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The History Of Google Search

Curious to know about Google’s history and how it all began? Check out our comprehensive guide to learn more about one of the biggest companies in the world.

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Kristi Ray
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Google has become synonymous with the internet. “Just Google it” has become a verb that we use in our everyday lives.

It is no longer just another search engine but a tool to make our everyday lives better and easier. Over the years, Google has expanded the utility of its tools, giving us more than just a means to explore the worldwide web. Being the most popular and visited web-based search engine in the world, Google has become an omnipresent, almost living being that we all require in our daily lives.

History Of Google Search

From learning new recipes, utilising Google Ads, to taking up DIY skills or exploring the deep, dark corners of the web, Google has enriched our lives in more ways than we can count. That being said, have you ever wondered about the history of Google and how it all started?

Allow us to answer some of your most pertinent questions about Google and its beginnings.

Oberlo Google Searches Per Day Statistic

Founding Fathers Of Google Search

Before diving into the nitty-gritty of what Google entails, let us find out about the founding fathers of Google - Larry Page And Sergey Brin. Google has fast-grown into the world’s largest web-based search engine, and this is all thanks to the brilliance of these fascinating gentlemen.

Both Page and Brin were computer science students at California’s Stanford University. During his years as a Computer Science graduate, Larry Page was working on an intriguing research project that dealt with search algorithms. In the year 1996, this search algorithm was given the curious name of “BackRub”.

Backrub Algorithm Update

Even though the inception of a search engine was not a new invention, Google, although a latecomer, would soon go on to becoming one of the most popular platforms to find just about anything on the internet. During its early years, Google moved around multiple times but finally settled at Mountain view.

This version of the 2003 Google rapidly expanded, and by 2004, Google made its first initial public offering and went on to become one of the most prominent media companies in the world.

The Journey Of Page And Brin

The story of Larry Page and Sergey Brin is a fascinating one. Both of them met at University and began their journey together, keeping in touch even after they graduated from their Computer Science programs. Brin, who was known for his expertise in mathematics, and Page, with his ever-growing interest in learning more about the behaviour of linking on the internet, created an algorithm known as PageRank.

Google Founders With Google Logo

This algorithm was named after Larry Page and explored the world of ranking search results based primarily on linking behaviour. The two technologies amalgamated to form the foundation of the most powerful search engine in the world, which was launched on the private network of Stanford in August 1996.

Their research paper became immensely popular and was published under the name “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.”

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How Larry Page And Sergey Brin Conceived The Name Google

Page and Brin were known for their creative brainwaves, and so, inspired by the multitude of links between pages, renamed their company to googol. So, why was it called googol, you may be wondering. Well, the word googol refers to a mathematical term (the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.)

The wordplay on the mathematical term googol (the number 1 followed by 100 zeros) was superbly apt for the company as it aligned perfectly with the vision of Page and Brin. Their newfound company represented this vision, then renamed Google, which would rewrite history by expertly assimilating information from the world and making it readily accessible on the web.

Google Decides To Take Another Leap Forward

As Google began to grow as a company, it started to catch the attention of investors as well as the academic community. However, it was only in 1998 that co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim made the huge decision of investing $100,000 in the company. Long story short, that was the inception of Google Inc.

Through the initial years of Google, the duo, Brin and Page, had almost no financial support to bring their company to a well-known standing in the world. However, thanks to the response of the CEO of Sun Microsystems to their IPO, they were finally able to move out of their dorms and shift to their first office.

Photo Of Google First Office Team

It may be surprising (or not) to know that Google’s first office was a garage in Menlo Park, California, which was owned by Susan Wojcicki. What may be more surprising to know is that Wojcicki was Google’s employee number 16 and is now the CEO of YouTube.

With not much else but some old, outdated computers, a ping pong table for entertainment, and a bright, blue carpet as their only prized possession, Google began their business.

Hiring Eric Schmidt To “Supervise” Google

Although the company was growing exponentially, Sergey Brin and Larry Page decided that it needed “adult supervision” in order to reach its full potential. So, in 2001, Page and Brin hired Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Novell, to guide Google. With his experience and immense talent, Schmidt soon joined the board of directors and went on to become the company’s Chairman in March 2001.

Novell Ceo Of Google

In 2004 it introduced some of our now-favourite Google products like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Drive. Schmidt stayed in his position as CEO of the company for ten years, after which he cheekily announced that the company “no longer required adult supervision.”

Of course, this wasn’t before Schmidt became the company’s executive chairman and left the spot of CEO wide open for Page. Honestly, there could be no person more befitting for the role of the company’s CEO than Page.

The (Failed) Relationship Between Yahoo And Google

Before Google became synonymous with the web and grew to become the most world’s popular search engine, Yahoo was the number 1 search engine on the internet. However, by the year 2000, Google’s popularity grew immensely, and soon, it became the search engine provider for Yahoo as well.

By early 2002, Yahoo attempted to acquire Google for a whopping $3 billion! However, Google blatantly announced its refusal, stating that it was worth at least $5 billion.

In the same year, Google would develop and release something that would change how we distribute and publish digital media on the web. Google announced the release of Google News, a popular content aggregation service that became a viral platform for browsing digital content online.

Learning About Google’s Parent Company - Alphabet

Not many people are aware of the fact that Google’s parent company is called Alphabet. In fact, it was Alphabet that allowed Google to expand its domain from a regular search engine to become a technology conglomerate. Alphabet Inc, which is the parent company of Google Inc, has its headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Alphabet Inc Family Tree Of Businesses

It is heavily involved in several other types of business, such as providing advertising services, software, hardware, cloud computing, phone, desktop, and mobile applications. It also provides business to several industries, which we will mention below -

  • Calico - developed to fight age-related diseases
  • Google Ventures - provides funding to new companies with big ideas (like Google itself had)
  • Google X - working on groundbreaking ideas and breakthroughs
  • Nest - provides users with fascinating smart home products
  • Google Capital - investing in long-term technology trends
  • Google - Ads, Google Maps, YouTube, Android, Google Search, Apps

Page released a memo to the company’s investors where he announced that the new design structure of Alphabet would essentially help the company be “cleaner and more accountable.” Furthermore, Page states that this structure will allow each business that Google owns to have more independence and freedom to grow, which is something that everyone was looking forward to.

With luck on its side, Alphabet’s new design structure was accepted well by its investors. How do we know this? Well, the company saw its shares shooting up to 6% after the announcement.

Google’s Move Into Googleplex

By July 2003, Google began to grow exponentially. The company started hiring engineers, had its own sales and ads team, and introduced Google’s first company dog - Yoshka. But we’ll talk more about the adorable mutt in just a bit.

As Google’s workforce and business expanded, it began looking for a larger workspace to accommodate its 1,000+ employees. It soon shifted based and moved to its new office, which became known as Googleplex. Now, Googleplex is the company’s largest campus. Moreover, it continues to expand and acquire additional buildings and spaces.

What About Yoshka?

Google has everything - even a dog! Yoshka is Google’s first company dog and its Top Dog. In fact, when the company relocated to its new office space - Googleplex, Yoshka was more than happy to join them. What’s more is that Yoshka even had an official job at Google, interviewing new applicants (but unfortunately no dogs) and later moved on to part-time consultation.

Yoshka Googles Top Dog

Unfortunately, Yoshka suffered a leg injury which meant no more work and running around the Googleplex office.

Ever since Yoshka’s introduction into the company’s office, there was a massive change in the atmosphere and vibe inside. Google decided to make its offices dog-friendly, encouraging its workers to bring their dogs to work more often.

After Yoshka’s death in 2011, the company built a cafe in honour of its Top Dog. In fact, Yoshka’s Cafe, which is what the cafe was called, even had a small museum that was dedicated to the beautiful Leonberger. This museum proudly displays Yoshka’s official Google badge, fluffy ball, collar, and favourite toy.

Yoshkas Cafe Photo

Currently, there are several dog parks in Mountain View’s campus designed especially for Google’s workers’ beloved pets. One of its most popular dog parks is called The Doogleplex. Furthermore, the company has a Google employee group and a message board called Doogler - created for its company’s employees and their pets.

Google 2004 -Officially Launched Gmail Services

Paul Buchheit, a Google employee, decided to address a major concern of the company - increased storage requirements and extensive internal communication. Buchheit had prior experience working with web-based email services and was confident in his skills to design a faster and responsive email service using Ajax.

Finally, Gmail was launched for the public on April 1st 2004. This email service featured advanced search, 1 GB of storage, and several other fantastic features that most competitor services lacked at the time. While most other companies offered a couple of mere megabytes as storage space, Google successfully captivated its billion audiences by offering a massive 1 GB of storage - which was unheard of at the time.

Google Time Line Of Professional Tools

One Of The Most Important Steps In Google’s Journey - Going Public

After Google received its initial investment of $100,000 from Bechtolsheim, it subsided on a multitude of angel investments from several firms on the market, one of the significant ones being Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.

Other venture capital firms like Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins invested in the company, which amounted to around 25 million dollars. What made Google’s IPO even more successful was its web advertising products. This lead to the company’s initial public offering made in 2009.

Although Google initially priced each stock at just $85 for a share, it eventually raised $1.7 billion, giving the company a total valuation of $27 billion.

The Next Big Move - Google Launched Google Maps

Google launched Maps in 2005, announcing in a statement that “Maps can be useful and fun.” However, it wasn’t until 2009 that Google rolled out one of its most significant updates - GPS navigation for mobile phones. Users soon realised the importance of this feature on their mobile phones as they could easily navigate unchartered territories without distinct fear.

Most Popular Navigation Tools

Google Buys YouTube

Several other giants on the market, like Yahoo and Viacom, attempted to acquire YouTube; however, it was Google’s efforts (and its offer of $1.65 billion) that finally enabled it to acquire YouTube in 2006.

Fortunately, the acquisition was beneficial to both parties. While Google was able to redirect most of the online video traffic towards itself, the latter successfully had access to Google’s tremendous resources - which it desperately required as a new company.

Acquisition Of DoubleClick

Google launched AdWords back in 2000, which made it known as one of the most vital forces in web advertising on the internet. However, it wasn’t until April 2007 that Google finally built its solid foundation in the advertising market by acquiring DoubleClick for $3.1 billion. This enabled Google to run display ads, which helped expand its reach even further across the internet.

Its acquisition of DoubleClick in April became its number one most expensive acquisition - till it acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion in 2001.

Digidir 7 Interesting Facts About Google Adwords

Google And Chrome

In September 2008, Google decided to hire Mozilla Firefox developers to help them bring a certain vision to life - developing a fast and stable web browsing software and search engine. This saw the inception of Google Chrome, which became the most popular web browser for mobile and computer systems globally in just a span of four years.

It has been ten years since Chrome was developed. Now, it has successfully become the most prominent driving force of the company, making Google search what it is today - the most relevant and popular software.

In September 2005, Google made a wise and strategic decision to purchase Android for around $50 million. However, it wasn’t until September 2008 that it made another major announcement - the launch of T-Mobile G1 or HTC Dream, the very first Android phone.

In fact, several features that Google’s first Android phone had become the basic pillars of most operating systems today. These include notification features, integration with Google services, open software technology, and more.

Welcoming Nexus One

As Android devices began gaining popularity, Motorola, Samsung, and HTC conducted several experiments, all of which were not entirely aesthetic or functional. Although all of these brands ran Google’s Android software, it was continually buried under unsightly and sometimes confusing hardware.

Well, all that changed with the introduction of the Nexus One. Although it was built by HTC, it used Google’s technology and was a near-perfect example of what Google envisioned for its Android devices.

2010 - The Good And The Bad For Google

The beginning of 2010 wasn’t the best of times for Google, as it was shocked to discover an extremely sophisticated phishing attack on the internal infrastructure of its Chinese website. This led to the company being forced to rapidly switch its gears, even though they were aware that it would be a risky move. However, it wasn’t long before these issues caused Beijing to ban Google from China.

A few months down the line, Oracle decided to file a lawsuit over Android, which, eight years later, is still in progress as Google attempts to appeal to the SC.

That said, by the end of 2010, Google rolled out seven cars, all Toyota Priuses, which were packed with sensational features that would amaze audiences worldwide. These hybrid cars were designed to be the company’s first self-driving cars, loaded with sensors and artificial intelligence to assist them.

Since then, Google has continued its research into self-driving technology with enterprises like Cisco Systems and IBM.

Launching Google’s Own Operating System

The next couple of years were significant for Google, as it began rolling out all types of new software, systems, and products that would eventually blow the minds of its audiences. One of the major launches that took place in 2011 was an open-source system developed by Google that would host web apps - the Chrome OS.

Soon enough, Google launched Chromebooks, which are still prevalent and continue to be a significant driver in the education industry.

Google And Its Failures

1. Google+

Inspired by Facebook and its growing popularity amongst consumers, Google decided to launch Google+. The only issue was - it created an invite-only network for sharing and viewing links, pictures, and chat with a close group of friends on Hangouts.

Unfortunately, audiences did not welcome Google+ with the same enthusiasm as they did for Facebook. After years of attempted redesigns and restructuring, Google finally decided to let go of the idea. So, although Google+ remains an entity on the internet, its user profiles are mostly inactive.

2. Google Buzz

A similar situation occurred when Google tried to launch Google Buzz - which lasted for a total of 22 months. The company attempted to clone Twitter; unfortunately, it added no significant features that would draw audiences away from Twitter and towards Google Buzz.

Although these are not the most relevant of Google’s failures, there are a few others that audiences remember (and some which they don’t). These include -

  • Google Labs - from 2006 to 2011
  • Google Now - 2012 to 2016
  • Orkut - 2004 to 2014
  • Google Allo - 2016 to 2019
  • Picasa - 2002 to 2016
  • Google Goggles - 2010 to 2018

Google X - Its Most Interesting Project

Google X is by far one of the most fascinating divisions of Alphabet. They have designed and developed several experimental hardwares like Google Glass - which was one of Google’s most famous products. Even though Brin was stoked to show off the wonders of Project Glass, it was quickly shut down due to privacy and safety risks.

Photo Of Google Glass

2013 - The Beginning And End Of Certain Google Products

2013 elicit mixed feelings from audiences - while this year saw the shutting down of the beloved Google Reader, it also saw the announcement of Google Chromecast. That said, Google barely added any updates to Chromecast since its launch, and audiences often wonder why that is. However, it remains one of the most straightforward and affordable ways to stream.

Stepping Into The AI Territory

By 2014, Google acquired DeepMind - an AI firm based in London. This was a brilliant move, as it slowly but surely made Google a leader in Artificial Intelligence technology.

Summing Up Google from 2015 To Now

2015 saw the reorganisation of Google’s structure which is now known as Alphabet Inc. Hiring the now-CEO of the company, Sundar Pichai, has been an immensely beneficial and brilliant move. In fact, Google released a new brand logo soon after this shift.

The year also saw the launch of Google’s Assistant - Amazon Alexa. And, although Google was slightly late in releasing its assistant, it has been a massive success - and will hopefully continue to be one. It has also launched several Smart Home products, Android handsets, computers, mobiles, and much more.

Google also continues to build new and improved software into its search engine to continue to improve the performance for users. All said and done; Google is a much bigger and more prominent entity on the market now. It has taken giant leaps since it started, which was a Stanford research project that began two decades ago.


Photo of Kristi Ray

Kristi Ray

Kristi is head of content production and editing at sitecentre and joined the team in early 2021 based out of our Sunshine Coast office to deliver higher-quality content to our partners. Kristi has a vast knowledge of copywriting styles and experience to accelerate the production of SEO friendly content at the highest levels.

Find them on their website: sitecentre and LinkedIn.

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