its headquarters in Mountain View, California. That’s 20 years of googling!
We know Google is one of the tech giants worldwide, but ever wondered how Google became such a well-known name? Let’s take a look.
How It Got Started
In 1996, two students from Stanford University, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, wanted to find a better version of a search engine.
At the time, search engines returned webpages that best matched the keywords that one types into the search box. Page and Brin proposed organizing the search results based on "backlinks" -- in other words, the more websites that linked to your page meant that your page would feature on the top. They reasoned that a webpage that was linked from many other webpages would mean it had something valuable to offer. This technology is the backbone of Google even today.
Page and Brin decided to name this search engine BackRub, but eventually changed the name to Google, a misspelling of the word “googol” or 1 followed by a hundred zeroes. They wrote their program using Java and Python, and the first computer server frame (that housed the hard drives for storing data)was made out of Lego blocks.
Then in 1998, Google, Inc. was formed in a garage in Menlo Park, California. By the end of the year, Google had an index of 60 million pages. A year later, after receiving $25 million in funding, they moved to Mountain View, California, where their headquarters, or the Googleplex, is still located. From there, the company rapidly expanded into the tech giant it is today.
Google Grows, And Grows...
From 2000 to 2004, Google partnered with Yahoo! and became its primary search engine, and they started selling advertisements based on commonly searched keywords. In 2004, the company went public or had its IPO (to learn more about IPO, read our article here).
In 2005, Google was valued at $52 billion, making it one of the top companies in the stock market. Over the next two years, Google introduced many online services and applications - some were an immediate success, but others did not last long. Gmail, Google Books, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Docs, Google+, and even Youtube were just some of the more successful applications released in the short period of time.
Google partnered with many other companies, including NASA, AOL, and Sun Microsystems. However, Google has also had rivalries with other companies, especially Microsoft. By 2010, Google has ventured into other fields beyond online services, like the Chrome web browser, the Android smartphone, the Chromebook, and self-driving cars. In 2015, Page and Brin created a parent company called Alphabet, and Google became one of its branches (see our article here).
If you did not know, “google” was added as a verb to the Merriam Webster Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary. With over 60,000 employees working in over 50 countries, Google still continues to be an essential part of our daily life; it is hard to imagine life today without their contributions.
Sources: Google, Fortune, Wikipedia