It’s become the ‘go to option’ for the majority of online searchers ever since it’s startup on September 7, 1998. But how did Google start and eventually become the world’s most popular search engine?
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Larry Page and Sergei Brin
Larry Page and Sergei Brin met as graduates at Stanford University in 1996. They both shared the same technical interests and decided to combine forces to construct a search engine.
Their first attempted project was a search engine named BackRub. It was a new kind of search engine that scanned the links that connected various websites to see which ones stood out as an authority.
They carried on working on BackRub until they set up a data center in Page’s university dorm.
During this time they became close friends with a student named David Filo. Filo was the brains behind the Yahoo system that launched a few years earlier. He suggested to Page and Brin that it might make sense for them to start up some sort of company for their new search engine.
The pair took Filo’s suggestions on-board and decided to scout around and look for possible investors to back them. They struck gold when they finally encountered Andy Bechtolsheim.
The Initial Investment
Andy Bechtolsheim was one of the founders of Sun Microsystems and he was more than impressed by the demo he received off Page and Brin.
After careful consideration he decided to hand over an initial investment of just over $100,000 so the pair could continue developing this new search technology.
After this initial investment other parties started to take note of the project the Stanford pair were developing. Before long they had managed to attract over $1M of investment to build their project further.
On September 7, 1998, Google Inc. was finally born…in a garage in Menlo Park, California. This garage belonged to a friend of Page and Brin who was generous enough to let the pair use his space for free.
Within a few days of launch Google employed it’s first worker – Craig Silverstein. This first employee was later to become Google’s Director of Technology.
For the first few months of it’s life Google handled no more than 10,000 search queries a day. But the searchers behind these queries soon came to realize that the search engine was a VERY reliable source of information.
The whole process sort of snowballed and in 1999 the search engine was looking at about 500,000 queries a day.
Page and Brin realized that the shady garage was no longer big enough to handle the beast they had created. They decided to build a new headquarters in Mountain View, California.
The Rise of a Titan
Reputation is everything in the online world and Google was building up an outstanding portfolio. The more praise they received off online giants the more publicity that came their way.
Before long the offline media started to show an interest and the awards started rolling in. They became well known for effectiveness, relevance, speed and reliability – their user base grew by the day!
In the year 2000 Yahoo decided that Google’s algorithm was a lot more effective than theirs so they joined forces. Google quickly became the provider of supplementary search results on Yahoo’s main site.
At this point in time it was estimated that Google had passed the 50% share of the total search market. Other search engines began to strike deals with the powerhouse of internet search.
These days up-and-coming search engine projects have a tendency to mimic any algorithmic changes made by Google. Most SEO efforts are aimed at Google and Google alone.
The Titan goes from strength to strength…
Acquisition = Growth
Since 2001 Google has taken every chance available to snap up useful up-and-coming companies and make them part of their platform. The first company they centered on was called Pyra Labs.
Pyra Labs had developed a simple and easy blogging platform in 1999 and Google knew they could improve on this system. They eventually turned it into the popular Blogger ( Blogspot ) platform that is publicly free to use to this day.
In early 2006, Google decided to move onto a small company named Upstartle who had developed a promising word processor. This program eventually became Google Docs & Spreadsheets.
Later that year Google decided to go for one of the real ‘big players’ online and managed to buy up YouTube for a cool $1.65 billion. They decided to keep YouTube as a separate entity and not incorporate it into the Google brand.
Since the massive capture of YouTube Google has also managed to buy up JotSpot ( October 31, 2006 ) along with Gapminder’s Trendalyzer and Adscape Media ( March 17, 2007 ).
Criticism of Google
Over the years Google has had many complaints aimed at it concerning compilation of data and alleged misuse and manipulation of search results.
There are also concerns about how Google makes use of others’ intellectual property leading to many conspiracy theorists believing that ‘Google sees all’.
In recent times a selection of ‘green’ parties have also brought up concerns over the full energy consumption of Google’s main servers.
How Did Google Start?
So, as you can see, Google started off life in the very humble surroundings of a bleak garage in Menlo Park, California and grew rapidly into the online beast we all use today.
What’s next for Google? Leave your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below.