Google first registered their domain on September 15th 1997 and officially founded the company on September 4th in 1998. Google’s ‘official’ birthday has shifted over the years, but it’s now celebrated on the 27th of September.
We’ve seen many famous Google Doodles over the years, but we bet you’ve forgotten the first-ever Google Doodle (which was actually introduced to signify the creators were out of office)!
Google was developed by two men called Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford Uni, as a ‘happy accident’ based on Page’s dissertation theme (the mathematical properties of the web). They both worked for Stanford’s Digital Library Project whose main goal was to “develop the enabling technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library”, and soon Brin joined Page in the development of what we now know to be Google.
After using a web crawler to analyse the web and how it worked at the time, Page and Brin soon realised that they could actually improve upon how current search engines served results so that search engines were more useful to users (at the time it was based on how many times the search term appeared on the page). The ‘BackRub’ program that Page developed ranked website backlinks by their importance and it was decided to work on a system that sorted results into their ranks by relevance and not search term frequency.
Initially, Page and Brin were against advertising and ad pop-ups and even documented this in 1998, however, changed their mind fairly early on, allowing for text-based ads, and Google Adwords was released in October 2000. Google Images has a funny introduction – it was actually released in July 2000, in response to the most popular search query they had seen yet, which was to see Jennifer Lopez’s green dress worn to the 2000 Grammy Awards. Consumer needs, hey?
Google acquired Pyra Labs in February of 2003 (which we now know as the popular blogging tool, Blogger). Google bought Blogger with the view to create an improved search engine, providing more accurate results using fresh data sources from weblogs.
Gmail was launched on the 1st April 2004 – and potentially changed the way we work today. We all know Google to be a little tongue-in-cheek, so a lot of web users assumed that Google’s press release was an April Fools, as Google hadn’t expressed this intention previously. Built by Paul Buchheit (Google employee) initially to just act as a search engine for his own email, Gmail quickly overtook Hotmail and Yahoo, offering 1GB of storage and keyword search features.
Google released Maps in February 2005, and it works by downloading grid squares from the server as a user drags their way around the map. It was initially developed by brothers Lars and Jens Eilstrup Rasmussen but was acquired by Google in October 2004 who further developed the program into what we know as Google Maps today. In September 2005 Google formed a partnership with NASA so they could provide us with more in-depth weather information in real-time on Google Earth. They also improved Google Moon and Google Mars’ resolution for their 3D imagery.
YouTube was acquired by Google in November 2006, although they already had Google Video. The acquisition was made as YouTube held more of the market space (46% of all visits out of the top 5 online video sites at the time) and in 2006 was the 10th most popular online video destination. Why? With more market share, more advertising revenue could be made by YouTube and content creators alike.
In 2008, Google Chrome was released. Up until then, Google was a website that allowed web searches to be made, whereas Chrome is an actual web browser.
2011 introduced us to Google Panda, which was an algorithm update focused on lowering the rank of lower quality sites, sites with thin pages or irrelevant content, meaning higher quality and more relevant websites had a better chance of climbing up the SERPs. In 2011, Google also hit a huge milestone: 1 billion unique site visitors! Google made their fourth and most successful venture into the social media world in June 2011, launching Google+, a network where you can create statuses, post images, create friend groups, send messages and more after previously launching (and retiring) Google Buzz, Google Friend Connect and Orkut.
In 2012, Google Drive was released, allowing users to use cloud storage to access files across all devices and share them. Drive offers 15 gigabytes of free data.
Alphabet Inc was created during Google’s restructuring in 2015 and is the parent company of Google and any child companies.
Ending a 7-year long investigation, in June 2017 Google was hit with a fine of $2.7 billion dollars (well over £2 billion). Though there were many contributing factors, the general consensus of the case was that Google were promoting their own services over others’ and that they had ‘abused its dominance’.
Growing Google even further…
Google recently held a keynote, discussing future developments. The whole stream that was released was over an hour long, so we’ve condensed the main points down for you: