Are you older than Google?

The history of the biggest Internet search engine.

Mira Ereeva - Jul 28, 2022
  • google
  • internet

Back in 1998: When the online world as we know it marked a new era - BackRub, as it was initially planned to be named, launched its first homepage just a year after registering its domain name "google.com."

But what happens next?

The beggining

The Internet giant was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both colleagues and Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Their first headquarters was actually in the garage of their friend Susan Wojcicki, who later became the CEO of YouTube.

Firstly, $100,000 was invested by Andy Bechtolsheim, owner of Sun Microsystems. By the end of the year, three more big investors contributed about 100 thousand dollars to the development of Google (one of them is Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon).

The idea of Larry Page and Sergey Brin was to create a good algorithm for searching Internet pages by a given keyword, so they created the PageRank algorithm, changing the development of the World Wide Web forever. The company's first so-called real office opened a year later in Palo Alto, and a few months after, it was moved to Mountain View.

The initially developed search engine worked in 10 different languages; in 2001, the first image gallery appeared, consisting of 250 additional photos in the search engine. And so, to this day, Google has not stopped developing new products and is constantly growing, entering into valuable partnerships with other companies, and acquiring new ones.

But why Google?

At least once, you must have wondered where the name Google comes from and what it means. The name of the Internet search engine is a play on words and originates from the word googol, a mathematical term for a number represented by one and one hundred zeros. Over time, the search engine has become so popular that the word is actively used in English.

Did you know that, at the very beginning, when it was created in 1996, the search engine was called BackRub? In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin renamed it Google and their entire business. The word has even been added to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Logo

The official Google logo has been used since September 1, 2015. The company changed its logo a month later following a significant restructuring. The new logo is the company's product mark, but the font is sans-serif, has slightly softer colors, and looks more contemporary. The logo is executed in a typical style with the logo of Alphabet Inc., the company that "swallowed" Google in early August 2015.

On March 22, 2011, Google was granted a patent for the "Google Doodle." On holidays, famous people's birthdays, and important events, such as the Olympic Games, Google replaces its logo with so-called doodles (English doodle - a simple drawing, scribble), representing illustrations, animations, or even small games related to the given event.

On May 24, 2011, Google replaced the logo with a doodle dedicated to the Day of Bulgarian alphabet and Bulgarian education and culture.

Older than Google

But Google is not the first internet search engine. There had already been AltaVista, Yahoo!, and others when it was created, but Google stands out with its better search quality and sample ad-free homepage.

In 1998, the company surpassed its competition, AltaVista, created three years earlier. On the day of the first Google tests, the name of the president of Stanford University, Gerhard Casper, was entered. The competing search engine failed to gather information about him and found news about the movie Casper the Friendly Ghost instead. At the same time, Google found an article about Gerhard Casper, thus attracting the attention of many professors at the university. John Hennessey, the man running the tests, known as the "Father of Silicon Valley," hoped that the search engine would find those results exactly.

The jealous Yahoo!?

Before Google, Yahoo! was the premier internet search engine.

Having started to gain popularity, it became Yahoo's search engine provider in 2000. By the summer of 2002, Yahoo! had tried to acquire Google for $3 billion, but Google turned down the deal as it felt it must have been worth more.

Today, Google's net worth in April was estimated at $1853 Billion. On the other hand, Yahoo was sold to Verizon in 2017 for under $5 billion.

More steps to the more significant success

The company launched Google News in 2002, a content aggregation service that would change the way digital media was published and distributed on the web, Gmail in 2004, Google Maps in 2005, Google Chrome in 2008, and the social network known as Google+ in 2011, in addition to many other products. In 2015, Google became the primary subsidiary of the holding company Alphabet Inc.

In 2004, Google first floated its shares on the stock exchange and gradually began to expand its sphere of activity. The very same year, the company opened the mail service Gmail for invitation-only access. The following year, the mapping service Google Maps was launched, the electronic translator Google Translate began, and the video publishing site YouTube, which appears to be among the most visited worldwide, was bought.

In 2008, the company released the first version of its own Google Chrome Internet browser and Android smartphone operating system. Since 2010, in partnership with various major manufacturers, Google has successfully launched smartphones and tablets under the GoogleNexus brand, and since 2016 - Pixel. (According to the consulting company IDC, devices running Android in the first quarter of 2017 occupied 85% of the global smartphone market).

However, not all Google projects prove to be successful. For example, the social network Google+, launched in 2011, never managed to be equal to Facebook (Meta). The microblogging system Jaik, bought in 2007, was closed in 2012 because it failed to compete successfully in the market against Twitter.

Resources:

  1. From the garage to the Googleplex. - In: About Google Available from: https://about.google/our-story/ [11.08.222]
  2. GOOGLE TURNS 20: HOW AN INTERNET SEARCH ENGINE RESHAPED THE WORLD. - In: Verge. Available from: https://www.theverge.com/2018/9/5/17823490/google-20th-birthday-anniversary-history-milestones [11.08.222]
  3. Google Net Worth 2022: Top 5 Google (Alphabet) Shareholders. - In: Knowledge.com. Available from: https://caknowledge.com/google-net-worth/ [11.08.222]
  4. History of Google. - In: Wikipedia. Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Google [11.08.222]
  5. Price, Dan. 8 Search Engines That Rocked Before Google Even Existed. - In: Make Use of. Available from: https://www.makeuseof.com/tag/7-search-engines-that-rocked-before-google-even-existed/ [11.08.222]
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