The History of Google: 1995-2013
It’s difficult now to imagine a world without Google.com, the famous search engine that revolutionized how people search for information. However, it’s only been around since 1998 when Google became a registered corporation. Since then, Google has become known for their search engine, and also the new technology products they’ve entered into an ever-changing market. The company has become known as one of the best companies to work for, and even created their own web browsers, laptops, tablets, and more. The scope of Google’s reach is virtually unfathomable as it’s creators, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, have sought out to organize the worlds seemingly infinite amount of information and make it available to everyone from the very beginning. Many would say they have accomplished just that.
Larry and Sergey met in 1995 when Sergey was assigned to show Larry around the Stanford campus. The two developed a search engine for Stanford called BackRub. This search engine lasted over a year, but was scrapped as it was taking up too much bandwidth on Stanford’s servers. On September 15th, 1997, the Google domain was registered. The name is symbolic of the creators’ desire to organize the world’s information. Google is a take on the work “googol” which comes from mathematics. It is a term describing a number starting with 1 and containing 100 zeroes. (Google)
In August of 1998, the company had a newsletter called the “Google Friends Newsletter”, later replaced by the blogs and Google +, it was designed to keep people abreast of news within the newly created corporation. During the same month, Larry and Sergey went to Burning Man, a concert in the Nevada desert. To keep people up to date as to where they were going, they integrated the “Man” into their logo. This was the first Google Doodle. The doodles have come to be famous in and of themselves, changing daily, they stem from historical events that occurred on the day in which they appear.
It wasn’t until 1999 that the company moved out of Larry and Sergey’s garage office. They actually moved twice in the same year, initially moving to Palo Alto, California, and then later to Mountain View, California. Shortly thereafter in 2000, Google added it’s first ten foreign language searches, a couple of which were French, Spanish, and Norwegian. This was the first step in the globification of Google. One of Google’s major revenue streams is instituted in the same year. Google Adwords is launched to the first 350 customers. (Google) In 2001 the first international office is established Tokyo, Japan.
2004 was a big year for the company. In March, the company moved to what they call the “Googleplex” and have over 800 employees. In the next month, they launched Gmail. Gmail was initially an invite-only email but eventually became open to all users. Today, Gmail serves 425 million users in multiple formats. Columbia College has contracted with Google in recent years to manage it’s student email accounts, @cougars.ccis.edu. Picasa is acquired later in 2004, which is a photo editing software still available today. The biggest move for Google in 2004 was it’s initial offering of stock. It offered 19,605,052 of Class A common stock on the New York Stock Exchange at an opening price of $85/share. (Google)
In 2005, Google launched Google maps. This program allows users to map out directions, find locations, and find businesses in a location of their choosing. Later in the same year, Google Analytics is released. Google analytics is a type of data mining tool allowing businesses to isolate key words that make their webpages easier to find. In the next year, Google announced the release of Google Translate. This is an online translation software powered by Google that allows users to translate from one language into another. It is programmed with many languages from all over the world. In October of 2005, Google announced the acquisition of YouTube.com, a website that allows users to post videos of everything ranging from how-tos to pranks.
In September of 2008, Google launches Google Chrome, a web browser. It’s claim to fame now is that Chrome is used across a wide array of products, such as tablets, smart phones, lap tops, and desk top computers. In 2009, Google came out with Mac and Linux versions of the web browser. In 2010 Google changed it’s name to Topeka on April Fool’s Day. The city of Topeka, Kansas had previously changed it’s name temporarily to “Google” in an effort to get fiber optic networks into the city. Another big rollout in 2010 was the Nexus One. This device allowed Google to expand into the emerging tablet market using the Android operating system. In 2011, Google acquired Zagat. This company rates businesses for consumers as sort of a consumer guide. Zagat ratings are touted by these businesses that do well as they are viewed as an accomplishment. Also in 2011, Google entered into the laptop market with it’s introduction of the Chromebook. Most recently, Google has begun laying “Google Fiber” Google’s own fiber optics network starting in Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri. Last year they moved into Austin, Texas and Provo, Utah. (Google)
Since it’s inception in 1997, Google has brought about new and innovative technologies and expanded it’s business to reach into new areas while furthers the company goal of organizing the world’s information. It’s core business, the Google search engine, has an algorithm that changes continuously to more aptly do it’s job-find relevant sites quickly for users. This algorithm, obviously, isn’t detailed anywhere as this would compromise Google’s advantage in the market. However, the changes that occur have been made known. Google has released thousands of updates since 2000. Many times, the incremental change in the algorithm is minimal and goes unnoticed by users. However there are bigger updates that come out from time to time that create major changes in how sites are found and displayed.
Early updates changed the way that that refreshes came about. The “Google Dance” was a term explaining how different data centers were taken out of rotation to allow the updates to be pushed out. This was abandoned as it seemed to be an inefficient way of pushing out algorithmic and data refreshes. After the earlier years, there was a push for the algorithm to be modified to focus more on page relevance. This means making the websites returned from a query in the search engine would be much more relevant to the user’s search.
Today, Google has taken it’s market price from it’s original offering price of $85 on just over 19 million shares, to a closing price April 25th, 2014 at $516.08 on just over 679 million shares of stock. (Google Finance) In March of this year, Google Inc. acquired Green Throttle Games and in April acquired Titan Aerospace which builds solar-powered drones. (Reuters) This is a clear indicator of company that has leadership with vision and drive to be the best at what they do.
From the beginning, Google’s creators Larry and Sergey have strived to organize the world’s information and make it accessible to the masses. They began in a garage and over the last decade and a half, have turned their company into one of the world’s largest companies, and have branched out into many technology markets outside their search engine. They have worked with companies like Motorola and Samsung to create the Android operating system and the Chromebook laptop. They have acquired businesses that further their mission, like YouTube, Zagat, and Picasa. The future of Google looks positive with an ever-increasing presence in all facets of the technology marketplace.
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