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Getting to know Google

For as much as Google knows about my personal life through emails, G-chat, Google+, Google Drive, and (let’s not forget) all those super-secret search queries, I don’t know nearly enough as I should about who Google is.

The Birth of Google

Founded in March of 1996 at Stanford University, Google is the brainchild of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Phd students who met on campus in 1995. What began as a page ranking system for websites online soon evolved to contain a web page crawler and eventually became a search engine known as BackRub.

The name Google comes from the modern mathematical term “Googol,” a numeric term represented by a 1 followed 100 zeros — indicating Page and Brin’s attempt to categorize what they perceive as an infinite number of search results online. It’s a lot to live up to, but they seem to have stuck to this intent.

The Early Years

Early on, the company received a boost in the form of a generous investment of $100,000 from Andy Bechtolsheim, engineer, inventor, tech powerhouse, and SUN co-founder. People believed in it — in 1998, Google was already listed as the search engine of choice by PC magazine.

One year later, they had moved into a real office (and out of their garage), started a sales department, and received 25 million in equity funding. The company was growing and it hasn’t stopped since!

Major Milestones

2000 – Google Adwords launches
2003 – Google buys Blogger, launches AdSense, and announces Google Grants 
2004 – Google launches Gmail
2005 – Google Maps and Google Analytics were introduced to the world
2006 – Google Finance, Google Translate, Google Calendar and Google Trends began
2008 – Google Chrome
2009 – Google Voice
2011 – Adwords Express is created 
2012 – Google Drive. Google Glass Project unveiled. Chromebook
2013- Google announces the Knowledge Graph search result
2014- Google Authorship is officially extinct
2015- Mobile-friendly sites are rewarded by Google’s algorithm changes
2016- Google gets rid of ads on the right side of the results page

Morals and Motivation

When Larry Page and Sergey Brin originally began the search engine, they didn’t want to use ads to fund it. Now, they’ve long since allowed ads to run, and been quite successful at it. They have not, however, used the profits from this decision unwisely.

When it comes to doing good, Google’s got it going on. They consistently treat their employees well, even feeding providing sustainable, locally-sourced food. They have made generous efforts to support community, education and equality accross the globe, in a variety of ways — incorporating a variety of different artists in their doodles, making things accessible in a variety of different languages, and grants.

Trying to talk about the ways that Google has continued to give back to the world that supports them and their innovations is difficult, because, like the advent of their many products, their programs are numerous and varied. Google Grants has been providing nonprofits with access to Adwords for over ten years.Google.org, founded in 2005, is a hub for Google’s philanthropic efforts, which include disaster relief, sustainable innovation, technological education, and continued support of equal rights.

Staying true to their focus on innovation, a new project I’ll call your attention to is Google’s offer to minorities and women to learn coding for free, an investment that underlines their values of both technological progress, equality, and education — a move they hope makes understanding technology accessible to people who might have difficulty otherwise.

The Future 

Moving forward, Google wants to focus its efforts on innovation, or what it calls moonshots. Yep, I’m talking about the Google Glass, the glasses that allow their viewers access to the Internet via their eyewear. Along with this highly-publicized project, they’ve also received recent media attention for theirdriverless car, their sustainability research, and other mysterious stuff that happens in their research hub,Google X.

What does Google envision for the future? They’re daring to dream big, with their push to make Internet accessible to all.

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