Congratulations are due to Google, as it has officially become an adult. The google.com domain was registered on September 15, 1997, 18 years ago on this day. Most people probably know that the name Google is a play on the the word googol, the mathematical term for the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. What you might not know is that the original idea was to go with Googol, but a team member (Sean Anderson) misspelled it, registering google.com instead of googol.com.
It’s amazing to think of how quickly Google has grown in this period of time; the company’s offerings are so pervasive that it is tempting to think of it as an old and well-established firm, but it’s actually still being run by the people who started it, co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin.
At the same time, at 18, Google is definitely one of the more aged online firms that dominate so much of the world today; Facebook started 11 years ago, on February 4, 2004, while others are still called startups – Uber for instance, is only six years old.
Google’s iconic doodles are almost as old as the company – the first doodle was created as a joke to tell people that the team was visiting the Burning Man festival in August 1998. At this point, Google still didn’t exist as a company; 17 years ago, on September 4, 1998, Google filed for incorporation in California.
The company got its start thanks to Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim who invested $100,000; in June 1999, the company had raised a $25 million round from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins. Google moved to its Mountain View location in the same year, where it remains.
The 2001 decision to hire Eric Schmidt as the Chairman of Google was another very important milestone for the company; that same year, he would go on to become the CEO.
The company also acquired Blogger in 2003, and launched AdSense (AdWords was released in 2000); and in 2004, it launched Orkut.
YouTube, which was launched in 2005, would be acquired by Google in November 2006. Google Maps was launched in February 2005. Perhaps the most significant launch however, was Android, which was first announced in November 2007.
The first Android phone was launched in September 2008, and so was Google Chrome.
In the 18 years that Google has been around, and it’s amazing to see how much has changed – it’s even more surprising to realise that Chrome and Android aren’t even ten years old.
If all the new launches were Google’s teenage years though, adulthood is starting off on a new note – the launch of Alphabet. Launched in August this year, Google’s decision to rebrand asAlphabet has brought about major changes to the way the company is structured. While Sundar Pichai takes over as Google CEO, Alphabet CEO Larry Page is going to lead this new umbrella corporation.
That means that the Google of today is a very different company from the one it was 18 years ago; and yet, in some ways, it’s closer to its roots than before, as various extraneous parts get pared away into the different letters of Alphabet.