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Google has had many birthdays, all in September, the 7th, 8th, 26th and the 27th. Google first celebrated its birthday with a doodle on the 27th of September 2002 which is probably why this date has stuck. The company itself doesn’t exactly know its official birthday but we do know that it was founded in September 1998, making it 23 years old.
It does feel weird to say that I’m older than Google, albeit by 4 years, because I don’t remember a time when it wasn’t around. I remember other search engines such as Yahoo and Ask Jeeves, but none has stood the test of time like Google. The proof of this is that the word ‘Google’ is an actual verb and as of 2006 was put into the dictionary.
In 1996 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two PhD students at Stanford University, first had an idea to create a large-scale search engine. They then published the paper for this in 1998, and this idea became Google. Page and Brin initially called their search engine ‘BackRub’. Thankfully they later changed this and got the name Google from the word ‘googol’, the number one followed by a hundred zeros, which reflects the immense amount of searchable data. The pair wrote: “We chose our system’s name, Google, because it is a common spelling of googol, or 10 to the power 100 and fits well with our goal of building very large-scale search engines.”
After their first investment from Andy Bechtolsheim, Page and Brin moved from their dorms to their first ‘office’. This was a garage in Menlo Park, a suburban area in California. It belonged to Susan Wojcicki, who was employee number 16 and is now the CEO of YouTube. The tradition of keeping things fun and colourful started here, as they had a ping pong table and bright blue carpets.
Google started a trend of pretty unconventional things, from their initial server being made of Lego, to the first ‘Doodle’ in 1998. As the company grew, the first company dog, Yoshka was also introduced. In 2003, once they outgrew the garage, Google moved to its current headquarters, the ‘Googleplex’, in Mountain View California.
Google has expanded rapidly and now makes products used by billions globally. It is used all over the world in over a 100 different languages, answering trillions of queries a year. The company not only grew the search engine but has created products such as YouTube, Gmail and Android. This broad product portfolio and size means that it is one of the top four influential companies in the high-tech marketplace, along with Apple, IBM and Microsoft.
If I were to go into detail about all that Google has been through over the past 23 years we’d be here for a while! So here’s a short but sweet timeline on Google’s life so far. (I’ll probably be making a post on some of these topics if I haven’t already so stay tuned).
Lock, Samantha. “Birthday Doodle: Google’s 22nd birthday celebrated in special Doodle today”. Sep 2020
Hosch, William L. and Hall, Mark. “Google”. Encyclopedia Britannica. May 2020
Verge. “Google turns 20: How an internet search engine reshaped the world”. Sep 2018
Valinksky, Jordan & Sherman, Ivory. “Google’s incredible growth: A timeline” 2018
Satarino, Adam. “Google’s apps crash in a worldwide outage”. June 2021