Did you know that Google was incorporated 25 years ago, in September 1998? Or that it was originally made from Lego? (sort of)
Google began as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were students at Stanford in 1996. Originally named “BackRub.” the name “Google” is a play on the word “googol,” a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. The name reflects the company’s mission to organise the massive amount of information on the web.
Their first version of Google was stored on ten 4GB hard drives in a Lego casing! Nevertheless, by the end of 1998, Google was processing 10,000 search queries per day. This number grew rapidly, and by the end of 1999, it was processing 500,000 queries per day.
It now processes over 3.5 billion searches daily.
Google’s homepage was notably simple (primarily because neither Larry nor Sergey were proficient in HTML). This simplicity, plus their powerful ‘PageRank’ algorithm quickly blew all the other search engines away. Remember them? The likes of HotBot, AltaVista, Lycos, Excite and of course, Yahoo were all less relevant, highly cluttered and covered in ads*
Here’s (just a few) notable acquisitions they’ve made:
- Applied Semantics (2003): Acquired for its contextual advertising technology, which later became a core component of Google AdSense.
- Android (2005): Purchased for an estimated $50 million, Android has become the dominant mobile operating system globally.
- YouTube (2006): Acquired for $1.65 billion. Say no more!
- Fitbit (2007): A consumer electronics company specialising in health and fitness wearables, acquired for $2.1 billion. Think of all your health(y) data!
- Motorola Mobility (2012): Acquired for its telecommunications expertise at a cost of £12.5 billion.
- Nest (2014): A home automation company purchased for $3.2 billion.
- DeepMind (2014): A British artificial intelligence company acquired for an estimated $500 million.
See The Synergy And Strategy Here?
They have many other less well-known acquisitions, yet they all help Google provide services ranging from live-flight bookings to restaurant reviews. Alphabet has a current market cap of around $1.7 TRILLION dollars – not bad for a couple of college kids starting out in a garage on a “Lego” setup, who made an algorithm to rank websites by the number of inbound citations!
* Note – Of course, nowadays Google also promotes many adverts and their famous “Don’t be Evil” code of conduct was reportedly removed a few years ago, depending on who you listen to!
By Mike Knight