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Celebrating 20th Anniversary of Google and The Rise of Google.

Twenty years ago this month, a pair of Stanford PhD students founded a search engine company based in their friend Susan’s Menlo Park garage. Initially named “BackRub,” Larry Page and Sergey Brin eventually thought better of it and opted for a misspelling of the term googol, denoting the number one followed by 100 zeros, given the name google .

Google’s exact “birthday” remains a mystery, but the company officially lists September 27, 1998 as the day the company began. Today it is celebrating the occasion with an animated doodle that spotlights notable events from each of the 20 years since then.

It’s an interesting look back in time, and for someone who was present at Google’s “birth,” a remarkable reminder of how much has changed in two decades.

The official 20th birthday doodle page has a number of other interesting tidbits worth exploring, including a link to a fun 20 years with Google tool that randomly cycles through the most popular search terms for a couple of dozen categories over the years.


google 20th anniversary
This is where it all started

Today, Forbes Magazine has Apple at the top of its most valuable company list at $903 billion, with Alphabet (Google) second at $688 billion. Microsoft is now third at $655 billion.

To help celebrate Google’s 20th anniversary, we put together a list of 20 facts about Google you may (or may not) be aware of.

1. Brin and Page first met at Stanford when Page was first enrolled and Brin was requested to show him around. Today, Larry Page serves as the president of Alphabet, the umbrella company of Google while Brin serves as its CEO.

2. The pair shopped Google to Yahoo but initially, Yahoo showed little interest. In 2002, Yahoo offered $3 billion for the company. That $3 billion offer was rejected. Today Google is worth some 200 times that amount.

3. Google’s simplistic homepage was the result of the founder’s lack of knowledge in HTML. The company, known for its quirkiness, has stayed with a simple design ever since. One significant change was made in 2001 when Google centered the content on the page when it previously was aligned to the left.

4. The word “Google” was officially recognized as a verb (as in “I am going to google it”) in 2006 when Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionaries both included it.

5. Google is presently scanning almost 130 million unique books and plans to have the project done within the next two years. They already have video of about 30 million miles of roadways via Google Earth. Google Earth was released in 2001.

6. Google was not the company’s original name. It was actually called “Backrub” because of its initial heavy reliance on back-links to validate the popularity of a website it was indexing.

7. Gmail, the brand’s popular free email service debuted on April 1, 2004. This had many people believing it was initially an April Fool’s Day joke. Google says its Gmail has over 1 billion active accounts.

8. The “I’m Feeling Lucky” button on Google bypasses all the paid rankings, taking you instead to the most popular searches. It is thought this button costs Google over $100 million a year in lost revenue.

9. The word Google is a derivative of the word googol, which is the mathematical term of the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. While they are varying stories on how googol became Google, one popular one is that it was typed in that way by mistake when the original domain name was purchased.

10. Google’s Doodles, which often recognize significant dates and holidays on their home page, got their start in 1998 when Brin and Page used the Burning Man stick-man logo to serve as a message they were out of the office. The pair were attending the Burning Man Festival in Nevada.

11. The original Google had 10 four gig hard drives. In order to facilitate anticipated growth, they were housed in a cabinet constructed out of Lego bricks. This original Lego cabinet is on display on the Stanford campus.

12. Google first delved into foreign languages in May of 2000 when 10 new languages were added to searches. It can now translate 27 languages.

13. In July of 2001, Google images were launched with 250 million different images. Today, it is estimated there are close to a trillion images available when conducting a Google Image search.

14. While Google has been hugely successful, many consider that one of its major missteps was Google Glass. Google Glass was wearable tech, that in theory, would keep wearers constantly connected. The trouble was, consumers didn’t respond. Either it was the hefty price (about $1,500), the geeky image wearing the glasses portrayed or the invasion of privacy the devices almost promoted but it was quickly taken off the market. While Google likely gained tons of data and information from its users, it ended sales after two years in 2015.

15. Google Chrome is the world’s most popular web browser with over 58% market penetration. They are followed by Safari at about 14% and Internet Explorer at 9%.

16. We’ve all heard Google is a unique place to work, particularly at the home of Googleplex campus. Worldwide, the company employs over 70,000 employees.I am text block. Click edit button to change this text. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

17. The top three search terms Googled in 2017 in the United States were TV talk show host Matt Lauer, rock singer Tom Petty, and Hurricane Irma.

18. Google’s unofficial mission statement is “Do the right thing; don’t be evil. Honesty and integrity in all we do. Our business practices are beyond reproach. We make money by doing good things.” It often boiled down to “Don’t be evil.”

19. The colors of the Google logo were chosen for a reason. They used primary colors but instead of placing them in order, the secondary color letter was used for the “L”. It was another way for Google to express they don’t follow the rules.

20. Google’s Mountain View campus is so large that associates have the opportunity to use free bikes to get to free cars. They can also take big Google buses to get to smaller Google buses.

Of course, when Google was incorporated it was the early days of the internet when the environmental impact of data centers wasn’t much of a concern. Today, they increasingly consume energy and drain the planet of resources.

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