Google Inc. is a publicly traded company. Their stock is listed on Nasdaq under the symbol GOOG.Google is a play on the word googol, which was coined by Milton Sirotta, nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, and was popularized in the book, Mathematics and the Imagination by Kasner and James Newman. It refers to the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. Google's use of the term reflects the company's mission to organize the immense, seemingly infinite amount of information available on the web.
Back before Google? Aye, there's the Rub.
According to Google lore, company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were not terribly fond of each other when they first met as Stanford University graduate students in computer science in 1995. Larry was a 24-year-old University of Michigan alumnus on a weekend visit; Sergey, 23, was among a group of students assigned to show him around. They argued about every topic they discussed. Their strong opinions and divergent viewpoints would eventually find common ground in a unique approach to solving one of computing's biggest challenges: retrieving relevant information from a massive set of data.
By January of 1996, Larry and Sergey had begun collaboration on a search engine called BackRub, named for its unique ability to analyze the "back links" pointing to a given website. Larry, who had always enjoyed tinkering with machinery and had gained some notoriety for building a working printer out of Lego™ bricks, took on the task of creating a new kind of server environment that used low-end PCs instead of big expensive machines. Afflicted by the perennial shortage of cash common to graduate students everywhere, the pair took to haunting the department's loading docks in hopes of tracking down newly arrived computers that they could borrow for their network.
A year later, their unique approach to link analysis was earning BackRub a growing reputation among those who had seen it. Buzz about the new search technology began to build as word spread around campus.
The search for a buyer
Larry and Sergey continued working to perfect their technology through the first half of 1998. Following a path that would become a key tenet of the Google way, they bought a terabyte of disks at bargain prices and built their own computer housings in Larry's dorm room, which became Google's first data center. Meanwhile Sergey set up a business office, and the two began calling on potential partners who might want to license a search technology better than any then available. Despite the dotcom fever of the day, they had little interest in building a company of their own around the technology they had developed.
Among those they called on was friend and Yahoo! founder David Filo. Filo agreed that their technology was solid, but encouraged Larry and Sergey to grow the service themselves by starting a search engine company. "When it's fully developed and scalable," he told them, "let's talk again." Others were less interested in Google, as it was now known. One portal CEO told them, "As long as we're 80 percent as good as our competitors, that's good enough. Our users don't really care about search."
Touched by an angel
Unable to interest the major portal players of the day, Larry and Sergey decided to make a go of it on their own. All they needed was a little cash to move out of the dorm - and to pay off the credit cards they had maxed out buying a terabyte of memory. So they wrote up a business plan, put their Ph.D. plans on hold, and went looking for an angel investor. Their first visit was with a friend of a faculty member.
Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems, was used to taking the long view. One look at their demo and he knew Google had potential - a lot of potential. But though his interest had been piqued, he was pressed for time. As Sergey tells it, "We met him very early one morning on the porch of a Stanford faculty member's home in Palo Alto. We gave him a quick demo. He had to run off somewhere, so he said, 'Instead of us discussing all the details, why don't I just write you a check?' It was made out to Google Inc. and was for $100,000."
The investment created a small dilemma. Since there was no legal entity known as "Google Inc.," there was no way to deposit the check. It sat in Larry's desk drawer for a couple of weeks while he and Sergey scrambled to set up a corporation and locate other funders among family, friends, and acquaintances. Ultimately they brought in a total initial investment of almost $1 million.
Everyone's favorite garage band
In September 1998, Google Inc. opened its door in Menlo Park, California. The door came with a remote control, as it was attached to the garage of a friend who sublet space to the new corporation's staff of three. The office offered several big advantages, including a washer and dryer and a hot tub. It also provided a parking space for the first employee hired by the new company: Craig Silverstein, now Google's director of technology.
Already Google.com, still in beta, was answering 10,000 search queries each day. The press began to take notice of the upstart website with the relevant search results, and articles extolling Google appeared in USA TODAY and Le Monde. That December, PC Magazine named Google one of its Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines for 1998. Google was moving up in the world.
On the road again
We quickly outgrew the confines of our Menlo Park home, and by February 1999 had moved to an office on University Avenue in Palo Alto. At eight employees, the staff had nearly tripled, and the service was answering more than 500,000 queries per day. Interest in the company had grown as well. Red Hat signed on as its first commercial search customer, drawn in part by Google's commitment to running its servers on the open source operating system Linux.
On June 7, the company announced that it had secured a round of funding that included $25 million from the two leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In a replay of the convergence of opposites that gave birth to Google, the two firms - normally fiercely competitive, but eye-to-eye on the value of this new investment - both took seats on the board of directors. Michael Moritz of Sequoia and John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins - who between them had helped grow Sun Microsystems, Intuit, Amazon, and Yahoo! - joined Ram Shriram, CEO of Junglee, at the ping pong table that served as formal boardroom furniture.
In short order, key hires began to fill the company's modest offices. Omid Kordestani left Netscape to accept a position as vice president of business development and sales, and Urs Hölzle was hired away from UC Santa Barbara as vice president of engineering. It quickly became obvious that more space was needed. At one point the office became so cramped that employees couldn't stand up at their desks without others tucking their chairs in first.
No beta search engine
The gridlock was alleviated with the move to the Googleplex, our new headquarters in Mountain View, California. And tucked away in one corner of the two-story structure, the Google kernel continued to grow - attracting staff and clients and drawing attention from users and the press. AOL/Netscape selected Google as its web search service and helped push traffic levels past 3 million searches per day. Clearly, we had evolved. What had been a college research project was now a real company offering a service that was in great demand. So on September 21, 1999, the beta label came off Google.com.
Still we continued to expand. The Italian portal Virgilio signed on as a client, as did Virgin Net, the UK's leading online entertainment guide. The spate of recognition that followed included a Technical Excellence Award for Innovation in Web Application Development from PC Magazine and inclusion in several "best of" lists, culminating with Google's appearance on Time magazine's Top Ten Best Cybertech list for 1999.
At the Googleplex, a unique company culture was evolving. To maximize the flexibility of the work space, large rubber exercise balls were repurposed as highly mobile office chairs in an open environment free of cubicle walls. While computers on the desktops were fully powered, the desks themselves were wooden doors held up by pairs of sawhorses. Lava lamps began sprouting like multi-hued mushrooms. Large dogs roamed the halls - among them Yoshka, a massive but gentle Leonberger. After a rigorous review process, Charlie Ayers was hired as company chef, bringing with him an eclectic repertoire of health-conscious recipes he developed while cooking for the Grateful Dead. Sections of the parking lot were roped off for twice-weekly roller hockey games. Larry and Sergey led weekly TGIF meetings in the open space among the desks, which easily accommodated the company's 60-odd employees.
The informal atmosphere bred both collegiality and an accelerated exchange of ideas. Google staffers made many incremental improvements to the search engine itself and added such enhancements as the Google Directory (based on Netscape's Open Directory Project) and the ability to search via wireless devices. Google also began thinking globally, with the introduction of our first 10 language versions for users who preferred to search in their native tongues.
We love you, Google users!Google's features and performance attracted new users at an astounding rate. The broad appeal of Google search became apparent when the site was awarded both a Webby Award and a People's Voice Award for technical achievement in May 2000. Sergey's and Larry's five-word
Google Search, Gmail, Google Documents and all other Google services are owned by a company called Google Inc. It is a company with stocks, you can buy a part of Google Inc. yourself.
Hi I’m Hassan and I’m having a Lot of Fun with Blogger Blogging. It’s cool to Run Some Blogs on such a Great and big Blogging Platform BLOGGER. I Don’t Call My Self a Computer Master or Brilliant Web developer. I’m a Simple Student who is enjoying his College Life.
- Barcelona School of Informatics