Google turns 23 today! The search engine giant we all know today was founded on September 4, 1998 by two Stanford Ph.D. Students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Google has changed a lot since its inception, from being a search engine to developing operating systems and self-driving cars, Google has come a long way. For its 23rd anniversary, let’s take a look at Google’s history, some facts about Google you might not know, and what the company has been doing lately.
Google started out as a research project for two brilliant minds on earth – Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Together with a third co-founder who left the company in 1998, Scott Hassan, they developed a PageRank algorithm that is the brain of today’s Google. Interestingly, the Page and Brin paper quoted a paper by Robin Li, who later went to the Chinese search engine Baidu.
Google was originally funded by four main investors: co-founder of the then popular Sun Microsystems Andy Bechtolsheim, professors from Standford University, entrepreneur Ram Shriram and, surprisingly, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Google.com was registered on September 15, 1997 and the company was finally incorporated on September 4, 1998. It has come a long way since then, but before we take a look at what Google is doing these days, let’s take a look at some of the interesting facts about Google that you may not know.
Some interesting facts
The name ‘Google’ was a misspelled word
Yes indeed! Page and Brin chose ‘Googol’ as the name for their search engine giant. Googol is a term for a very large number (ten to the power of one hundred). Page and Brin were intrigued by the name, but when they registered their website in 1998 they found that ‘Googol.com’ was not available. Instead, they registered their website as “Google.com” and we know how it turned out for Page and Brin.
Google was originally known as “Project BackRub”.
We all know that Google is a “web crawler” that crawls all websites for content. When Page and Brin wrote their first web crawler program, they called it “Project BackRub”. Some speculate that the early search engine nomenclature was a nod to backlinks. It lived on Stanford’s server for a while in the 90s but was eventually discarded because it was consuming a lot of bandwidth.
Gmail was launched on April Fool’s Day
The widespread email service we all know was launched on April 1, 2004. People didn’t believe it at first. A 2004 CNN report claimed that Google was giving away 1GB of email service – 1GB of storage in 2004 was considered a lot – made people more suspicious. But then we all know how it went for the Mountain View giant.
In 1997, Google wanted to sell its search engine to Yahoo!
Google’s Page and Brin, before officially launching the search engine in 1998, reached out to Yahoo for help when they were doing the rounds in Silicon Valley. According to a book by John Battelle, Brin and Page wanted to sell the patented PageRank System technology for $ 1 million. But Yahoo wasn’t interested at the time. Then, in 2002, when Google’s rating was upgraded, Yahoo made an offer to buy Google for $ 3 billion, but the duo turned it down.
The first Google server consisted of stacked Legos
The first storage system ever used by Google was actually made out of Legos. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin built it themselves. It’s very interesting to see that the server used all of the Google colors – red, yellow, blue, and green. Hard drives were maxed out at 4GB at the time, and they stacked 10 in this Lego motel. In 1999, Brin and Page gave it to Stanford University.
What’s up with Google these days?
Google has advanced into many areas since its inception. The company deals with streaming video, makes smartphones, makes the most used operating system in the world, has the most used navigation software, it deals with computers and so on. In 2015, Google announced plans to reorganize its diverse interests into a conglomerate called Alphabet Inc. Google is now a subsidiary of Alphabet, Sundar Pichai is the CEO and Larry Page is a board member, employee and majority shareholder of Alphabet. The company most recently held its I / O conference in May 2021, which announced Android 12 and AI advances like LaMDA, MUM, and more.
The company that started as a research project has come a long way and I can’t wait to see where it goes.
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