September 27, 2023, marked 25 years since computer scientists Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google and changed the world of internet search forever.
The Silicon Valley giant started out from a Stanford University dorm room in the mid-90s when Page and Brin crossed paths as doctoral students in the prestigious university’s computer science program.
From “BackRub” To Google, A Brief History Of The Tech Giant
Initially called “BackRub”, the company set out as a research project by the pair to explore the mathematical computations of the World Wide Web’s link structure. Little did they know that the foundation they laid for a revolutionary internet search algorithm would transform the digital landscape of the world forever.
In 1998, the duo renamed their project to Google, inspired by the term ‘Googol’ that is used to represent a very large number in mathematics. In August of that year, Google was incorporated with the help of angel investor Andy Bechtolsheim, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, a move that saw the company shift its operations to a rented garage in Menlo Park, California.
The first milestone for the tech behemoth came in 2000 when Yahoo made Google its default search engine. That same year, the company launched AdWords, which was the beginning of its online advertisement platform AdSense.
Next up in its journey to becoming one of the most influential companies in the tech world was in 2004 when Google launched its email service Gmail and offered users with 1GB of mail storage capacity. At that time, such an offering was beyond belief and helped the company lay a dominant foot on the likes of YahooMail and Microsoft’s Hotmail.
Reveling in its success, the company went public in August 2004.
The Mid-2000s was a time when the world was moving towards mobile computing and tech companies across the world were looking at ways in which they could power mobile phones using internet technology.
In July 2005, Google purchased a little-known tech startup called Android Inc. The company founded by Andy Rubin, who had previously worked for MSN and Apple, started out by creating open-source operating systems for digital cameras and mobile phones.
The Android team showcased their mobile OS to Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a meeting and they were excited to get it on board. Google and Android spent the next three years developing a bespoke OS for mobile phones, which culminated in the launch of the first Android-powered smartphone in 2008 – The T-Mobile G1 or the HTC Dream.
The device packed “top-of-line specs” for the time, including a Qualcomm processor, 192MB of RAM, and 256MB of internal storage that was expandable to up to 16GB. The HTC Dream was priced at an affordable range of $179.
In 2006, Google purchased an up-and-coming American online video-sharing platform YouTube for $1.65 billion, signaling its entry into the video streaming space. Regarded as the second-largest and one of the smartest acquisitions made by the company, YouTube has been a cash cow that keeps on giving.
Today, more than 2.7 billion people access YouTube at least once a month, out of which, 80 million are paid subscribers of its premium services. Last year, the video streaming platform generated $29.2 billion in annual revenue, which was a 1.3% increase year-on-year.
In the years that followed, Google launched the Chrome web browser, which is a dominant player in the internet search market and responsible for channeling over 75% of all online web traffic. The company then acquired mapping service startup Waze and launched Google Maps.
A quarter of a century later, the company stands on its own ground and dominates the internet and technology sector. Today Google is on the lookout for opportunities in the artificial intelligence sector, which is the next big revolution in the tech industry.
How Is Google Celebrating Its 25th Birthday?
Google is known for entertaining its search engine users with little animated doodles and easter eggs celebrating joyous occasions and anniversaries, from Valentine’s Day to the 30th anniversary of PacMan.
Here’s one you could try right now!
Go to Chrome or google.com and search for “askew”. You will see that the whole page slightly slants towards the right. To date, Google has created more than 5,000 different doodles and has a dedicated team of artists and graphic designers for the purpose.
For its 25th birthday, the internet giant created a fun little experience for users. When you search “happy birthday” or “hum the tune”, or ask Google to translate the words “happy birthday”, the page will start to pour down confetti.
On the main page where the Google logo is placed front and center, you will see that the two O’s in the name have been replaced with the numbers two and five, representing the 25th year anniversary of the company. The home page also features a special Google Doodle that honors the evolution of its iconic logo.
As it enters the next phase in its journey, I would like to once again wish Google a very Happy Birthday and give a toast to 25 more years of innovation and success.
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