Google turned 20 last week. Can you imagine a world where Google never existed? No Gmail, Android, Google Home or any of the over 251 products from Google.
To celebrate Google’s birthday, we’ve found 20 facts about Google you might not know.
1. Google’s Birthday
Google has two birthdays. Google officially turned 20 three weeks ago on 4th September as this was the date it was incorporated in 1998, but for over a decade has celebrated its birthday (this week) on 27th September.
Google was originally called Backrub because of how the search engine analysed back links to decide the importance of a page and the sites it would link to. Students Larry Page and Sergey Brin fortunately decided to change this name to Googol.
No, that isn’t a spelling mistake! The pair originally called today’s Google, Googol after brainstorming with their classmates for a new name. Googolplex was suggested by Sean Anderson and Page shortened it to Googol. When seeing if the domain was available Anderson, who was known not to be the best speller, was sat at the computer typing and misspelled Googol to Google when getting the domain. Luckily, founders Page and Brin liked the new name better.
4. Most Used Search Engine
It didn’t take Google long to become the worlds most used search engine. On 26th June 2000 Google’s search index reached 1 billion pages.
5. Jennifer Lopez was the Reason for Image Search
Google images was launched in July 2001 with millions of images. However, the reason for the product came from a mass search a year earlier; thousands of people trying to see ‘Jennifer Lopez and the iconic green Versace dress’ which she wore to the 2000 Grammy Awards. With no direct way to see the dress, the creation of Google Images was born.
Google News also came from an unexpected but devastating event. Google news was created a year after the 9/11 terror attacks. The reasoning behind Google’s inspiration was being able to connect with, and answer questions people had, on events taking place all around the world, as well as to document events and consequences.
7. Gmail was Thought to be an April Fools
Google launched their e-mail app on 1st April 2004. Turned out this was not the best day to launch, as almost everybody thought Google was playing an April Fool’s Day prank as they couldn’t believe they were getting 1GB of free storage. 12 years later, back in 2016, Google announced that Gmail had over 1 billion active users.
8. Not Aesthetically Pleasing
When Google first launched it looked like this…
9. Google Doodle
The first ever Google Doodle came out on 30th August 1998. It came about when Larry and Brin visited the Burning Man Festival and needed a way to let their users know they weren’t in the office. So, they added the doodle of the Burning Man as a way to tell their users they were away and could not fix any technical problems if they occurred.
10. Gogle, Google or Googel?
Google owns the domains of the common misspellings of its original name. Such as Gogle.com and Googel.com.
11. “I Don’t Know That Number”
Google can help you pronounce huge numbers by typing ‘=English’ after the number you are searching.
12. Excite Should Have Bought
In 1999, Google wanted to sell itself to online company Excite for $1 Million but Excite rejected this offer. Google is now worth over $300 Billion.
13. Google Made the Internet… Then Broke It
In 2009 Google accidentally broke the internet. A programmer at Google made a little but big mistake by adding “/” to Google’s blocked websites list. As “/” is in nearly every single website created this meant you couldn’t access anything online.
14. Google Isn’t Just a Search Engine
Google has grown over the 20 years it has been around and is much more than just a search engine. They have their own factory named ‘X’ where they work on other projects such as Google cars and the successful Project Loon in 2013; a project in which they wanted to achieve providing internet connection in remote areas using balloons. The first connection to the balloon powered internet was made by a farmer in New Zealand.
15. Google Has Goats as Gardeners
Google does its best to have a good effect on our planet which includes hiring goats to trim their grass instead of using noisy machinery. The Google Team have also seen another benefit in addition to having neat gardens as the employees have claimed that seeing the goats through the window is calming.
16. Google Could Hire You from What You Search
Google uses a web tool ‘foo.bar’ to recruit new employees. If they see that you are searching for a specific category such as programming they may just invite you to a job interview.
17. Google It
The verb ‘to Google’ made it into the US Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2006.
18. The Google Family Grows
Google added YouTube to its family in 2006 for $1.65 billion. The video streaming site is now used by over 1.9 billion people a month and every minute 400 hours’ worth of video is uploaded.
19. We are Constantly Searching
Google is dedicated to being the best search engine. The figures speak for themselves; we (worldwide) use the search engine on average over 40,000 times per second, which is over 3.5 billion searches a day and 1.2 trillion searches per year.
20. Storage Made from Lego
The first computer storage Google had was made from Lego. At the time Larry and Brin were in college and the largest hard disk they could get was 4 gigabytes, so they assembled 10 of these drives into an obviously low-cost cabinet.