A Brief History Of Google On Its 18th birthday!


Google has a huge stake in consumer technology, the Internet and the tech business as a whole. As one of the largest companies in the world, Google’s influence is far-reaching, but many people go without ever learning the history of what’s now an internationally-recognized powerhouse.

Larry Page and Sergey Brin meet at Stanford University (1995)

In the summer of 1995, Larry Page, then 22, visited Stanford as a prospective Ph.D. student in computer science. His tour guide was Sergey Brin, a 21-year-old mathematical whiz who was already pursuing his Ph.D. in that department.

The pair begin collaborating on writing a program for a search engine dubbed BackRub (1996)

By 1996 Larry and Sergey were already good friends and collaborating on a project called “Backrub,” which investigated how sites linked back to other web pages.

It can be hard to imagine now, given just how well their idea turned out, but Brin and Page, who wanted to finish their Ph.Ds actually looked into selling their search innovations to another company. The two talked to Yahoo!, Infoseek, Lycos, and AltaVista, and even entered into negotiations with Excite, which did not turn out to be very fruitful.

The domain name for Google is registered on September 15, 1997

Since they couldn’t sell their technology, Brin and Page knew they needed to start their own company. And they agreed that the name “Backrub” had to go. After considering calling their site "The Whatbox," inspiration was found in the word googol (the term for a number with one hundred zeros).

With a slight change in spelling, Google.com—which Page deemed “easy to type and memorable”—was born in 1997.

'Let Me Just Write You a Check' (1998)

Page and Brin then decided to seek more financing, improve the product and take it to the public themselves once they had a good product.

The strategy worked and after more development, Google finally turned into a hot commodity. Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim said after a quick demo of Google, "Instead of us discussing all the details, why don't I just write you a check?"

He did just that. The $100,000 check was made out to Google, Inc.

First doodle (1998)

Believe it or now, the first Google Doodle was an out-of-office message.

Despite, and maybe because of all the chaos that would come with incorporation, Brin and Larry Page spent the last week of August 1998 to go to the Burning Man festival.

To let people know they were away, the pair decided on a little icon -- the Burning Man logo -- and placed the spare stick figure behind Google's second "o." They published the new image to their site on the World Wide Web.

On September 4, Google files for incorporation in California. (1998)

Larry and Sergey open a bank account in the newly-established company's name and deposit Andy Bechtolsheim's check.
Google sets up workspace in Susan Wojcicki's garage on Santa Margarita Ave., Menlo Park, Calif.

The company moves to Palo Alto. (1999)

Google outgrows its garage office and moves to new digs at 165 University Avenue in Palo Alto with just eight employees.

The first big funding round (1999)

Google's first press release announces a $25 million round from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins; John Doerr and Michael Moritz join the board.

Google wins its first Webby Awards. (2000)

The company wins Webby Awards in both categories: Technical Achievement (voted by judges) and Peoples' Voice (voted by users).

Also in the same month, the first 10 language versions of Google.com are released: French, German, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian and Danish. Today, Google search is available in 150+ languages.

Google's first international doodle celebrates Bastille Day in France. (2000)

Google New York starts in a Starbucks on 86th Street with a one-person sales "team." (2000)

Today, more than 4,000 Googlers work in our New York office, a former Port Authority building at 111 Eighth Avenue.

Google Toolbar is released—a browser plugin that makes it possible to search without visiting the Google homepage. (2000)

Google Images launches, initially offering access to 250 million images. (2001)

Google opens its first international office, in Tokyo, Japan. (2001)

Eric Schmidt becomes Google's CEO. Larry and Sergey are named Presidents of Products and Technology, respectively.

Google News launches with 4,000 news sources. (2002)

Today Google News includes 50,000+ news sources, with 70 regional editions in different languages. All told, Google News and other services send publishers 6 billion clicks per month as of 2012.

Google opens its Sydney office. (2002)

A few months after Google's first employee in Australia starts selling AdWords from her lounge room, the company opened an office in Sydney—the second office after Japan in APAC. The first local AdWords client was eBay Australia.

With the launch of Froogle (which became Google Shopping in 2012), people can search for stuff to buy. (2002)

Google launches Gmail on April Fools' Day. (2004)

At first invite-only, today it boasts more than 425 million users. Fun fact: our internal code name for Gmail was "Caribou," inspired by a Dilbert cartoon.

Google Anita Borg Scholarship (2004)

Google announces the first winners of the Google Anita Borg Scholarship, awarded to outstanding women studying computer science. Today these scholarships are open to students in Africa, Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, India, Middle East, New Zealand, and the United States.

Google opens new offices in Bangalore and Hyderabad, India. (2004)

Googlers in India have worked on products ranging from Map Maker to ads to Chrome.

Google Maps goes live. Just two months later, satellite views and directions are added to the product. (2005)

Google announces its acquisition of YouTube. (2006)

"Fortune" announces its annual list of Best Companies to Work For and Google is #1 (2007)

Google has been on top of the list three other years since then.

Google today:

  • Google is the internet’s most visited website.

  • Over 1 billion search requests per day are handled by Google. It is done by using over 1 million computers.

  • Google now processes 24 petabytes of user-generated data every day of the year (1.5 petabyte equals 10 billion photos on Facebook).

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