How Did Google Start?

How Did Google Start?

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.

Larry Page and Sergei Brin
Larry Page and Sergei Brin

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.

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12 comments on “How Did Google Start?

  1. How did google start? – This article on the history of google teaches us not to despise the days of little beginning. With dedication and all seriousness, anyone can achieve success. Today google has become a household name in online business and one of the most profitable investments.

    What’s next for google? Your guess is as good as mine. Thanks for the nice post.

  2. Thanks for the interesting article on how Google began…yet another garage operation that made good! I had not read the history behind Google before so this was a succint and digestible presentation.This company is leading the way in so many areas…

    The thread that I read and see between this company and other like FaceBook, PayPal, and so many others is that they look for a disruptive leap in the way business is done, and once they latch on to something that is effective, they continuously look for further innovation – they do not rest on theior laurels…

    Lessons we can learn for sure. having said that, there is also room for modeling what works as well…i.e. unless you are a genius, as you get started with online marketing, it seems like modeling what works make sense….

    Over time as Google has done, a person in the business can seek out gaps in the market or methodologies that represent a disruptive leap in how to do the business, and the products or services resulting will take on a life of their own, and you will be on the way to achieving success as Google (Now Alphabet plus a bunch of other companies)…

    Lessons for us all! Good post!

  3. Hey chris,

    Very informative article as i never know how Google become such a large giant by acquiring different companies. Chris do you think that monopoly of Google stays for a long time over other search engines or other search engines have taken the challenge and growing upward.

    Thanks again.

    1. To be honest Khan I don’t think anyone will ever really catch up with Google – they will always be one step ahead of the game!

  4. Nice post, I never asked myself how google started, but I must admit I got curious as soon as I saw your website preview. It’s amazing the fact that they started in a garage, it gives me hope to know that if one of the largest websites in the world started from the bottom, then I can grow large too. Thanks for the post!

  5. I never new how google started. Another garage operation that jumped to greatness. Like Apple, Microsoft, and Yahoo. What a well organized and thoughtful piece. The way you have tied it in with what you are promoting, as well as linking to more useful information on Google, without being heavily intrusive is very impressive. I will have to return here to try to absorb you technique. Well done.

    1. Absorb away mate – I take it you’re also a webmaster? Looking for a bit of inspiration? Leverage whatever you want from my site mate – but make sure your finished result is 100% unique (Google will only slap you for duplicate content otherwise!).

  6. I don’t know what will be the next for Google but I know that their success story has been something very unique. A company that rose so fast and has affected so many people’s lives. Google has an enormous power worldwide. Millions (or even billions) of people are visiting Google every day. And they rose so quickly. Usually it takes tens of years for some company to become huge but Internet has revolutionized the system.

    1. I know Roope – they are pretty impressive really aren’t they?

      I just had to write this article because I felt the need to research their beginnings myself. Glad I did, this is one of my favorite pieces on this site!

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