It’s hard to recall what life was like before Google. At least that’s what I hear—my generation essentially grew up with it. But I’ve been told stories of what searching the Internet was like before the days of page rank, and how people dialed in using software downloaded off AOL CDs (now collectibles) mailed to their door. The search engine has since become a staple in the daily lives of Internet users around the world—maybe sometimes for the worse, but mostly for the better.
Today there are 18 candles on Google’s cake, marking the fortuitous collaboration in 1998 between Stanford university students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who together spawned a company that would basically change the face of the Internet forever—one that is now worth $527B dollars and valued as the world’s second most valuable company, behind Apple.
But how much do you actually know about this Google that you can’t live without? We decided to compile a few fun facts and milestones about the search engine that is now so much more than a search engine. And, of course, we used Google to do it.
- The name Google is a play on word for “googol,” a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros.
- Google’s original name was BackRub, based on the system finding and ranking pages based on back links.
- Google has more than 57,000 employees in 60 countries.
- The Google interface is offered in 103 languages (including Klingon!).
- Gmail has more than 425 million users.
- Google is worth $527B. Stock rose 43% in 2015 and earnings per share soared 17%.
- Google has been acquiring, on average, more than one company per week since 2010.
- Google has invested over $2.5B in clean energy through wind farms and solar power.
- Google has created over 2,000 doodles to date. An annual “Doodle for Google” contest is held for junior high and high school students to submit their entries. The 2016 submission period opened September 16.
- The Google Self-Driving Car Project started in 2009 and has driven over 1.8 million miles. Google releases monthly reports to the public on the progress of the project on their website.
- Google has a pet T-rex, named Stan, which lives at their California headquarters. Founders bought it to remind the employees to not let Google go extinct.
- Google regularly rents goats to graze (mow) their lawn at their Mountain View, CA, headquarters as part of their Green initiative.
- In 2006, the Oxford dictionary added Google as an official word in its listings.
- Google was first stored on ten 4GB hard drives in a Lego casing, now showcased by Stanford University. The Lego design would let the founders expand storage capacity easily. The index now has over 100 million GB of data.
- Stanford still owns the patent to Google’s algorithm, named PageRank.
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin begin working on a new search engine for the Internet, which evolves to become Google.
- Google incorporates and moves into Susan Wojcicki’s garage in Menlo Park, California.
- Page and Brin move their company to Mountain View, California, and hire the company’s first in-house chef to prepare meals for workers.
- Tradition of Silicon Valley hoaxes begins with MentalPlex: Google’s ability to read your mind as you visualize the search results you want.
- Google AdWords goes live with 350 customers.
- Eric Schmidt is named CEO, with Page and Brin as presidents of products and technology.
- Google AdSense is launched.
- Gmail and Google SMS are launched.
- Google holds its first public stock offering.
- Google Maps, Mobile web search, Google Earth, Bookmarks and Google Analytics are released. Analytics is based on Urchin, a company acquired in March 2005.
- Google acquires Android.
- Google acquires YouTube for $1.6B.
- Google Finance, Google Calendar and Google Trends are launched.
- The Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionaries include the verb “google” in their listings.
- Google files for incorporation on September 4, 2008.
- First mobile app debuts on Apple 3G iPhone.
- First phone using the Android platform is released by T-Mobile.
- Google Chrome becomes available for download.
- Introduction of Nexus One and Google TV.
- Larry Page becomes CEO, Schmidt becomes executive chairman.
- Google surpasses one billion unique visitors (May).
- Google Wallet, AdWords Express and Google+ are introduced.
- Google Drive and Google Fiber are born.
- Google Play, Google Hangouts and ChromeCast join the suite of Google offerings.
- Google Chrome overtakes Internet Explorer as the most popular gateway to the Internet.
- First 3D Doodle created, honoring 40th anniversary of Rubik’s cube.
- Google unveils prototype of a self-driving vehicle.
- Page announces Alphabet, a new holding company to include Google’s core business and other entities.
- Google launches its artificial intelligence system called RankBrain.
- The AI-powered Go player AlphaGo (a brainchild of Google’s DeepMind research division) beat top-ranked Go player Lee Sedol.
- Google introduces Google Assistant.
- Google is holding a product launch on October 4 and is expected to announce Pixel phones, Google Home and Daydream.
Keeping up with Google’s acquisitions, innovations, algorithms and announcements is even harder than keeping up with the Kardashians! At Smart Panda Labs, we do our best to keep pace with the tech company, because almost any move Google makes has an impact on our work as digital marketers. Their rate of innovation and change reminds us what it’s like to be 18-years young. But before we grow complacent with all this innovation, creativity and change, let’s taken a moment on Google’s birthday to remember (or imagine) what life was like before the empire of the Internet age was born.