Since its birth in 1997, Google has grown to become one of the most successful companies in history with annual revenue of US$ 31.12bn [Source: Yahoo Finance]. So much so, that it has basically become a household thing to suggest “Google it” for just about anything! I know I have said that before!
It all started with two Stanford computer science graduates, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, whose aim was to “organise a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web”, and as we all know, they certainly managed that! Further advances have then seen revolutionary services such as Google Earth
and Google Maps
become a predominant focus for businesses and many others.
(Left, Larry Page and Right, Sergey Brin)
So, how did Google achieve world domination from such humble beginnings you might ask?
Similar to social networking giant Facebook, Google actually started life as an Ivy League computer experiment known as BackRub. This quickly outgrew the campus’s bandwidth however, so the next step was to gain an investment of US$100,000 from the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, Andy Bechtolsheim. Not only was this a good move for them financially, but their investment also gave them very strong industry credence due to Bechtolsheim’s reputation. This was quickly followed by the creation of the name “Google”, which actually came from a spelling error made by Larry Page when attempting to write “Googol” which meant the number 1 followed by one million zero’s (symbolising endless results).
In addition, Google’s progress received praise in the form of PC Magazine, which named Google as its search engine of choice in its Top Web Sites of 1998, reporting that Google “has an uncanny knack for returning extremely relevant results” – something that remains true today.
In 1999, Google strategically partnered up with Yahoo to become its search provider which turned out to be a very smart move. Its bosses ability to spot surfers’ needs and set trends in search have been a vital factor in its evolution and in the year 2000, Google saw the launch of itself in 25 languages and its first billion-URL index, ranking it the World’s Largest Search Engine!
Google’s growth has been fast and progressive and has seen many key industry players and millions of dollars be invested each year. However, Google doesn’t seem to have lost that personal touch, a sense of innovation and creativity or its sense of humour. For example, its popular Google Doodles
have become a must-see for surfers on a daily basis. It is these little touches that build a rapport between Googlers and their Google, helping to drive traffic to websites across the world.
An example of a Google Doodle
October 2000 and Google Adwords
is launched with 350 customers. It is a service that lets you create and run adverts for your business quickly and simply. Adwords ads are displayed under “Sponsored links” in the side column of a search page and may also appear in additional positions above the free search results, meaning that you will be advertising to an audience that is already interested in your business with no monthly charge.
Google’s next step was to then offer the ‘Google Images Search’, launched in July 2001 which offered access to 250 million images by displaying results through thumbnails that also connected the image to the website that it came from. This proved to be very beneficial for everybody involved as it is a tool that is regularly used by people and businesses. I regularly use this service for simple things such as looking up a car that I like the look of, or even looking up locations or places of interest. By 2005, their image index reached 10 billion images, with its service receiving over one billion page views a day by 2010.
Following the hugely successful release of Google Images, Google’s team then began to get really creative and had a very productive couple of years. This included the creation of Google News
in September 2002 with 4000 new sources, December 2003 saw the development of Froogle where you can search for things to buy (now known as Google Product Search), Google Print in December 2003 (which later became known as Google Book Search) and its first attempt at entering the social networking world with ‘Orkut’ in January 2004, all of this whilst Google grew its search index to a new milestone: 6 billion items, including 880 million images! Rapid growth if you ask me!
2005 also proved to be another busy year for Google. After reaching another milestone in Image search: 1.1 billion images indexed, Google Maps then went live. It offered street maps, a route planner for travelling by foot, car, or public transport and an urban business locator for numerous countries around the world and now receives prime placement on the Apple iPhone. In addition to Google Maps, Google Earth was unveiled to the world.
was finally released in November 2005. This was a free service provided for measuring the impact of websites and marketing campaigns and is now regarded as the most widely used websites statistics service, currently in use at around 49.95% of the top 1,000,000 websites (as currently ranked by Alexa) including the likes of Twitter and Myspace.
One of the biggest moves by Google was the acquisition of YouTube
for $1.65 Billion in Stock which happened in October 2006. This combined one of the largest and fastest growing online video entertainment communities with Google’s expertise in organizing information.
Since 2006, Google has continued to grow and continued to create new ideas and services such as Google Street View
and many more and will continue to do so for many years to come. Who knows where they will be in another 10 years time or how big they could be? You never know, they could literally be running the world? Whose to say that this wouldn’t be possible considering that Google was only founded in 1997!