A History of Google

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Google has revolutionized our world, from its humble roots to global dominance. Their groundbreaking innovations and timely acquisitions have expanded their reach while strengthening their portfolio.

Alphabet was established as an umbrella corporation for Google in 2015 to enable it to pursue emerging technologies without diluting its core offerings. Read on to gain more insight into its captivating history!

Founders Larry Page & Sergey Brin

Google began in 1995 when Larry Page met Sergey Brin while both graduate students in Stanford’s computer science program. Although from different backgrounds, the two hit it off immediately and began working together out of their dorm rooms to develop BackRub – an internet search engine that ranks documents according to how often other pages linked back to them.

Page and Brin’s search engine saw rapid expansion, growing to include other types of searches as well as adding a feature that allowed people to narrow search results. They rebranded it Google – an acronym of 1 followed by 100 zeroes representing an extremely large number.

As Google expanded, Page and Brin recognized their need for experienced leadership at the helm. In 2001 they hired former Novell CEO Eric Schmidt as Chairman and CEO – an appointment which Page famously described as providing parental supervision over Google. Schmidt provided balance to Page’s technocratic tendencies as well as years of experience managing a rapidly-expanding business.

Google has since evolved to include an impressive range of products and services, such as self-driving cars, wearable technology, the Nexus smartphone range, as well as many experimental research efforts in artificial intelligence, cloud computing and fiber internet connectivity. Pages and Brin are still financially secure from their shares in Alphabet; both now oversee Alphabet as its parent company as well as various projects within it.

Getting Started

At that time, Page was studying Computer Science at Stanford while Brin was working on his personal project that would later become the World Wide Web. Both men were intrigued by its potential of linking pages together to form one large document which could easily be searched.

Backrub, their initial search engine technology developed by the duo, utilized an innovative algorithm to track and index the rapidly expanding amount of online information. Based on simple logic: pages with more backlinks would rank higher in Google searches.

As Backrub became increasingly successful, Page and Brin began receiving outside funding. They soon incorporated Google Inc. in 1998 after accepting an investment of $100,000 from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy bechtolsheim, and soon implemented their “page rank” algorithm – revolutionizing Internet search by ranking websites according to importance. This approach allowed Google to quickly become dominant within its industry.

Google cemented its place as a powerful player in the advertising market with AdWords, its innovative contextual ad system. AdWords provided advertisers an opportunity to bid on keywords which then appeared as search results through an automated digital auction system.

Google’s First Office

1998 marked an exciting time of endless Snake games on brick cell phones and loud renditions of “Baby One More Time” on discman players – but it also saw two university students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, begin what would later become Google.

The garage-turned-office (pictured below) looked much as it does today on Google Street View; this was the first office where co-founders collaborated and discovered new methods of organizing information that made it more useful than ever.

By the end of 2000, Google was handling more than 100 million search queries every day and rapidly becoming popular with Internet users, earning top spots on multiple “Best of the Web” lists. Due to Google’s early success and continued marketing of their search technology and AdWords program — which allowed businesses to pay Google directly for ads related to keywords searched — they managed to avoid dot-com bust and remain profitable without experiencing a dot-com bust of their own.

But Google’s founders were constantly thinking up new ways to make it even more powerful and convenient for Internet users. In 2001, they expanded the service’s use on wireless devices – giving i-mode mobile phone users in Japan as well as Sprint PCS and Cingular Wireless subscribers around the world unrestrained access to billions of web documents that comprised Google’s rapidly expanding index.

Google’s First Product

Google’s first product was a search engine that ranked web pages by the number and importance of other pages they linked to, using a technology known as PageRank that looked across the whole web to assess relevance; it was far more advanced than existing systems which only looked at individual web pages at that time.

Page and Brin decided to name their search engine “Google,” a word play on “googol,” which refers to 1 followed by 100 zeros. Their choice reflected their mission to organize the vast amounts of information available online.

Google soon expanded to offer other services and products. They introduced email software, online documents and search advertising via AdWords; an automated digital auction that provided relevance for digital ads.

Google acquired several companies, such as YouTube and Keyhole – two satellite image suppliers that provided satellite images that were added to Google Maps and later used to develop the Google Earth app – before also developing its own mobile operating system, Android.

Google continued its phenomenal rise, becoming one of the world’s most powerful high-tech companies. But its mission of organizing global information and making it universally accessible remained intact; along the way it also developed numerous open source programming languages like Go that were designed specifically to scale with data volumes.