Google was officially launched in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin to market Google Search, which has become the most used web-based search engine. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, students at Stanford University in California, developed a search algorithm at first known as “BackRub” in 1996, with the help of Scott Hassan and Alan Steremberg. The search engine soon proved successful and the expanding company moved several times, finally settling at Mountain View in 2003. This marked a phase of rapid growth, with the company making its initial public offering in 2004 and quickly becoming one of the world’s largest media companies. The company launched Google News in 2002, Gmail in 2004, Google Maps in 2005, Google Chrome in 2008, and the social network known as Google+ in 2011 (which was shut down in April 2019), in addition to many other products. In 2015, Google became the main subsidiary of the holding company Alphabet Inc.
The search engine went through many updates in attempts to combat search engine optimization abuse, provide dynamic updating of results, and make the indexing system rapid and flexible. Search results started to be personalized in 2005, and later Google Suggest autocompletion was introduced. From 2007, Universal Search provided all types of content, not just text content, in search results.
The name Google is a misspelling of Googol, the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine was intended to provide large quantities of information.
Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the Big Four technology companies alongside Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft.
Google was founded in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California. Together they own about 14 percent of its shares and control 56 percent of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock. They incorporated Google as a California privately held company on September 4, 1998, in California. Google was then reincorporated in Delaware on October 22, 2002. An initial public offering (IPO) took place on August 19, 2004, and Google moved to its headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex. In August 2015, Google announced plans to reorganize its various interests as a conglomerate called Alphabet Inc. Google is Alphabet’s leading subsidiary and will continue to be the umbrella company for Alphabet’s Internet interests. Sundar Pichai was appointed CEO of Google, replacing Larry Page who became the CEO of Alphabet.
The company’s rapid growth since incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions, and partnerships beyond Google’s core search engine (Google Search). It offers services designed for work and productivity (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides), email (Gmail), scheduling and time management (Google Calendar), cloud storage (Google Drive), instant messaging and video chat (Duo, Hangouts, Meet), language translation (Google Translate), mapping and navigation (Google Maps, Waze, Google Earth, Street View), video sharing (YouTube), note-taking (Google Keep, Google Jamboard), and photo organizing and editing (Google Photos). The company leads the development of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system based on the Chrome browser. Google has moved increasingly into hardware; from 2010 to 2015, it partnered with major electronics manufacturers in the production of its Nexus devices, and it released multiple hardware products in October 2016, including the Google Pixel smartphone, Google Home smart speaker, Google Wifi mesh wireless router, and Google Daydream virtual reality headset. Google has also experimented with becoming an Internet carrier (Google Fiber, Google Fi, and Google Station).
Google.com is the most visited website in the world. Several other Google services also figure in the top 100 most visited websites, including YouTube and Blogger. Google was the most valuable brand in the world in 2017 (surpassed by Amazon), but has received significant criticism involving issues such as privacy concerns, tax avoidance, antitrust, censorship, and search neutrality.
In March 1999, the company moved its offices to Palo Alto, California, which is home to several prominent Silicon Valley technology start-ups. The next year, Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords against Page and Brin’s initial opposition toward an advertising-funded search engine. To maintain an uncluttered page design, advertisements were solely text-based. In June 2000, it was announced that Google would become the default search engine provider for Yahoo!, one of the most popular websites at the time, replacing Inktomi.
In 2003, after outgrowing two other locations, the company leased an office complex from Silicon Graphics, at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway in Mountain View, California. The complex became known as the Googleplex, a play on the word googolplex, the number one followed by a googol zeroes. Three years later, Google bought the property from SGI for $319 million. By that time, the name “Google” had found its way into everyday language, causing the verb “google” to be added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary, denoted as: “to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet”. Additionally, in 2001 Google’s Investors felt the need to have a strong internal management, and they agreed to hire Eric Schmidt as the Chairman and CEO of Google 
Initial public offering
Google’s initial public offering (IPO) took place five years later, on August 19, 2004. At that time Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt agreed to work together at Google for 20 years, until the year 2024. At IPO, the company offered 19,605,052 shares at a price of $85 per share. Shares were sold in an online auction format using a system built by Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, underwriters for the deal. The sale of $1.67 billion gave Google a market capitalization of more than $23 billion.
In October 2006, Google announced that it had acquired the video-sharing site YouTube for $1.65 billion in Google stock, and the deal was finalized on November 13, 2006. On April 13, 2007, Google reached an agreement to acquire DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, transferring to Google valuable relationships that DoubleClick had with Web publishers and advertising agencies.
In 2005, The Washington Post reported on a 700 percent increase in third-quarter profit for Google, largely thanks to large companies shifting their advertising strategies from newspapers, magazines, and television to the Internet. In May 2011, the number of monthly unique visitors to Google surpassed one billion for the first time. By 2011, Google was handling approximately 3 billion searches per day. To handle this workload, Google built 11 data centers around the world with some several thousand servers in each. These data centers allowed Google to handle the ever changing workload more efficiently.
On August 15, 2011, Google made its largest-ever acquisition to date when it announced that it would acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion This purchase was made in part to help Google gain Motorola’s considerable patent portfolio on mobile phones and wireless technologies, to help protect Google in its ongoing patent disputes with other companies, mainly Apple and Microsoft, and to allow it to continue to freely offer Android.
The year 2012 was the first time that Google generated $50 billion in annual revenue, generating $38 billion the previous year. In January 2013, then-CEO Larry Page commented, “We ended 2012 with a strong quarter … Revenues were up 36% year-on-year, and 8% quarter-on-quarter. And we hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year – not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half.”
In June 2013, Google acquired Waze, a $966 million deal. While Waze would remain an independent entity, its social features, such as its crowdsourced location platform, were reportedly valuable integrations between Waze and Google Maps, Google’s own mapping service.
Google announced the launch of a new company, called Calico, on September 19, 2013, to be led by Apple Inc. chairman Arthur Levinson. In the official public statement, Page explained that the “health and well-being” company would focus on “the challenge of ageing and associated diseases”.
On January 26, 2014, Google announced it had agreed to acquire DeepMind Technologies, a privately held artificial intelligence company from London. Technology news website Recode reported that the company was purchased for $400 million though it was not disclosed where the information came from. A Google spokesman would not comment of the price. The purchase of DeepMind aids in Google’s recent growth in the artificial intelligence and robotics community.
According to Interbrand‘s annual Best Global Brands report, Google has been the second most valuable brand in the world (behind Apple Inc.) in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, with a valuation of $133 billion.
On August 10, 2015, Google announced plans to reorganize its various interests as a conglomerate called Alphabet. Google became Alphabet’s leading subsidiary, and will continue to be the umbrella company for Alphabet’s Internet interests. Upon completion of the restructure, Sundar Pichai became CEO of Google, replacing Larry Page, who became CEO of Alphabet.
As of October 2016, Google operates 70 offices in more than 40 countries. Alexa, a company that monitors commercial web traffic, lists Google.com as the most visited website in the world. Several other Google services also figure in the top 100 most visited websites, including YouTube and Blogger.
On August 8, 2017, Google fired employee James Damore after he distributed a memo throughout the company which argued that bias and “Google’s ideological echo chamber” clouded their thinking about diversity and inclusion, and that it is also biological factors, not discrimination alone, that cause the average woman to be less interested than men in technical positions. Google CEO Sundar Pichai accused Damore in violating company policy by “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”, and he was fired on the same day. New York Times columnist David Brooks argued Pichai had mishandled the case, and called for his resignation.
Between 2018 and 2019, tensions between the company’s leadership and its workers escalated as staff protested company decisions on internal sexual harassment, a censored Chinese search engine, and a military drone artificial intelligence, which had been seen as areas of revenue growth for the company. On October 25, 2018, The New York Times published the exposé, “How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android’”. The company subsequently announced that “48 employees have been fired over the last two years” for sexual misconduct. On November 1, 2018, more than 20,000 Google employees and contractors staged a global walk-out to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment complaints. Later in 2019, some workers accused the company of retaliating against internal activists.
In April 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Google announced several cost-cutting measures. Such measures included slowing down hiring for the remainder of 2020, except for of a small number of strategic areas, recalibrating the focus and pace of investments in areas like data centers and machines, and non-business essential marketing and travel.
Google offers Gmail for email, Google Calendar for time-management and scheduling, Google Maps for mapping, navigation and satellite imagery, Google Drive for cloud storage of files, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for productivity, Google Photos for photo storage and sharing, Google Keep for note-taking, Google Translate for language translation, YouTube for video viewing and sharing, Google My Business for managing public business information, and Duo for social interaction. In March 2019, Google unveiled a cloud gaming service named Stadia.
In January 2010, Google released Nexus One, the first Android phone under its own brand, “Nexus”. It spawned a number of phones and tablets under the “Nexus” branding until its eventual discontinuation in 2016, replaced by a new brand called Pixel.
- The Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones with the Google Assistant, a next-generation contextual voice assistant, built-in.
- Google Home, a voice assistant smart speaker that can answer voice queries, play music, find information from apps (calendar, weather etc.), and control third-party smart home appliances (users can tell it to turn on the lights, for example). The Google Home line also includes variants such as the Google Home Hub, Google Home Mini, and Google Home Max
- Daydream View virtual reality headset that lets Android users with compatible Daydream-ready smartphones put their phones in the headset and enjoy VR content.
- Google Wifi, a connected set of Wi-Fi routers to simplify and extend coverage of home Wi-Fi.
In October 2018, Google announced the Pixel 3. The phone was released initially in the United States on October 18, 2018 and other parts of the world on November 1, 2018. They are the successors to the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL.
In May 2019, Google unveiled the Pixel 3a at Google I/O, seven months after the announcement of the original Pixel 3 lineup. The new phones served as midrange variants of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL with a 12.2 megapixel rear camera, which is the same unit found on the Pixel 3, and a single 8 megapixel front-facing camera. The base model came with a Snapdragon 670 chip and 4 GB of RAM, along with 64 GB of non-expandable internal storage.
In October 2019, Google announced the Pixel 4, the first Pixel phone to be offered for sale by all major wireless carriers at launch. The company also announced the second generation of its Pixel Buds, a line of wireless earbuds with the Google Assistant built-in that also support Google Translate.
G Suite is a monthly subscription offering for organizations and businesses to get access to a collection of Google’s services, including Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides, with additional administrative tools, unique domain names, and 24/7 support.
On September 24, 2012, Google launched Google for Entrepreneurs, a largely not-for-profit business incubator providing startups with co-working spaces known as Campuses, with assistance to startup founders that may include workshops, conferences, and mentorships. Presently, there are 7 Campus locations in Berlin, London, Madrid, Seoul, São Paulo, Tel Aviv, and Warsaw.
On March 15, 2016, Google announced the introduction of Google Analytics 360 Suite, “a set of integrated data and marketing analytics products, designed specifically for the needs of enterprise-class marketers” which can be integrated with BigQuery on the Google Cloud Platform. Among other things, the suite is designed to help “enterprise class marketers” “see the complete customer journey”, generate “useful insights”, and “deliver engaging experiences to the right people”. Jack Marshall of The Wall Street Journal wrote that the suite competes with existing marketing cloud offerings by companies including Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, and IBM.
In February 2010, Google announced the Google Fiber project, with experimental plans to build an ultra-high-speed broadband network for 50,000 to 500,000 customers in one or more American cities. Following Google’s corporate restructure to make Alphabet Inc. its parent company, Google Fiber was moved to Alphabet’s Access division.
In April 2015, Google announced Project Fi, a mobile virtual network operator, that combines Wi-Fi and cellular networks from different telecommunication providers in an effort to enable seamless connectivity and fast Internet signal.
In September 2016, Google began its Google Station initiative, a project for public Wi-Fi at railway stations in India. Caesar Sengupta, VP for Google’s next billion users, told The Verge that 15,000 people get online for the first time thanks to Google Station and that 3.5 million people use the service every month. The expansion meant that Google was looking for partners around the world to further develop the initiative, which promised “high-quality, secure, easily accessible Wi-Fi”. By December, Google Station had been deployed at 100 railway stations, and in February, Google announced its intention to expand beyond railway stations, with a plan to bring citywide Wi-Fi