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8 milestones in the incredible rise of Google

Google has entirely changed the way we seek information.

Over the last 15 years, it has replaced the weatherman, librarians, our A-Z road map and the Yellow Pages.

(I wonder how the Yellow Pages are faring now? Oh wait…I’ll Google it.)

It’s been an incredible journey.

From a small garage in California to over 44,000 employees, Google has managed to change the way we think (or don’t think).

The way we research and socialise has shifted massively, giving Google a huge precedent over how we learn, even convincing us (well, some of us) that they could activate a search by reading our minds.

With imagination and grace, Google has changed the way the world works, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Here are a few standout moments that have made Google what it is today…

1996 – BackRub

Google's backrub

Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google’s founders) met at Stanford University, with reports suggesting that they debated about pretty much everything, disagreeing on most subjects!

Once they graduated in computer science, they collaborated to create a search engine named ‘BackRub’, which operated on Stanford servers for more than a year until the Uni decided it took up too much bandwidth.

After some brainstorming, Larry and Sergey decided to change BackRub’s name to Google – a play on the word “googol”, a maths term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros.

The term was supposed to reflect their mission to catalogue together a boundless amount of information on the net. 

1998 – Doodles

Doodles have been an engaging visual tool to mark national holidays, historical events and celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, from the first ever Doodle for Burning Man which was used to inform web users of the Google crew’s presence at the Burning Man festival.

Doodles have become a much-loved part of Google now, where Google changes the traditional logo on its homepage to a more fun and engaging one.

This is a simple yet effective way of making sure the brand never gets boring or old.

Some of the more elaborate doodles have even turned the Google logo into a playable game or musical instrument.

Even those that didn’t need to search would visit Google just to play.

Check out the other fun tricks you can do with the Google homepage!

2004 – Orkut

Google's Orkut

Orkut is a social networking site that is owned and operated by Google.

You might not have heard of Orkut, but it is HUGE in Brazil, being the most visited website in both Brazil and India.

It was Google’s first attempt at a social network, which has pretty much failed to gain traction in the US and the UK.

However, Orkut has over 33 million active users (59.1% of which are from Brazil) and is currently operated by Google Brazil.

2004 – Gmail

In true Google style, Gmail was launched on April Fool’s Day in 2004. Although initially launched as an invite only email service, it was opened up to the general public in 2007, and currently has over 425 million users.

2005 – Google Maps

Google Maps

Since 2005, Google has been helping us get places, get us where we need to be and grown to be able to show us places we could never even hope of going… like Mars!

Even the mighty Apple has been unable to keep up with Google’s consistently reliable and ever growing mapping service (the huge tech company recently failed at replacing Google Maps with its own version).

The introduction of Google Street View was a huge talking point; Google literally drove and took photographs to deliver street view imagery that has expanded from 5 US cities to over 50 countries worldwide!

2006 – Google makes it officially into the Oxford English Dictionary

Oxford dictionary Google definition

Google: search for information about (someone or something) on the Internet using the search engine Google

This was a significant landmark for Google.  In June 2006, Google officially became a Verb. 

2008 – First Android phone

Google Android phone

The first ever phone running on Android (which is owned by Google) was launched in 2008.  This was another huge moment for Google, launching itself into the world of mobile technology.

A move that made clear sense to online marketers worldwide!

Teaming up with mobile giants like HTC, Samsung and LG, Android is now one of two conglomerates dominating the smartphone market across the globe.

2008 – Google Chrome

Google Chrome

Released publicly on September 11th in 2008, Google Chrome is today the third most popular web browser available.

Since June 2012, Google Chrome has been available on Apple’s Mobile iOS operating system, giving even more users access to a more streamlined browser ( I say streamlined because in comparison to Internet Explorer, it’s a dream!)

So, there you have it – Google’s highlights since the very beginning.

If you want to see the full timeline of Google’s history, you can click here.

What do you think is Google’s biggest achievement to date?

Written by Aimee Joseph

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