Looking for a place to eat? Need to look up a phone number? Want to know the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow? Interested in learning more about Egypt? Biology? The sun? Kim Kardashian's rear end?
What's your first move in your quest for knowledge? What do you do?
You 'Google' it! That's right. 'Google' is an adjective (In 2006, it was officially added to the dictionary). We use it in everyday conversation because since the early 2000's Google has become the most common way for us to obtain information. Google is a publicly traded company that provides internet services on a global scale. It's no longer just a search engine, it's now a massive conglomerate. A superstructure made up of over 70 offices throughout 40 countries with numerous products under its banner and a number of partnerships that range from car companies, to film studios, to NASA.
In 1996, Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched a research project called Google. The research project was to explore the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web. Page launched the research project to begin crawling the web in March of 96' where it began gathering backlink info from the web and would rank the pages by the level of importance. The system determined that the more places a link was listed on the web then the more important that page link must be. This set the stage for the Google search engine that we all know and love.
By 1998 the site had indexed around 60 million pages and the search results were deemed to be more accurate than competitors at the time like Hotbot and Excite. Users also preferred the simplicity of Google compared to other popular sites such as Yahoo!, Lycos, and AOL.
By the year 2000 the Google search engine had established itself as the leading search website with many dedicated and loyal users. At the time, ads were purely text based and sold on a per-click basis; a technique that is still implemented through Google Adwords today.
A Growing Enterprise
By 2004, Google handled over 90% of all internet search requests. Creators, Brin and Page, had been reluctant to take the company public but finally decided to take the plunge in August 2004. 19,605,052 shares were offered for $85.00 each, the majority of which were floated by Google. The sale raised $1.6 billion US and gave Google a market capitalization of over $23 billion.
Throughout the 2000's, Google continued to buy other companies and products to further develop or incorporate into the Google model including 'Blogger' owners, Pyra Labs, Jotspot, Adscape, and a little online video channel called 'YouTube'. They also formed strategic partnerships with NASA, Time Warner, and Sun Microsystems for research and development purposes.
During this time they continued to update and develop their search ranking system, expanded their advertising network, and dominated web searches, effectively beating competitors like Yahoo! and MSN.
The Future of Google
In 2015, Google reorganized the company to fall under the new subsidiary of Alphabet, Inc. Many of Google's noninternet brands were also spun into independent subsidiaries.
The growth from a Stanford research project to a massive global conglomerate and arguably the most wellknown internet brand in history wasn't without its trials and tribulations. Google encountered legal battles and failed product launches, but still continues to grow well beyond the boundaries of the internet and has shown time and time again that it's not afraid to change with the times. In many cases Google itself brings about those changes.
Take the Google SelfDriving Car Project as just one example of the company's innovation to change the world. Under the 'Google X' banner, the company has been developing and advancing automotive robotic engineering with a focus on creating and testing selfdriving cars. In the beginning they were retrofitting existing cars with the technology but in 2014 they began building their own cars (pictured below). They even hired former Hyundai America CEO, Chris Umerson, to direct the project. So far the project has road tested selfdriving cars across over 1.5 million miles in the US. While they've had some setbacks (the occasional crash), and have yet to field test in extreme weather, the results have been largely positive, and they plan to continue pushing the boundaries of automated personal travel.
Google is now known as one of the best employees in the world and the company is worth over $200 billion. Not bad for a startup that, in the beginning, was nothing more than a research project.