The History of Google

Begun as a research project by two PHD students at Stanford University, Google is now one of the biggest and most popular web search engines and provider of internet-based products. Known for its tools such as Gmail, Google Docs, and advertising services, Google has become an international brand that has given it a dominant position in the internet market. In this video, we take a look at the history of the American corporation known as Google.

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Google's Beginnings

PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin began Google as a research project in January 1996 while attending California’s Stanford University. By developing a technology called PageRank, they were able to create a search engine that could estimate a website’s importance based on its incoming links.

Registration, Incorporation and IPO

Initially nicknamed Backrub, the domain name was registered on September 15th, 1997 and the company incorporated on September 4th the next year. Its initial public offering came on August 19th, 2004, though the founders and then-CEO Eric Schmidt remained in control. As a result of the IPO, many of the company’s employees became paper millionaires, and this led some to wonder if Google would live by its “Don’t be evil” motto.


Like many Silicon Valley startups, Google was first based out of a garage; today, its corporate headquarters is in Mountain View, California. Known as the Googleplex, the offices perpetuate an informal and casual atmosphere. Employees are encouraged to spend 20 per cent of their time on personal interests, and this has led to the creation of services such as Google News and AdSense.

Search Engine

Google’s most popular service is its online search engine, Google Search. Users employ this tool to look for information by typing keywords into the search bar. The incoming results come from the billions of web-pages the company indexes, and the order of the results is partly based on PageRank.


Google has expanded its search results and paid listings onto other websites through AdSense. AdSense and AdWords form the engine of Google’s multi-billion dollar revenue machine. Google also offers marketers a free service called Google Analytics, which produces website visitor statistics. Thanks to its innovations, the company is now one of the one of the biggest brokers in the online advertising market.

Other Services

Google Search has branched out to offer other types of services in many different languages as well. These include Google Image Search, Google Video Search, Google Maps and Google Translate.


Google has also released several internet productivity tools. The most well-known of these is Gmail. Gmail was the first free webmail service to maintain emails from the same exchange collectively in a common thread. Gmail was also the first email service to offer users one gigabyte of free storage. Today Gmail offers practically limitless storage for a small fee.

Google Docs

Another web productivity tool is Google Docs. This service is comprised of software that allows users to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and store them in the cloud. These can be composed and edited via a web browser and can also be accessed by more than one user. This software is considered by some as an attack on one of Microsoft's core businesses.

More Projects

Google has also worked on other projects. Notable ones include the open source web browser Google Chrome, the mobile operating system Android and the social networking service Google+. To bolster their mobile efforts, Google also acquired Motorola Mobility in 2011.

Business Acquisition

In addition, Google has acquired other businesses as launching pads for new services. For example, Keyhole Inc. was developed into Google Earth for its 3-D view of our planet, and GrandCentral was developed into Google Voice. Two of the company’s biggest successes through acquisitions have been AdWords through the applied Semantics deal and the popular video-sharing website YouTube.


Google also has a charitable arm called This not-for-profit organization’s main initiatives revolve around developing renewable energy, improving access to health services and reducing worldwide poverty.


Throughout the years of its existence, Google has not been without its detractors. One recurring issue has been privacy. These concerns range from the Gmail program’s automatic email-scanning to create targeted advertising, to the data and image collection of Google Street View. The Google search engine has been criticized for its censorship of search results, and even the company headquarters has been accused of unnecessary energy use.

A Dominant Force

While the company is now facing threats from Apple and Facebook, Google is sure to remain a dominant force in the global internet industry.

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