It is hard to imagine life without Google. It has become so embedded in our daily web searching that we almost take it for granted. We certainly cannot imagine how we would function without it. Well, thanks to Larry Page and Sergey Brin, we don’t have to. Google began as a research project conducted by the two Stanford University students in 1996. Page, who was already intrigued by the Web for its mathematical characteristics, was encouraged by his advisor to choose the exploration of mathematical properties of the World Wide Web for his dissertation theme. While search engines at that time ranked results according to how many times the search term appeared on a page, Page preferred to incorporate into the search function the number of links each website had. For instance, a website with more links would be more valuable than a site with fewer links so the search engine would place the site with more links higher.
Page’s project fascinated Brin, who had not yet settled on a thesis topic, and he soon joined Page in his project, which they named BackRub. Thankfully, BackRub was renamed Google, a play on the mathematical expression googolplex (the number 1 followed by 100 zeros). The domain google.com was registered on September 15, 1997, and one year later, they formally incorporated their company, Google.
Google attracted the attention of both academia and investors, and in August 1998, Page and Brin began receiving outside financing. By the end of 1998, Google had an index of about 60 million pages. Google’s search results were found to be superior to those of their competitors, like Hotbot or Excite.com, as well as more technologically innovative than sites such as Yahoo, Netcenter, AOL.com, and MSN.com.
The year 1999 was a busy year for Google. The company’s first patent was filed on August 31, 1999. This patent, entitled “Watermarking System and Methodology for Digital Multimedia Content,” is the earliest patent filing under the assignee name “Google Inc.” They would also move from their dorms to a garage in Menlo Park owned by Susan Wojcicki. Wojcicki would later help develop Google’s advertising business before becoming CEO of YouTube. At this point in time they were already processing 500,000 queries per day, and with the $25 million they acquired in funding, the company’s rapid expansion was inevitable. In 2003, Google moved to its current headquarters, known as Googleplex, in Mountain View, California.
The simplicity of Google’s search engine appealed to Internet users. In 2000, Google began selling advertisement with its keyword searches. Page and Brin had originally been against using advertising pop-ups in a search engine but they decided to allow text-based ads, which would not clutter the pages or slow down page loading speed. Google developed AdWords, an online advertising service that enables Google to use keywords determined by advertisers to place advertising copy on pages where it might be relevant. Advertisers pay when users deviate from their browsing to click the advertising copy. AdWord offers services such as pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and cost-per-acquisition (CPA) advertising. These services are important in that Google’s web advertising and web services generated revenue for Google at a time when many of its dot-com competitors were struggling to stay afloat.
The year 2004 was a productive year for Google as its growth continued with the launch of Gmail, its free web-based email service, and Google Earth. Google Earth is an online mapping service that allows users to find satellite images of most locations on earth. Google also introduced Google Books in 2004, a project that allows Google to scan books from major libraries and convert them into PDFs so that they can be accessed online, as well as searched, downloaded, and printed.
Google made its debut into the mobile operating system market in 2005 with its acquisition of the Android. In 2010, Google introduced the Nexus One smartphone, and in doing so entered into direct competition with Apple. In 2011, Google bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion and sold it off to Lenovo for $2.91 billion. This was actually considered a strategic move because Google wanted Motorola for the patents and came out of the deal with $3.5 billion of Motorola’s patents and their cutting-edge research lab.
Google currently has more than 60,000 employees in 50 different countries and while Google began as an online search firm, it offers more than 50 Internet services and products. Yet despite its hundreds of products used by billions of people around the world, including YouTube, Smartbox, and Google Search, Google remains true to its origins and is still the most widely used search engine on the Internet. Google has perfected the art of getting increasingly getting better and every we time we google someone or something, we send Google right to the top, which is the place where they are right at home.