‘Let’s Google It’ – How Internet Search Changed 20 Years Back
Google, on 27 September turned 20 years old. It was started in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Google, on 27 September 2018 has turned 20 years old. What started as a research project, has turned into a database that covers over 90 percent of search on the internet, supporting more than 150 languages in over 190 countries.
Google has made its place in the world and very few can argue its importance in our daily lives. So much so that the word ‘Google’ has become synonymous with looking for things on the internet.
Don’t know anything? Google it – that’s how powerful the search engine has become.
Google traces its inception to humble beginnings at a Menlo Park garage, providing search results from a server housed in Lego bricks. Here’s a look at its core products:
1997 – ‘Google’ Domain Registered
Before the company was incorporated in September 1998, the domain name, Google was registered by the founders on 15 September 1997. The founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin had initially nicknamed their project ‘BackRub’ as the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a website.
They changed the name to Google, which was a misspelling of the word Googol, that means a large number with one hundred zeroes (1 followed by hundred zeroes) – the name depicted the amount of information the search engine can provide.
September 1998 – Google.com Goes Live
After registering the domain name in 1997, the search engine went live in September 1998, opening a world of information for us. Initially, Google was based out of a garage owned by Larry and Sergey’s friend in Menlo Park, California.
Later in March 1999, the company moved its offices to Palo Alto, California.
January 2004 – Orkut Launches
Orkut was one of the popular social media platforms that survived till Facebook happened. Launched in January 2004, the former social networking website was owned and operated by Google.
Named after its creator Orkut Büyükkökten, the service was designed to help users meet new and old friends and maintain existing relationships. Anybody born in the later 80s to the early 90s will fondly remember Orkut for accumulating scraps, which was nothing but messages sent by friends.
April 2004 – Gmail
Google introduced its email service, Gmail in April 2004. Ever since its inception, Gmail has been one of the most widely used e-mail platforms in the world. In February 2016, Gmail registered its one billion users worldwide.
Currently, Gmail is accessible to individuals, corporates and businesses according to their requirements, for desktop as well as mobile app.
November 2006 – YouTube Acquisition
YouTube, the world’s largest video platform was started by three former PayPal employees – Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim.
They had created YouTube in 2005 and was bought by Google in 2006 at $1.65 billion. Fun fact: according to a Morgan Stanley report, YouTube is valued at around $160 billion in 2018.
September 2008 – Chrome Web Browser & First Android Phone
- Google’s Android OS was first seen on a smartphone in 2008. The first mobile phone to support Android was the HTC Dream. The operating system has since then, gone through multiple major updates and developments.
- Google Chrome is Google’s freeware web browser. It was first released on 2 September 2008 for Microsoft Windows, and was later ported to other platforms like macOS, iOS and Android. Google Chrome is also the main component of Chrome OS, where it serves as a platform for running web apps.
April 2016 – Google’s Very Own High-End Smartphone
Google, in April 2016, announced its first smartphone where the company will also make the hardware. Named Pixel, the smartphone was Google’s attempt to capture the premium phones market, looking to compete with the Apples and Samsungs of the smartphone world.
The first gen Pixel phone was launched on 4 October 2016.
Some Honorary Mentions
Since the company’s accomplishments in the last 20 years are a lot. Hence, we thought some of its ventures that were breakthrough in their respective technologies can be given an honorary mention:
- Google Maps
- Google News
- Google Home smart speaker
- Android Wear
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