Ever wonder how Google grew from a humble startup to the search titan it is today? Like many other tech companies, it started small. Google’s ascent toward international superiority began in 1995, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford. According to early reports, they didn’t get along at first, but soon they were collaborating on their first search engine, BackRub, which operated in Stanford for more than a year before being shut down for taking too much bandwidth. Google.com became a registered domain in September of 1997. The name is a play on the word “googol,” a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by a hundred zeros, which signifies the founders’ desire to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.
Page and Brin established their company in a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California, and hired their first employee, Craig Silverstein, who would later become Google’s director of technology. They began searching for investors for their new company. Andy Becktolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, invested $100,000 in the company after getting a demo of the search technology. Page and Brin eventually raised over $1 million.
Near the beginning, Google served over 10,000 queries per day. By 1999, it was serving 500,000 queries per day and the company moved to headquarters in Palo Alto and then Mountain View, California.
The next few years were full of growth. Google began selling ads with keyword searches in 2000, and so Google Adwords and Adsense were born. 2004 was a momentous year for Google. It moved into its current “Googleplex” facility in Mountain View with more than 800 employees. It also launched its own free email service, known as Gmail, which was created to rival the existing free email services supplied by Yahoo and Microsoft. With its enormous 1 GB of storage, Gmail soon overtook both Yahoo Mail and Hotmail. Soon after, in 2005, Google Maps went live. The first video went up on YouTube, which would soon become part of Google.
From there Google took a continuous upward trajectory. In 2006, the Oxford English dictionary added “Google” as a verb, and Google Translate was launched. They also purchased YouTube. In 2007, Google first appeared at the top of Fortune’s annual Best Companies to Work For list and launched its Android mobile platform. The following years saw the release of Google Chrome, self-driving cars, the +1 button, Google Play, and Chromebooks.
These days, there’s no denying Google’s success. The company says it does 100 billion searches per month these days. This is about 1.2 trillion searches per year. Yes, trillion. It claims three-quarters of the US search market and an 87% share of the US mobile search market. Sergey Brin and Larry Page are the world’s 20th and 17th richest people, respectively. What will be next for Google? We’ll just have to wait and see.