A big milestone for Google, as the tech giant is celebrating its 20th birthday on September 27. Although the ongoing debate is that whether it is Google’s real birthday today, as the company was incorporated on September 4. But we are not getting into that. September, nevertheless remains a remarkable month for the tech titan and the company marks the occasion of its birthday every year with a Google Doodle around the world.
This year’s Google Doodle features letter-shaped balloons attached to a gift box. Tapping plays a YouTube video that animates popular searches from around the globe over the past two decades. The popular searches include: “What is google”, “What will happen on Y2K”, “Is pluto still a planet”, “How does autotune work”, “How do you pronounce gif” and “how you make avocade toast”, among many others in numerous local languages as well. It ends on an international thank you from Google.
While Google has had its share of criticism, there is little doubt it is changed the world around us. It is indeed a wonder that 20 years ago, two Stanford Ph.D. students – Larry Page and Sergey Brin – launched a new search engine with a bold mission to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
The chance encounter between Page and Brin is already known to all. In 1997, Larry Page, had just arrived at Stanford University to pursue his P.h.D in computer science. Of all the students on campus, Google’s other co-founder, Sergey Brin, was randomly assigned to show Page around.
From there, the two begin their mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web giving birth to what we known as ‘Google’. Google.com was registered as a domain on September 15th 1997. The name, a play on the word “googol,” a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. Google since then has seen tremendous growth and expansion touching lives of millions of users around the world.
Though much has changed in the intervening years—including now offering Search in more than 150 languages and over 190 countries—Google is still dedicated to building products for everyone. Of its mutiple achievements, CXOtoday lists out 20 key milestones as a tribute to the Internet giant.
July 2000: Google becomes the world’s largest search engine and by the end of the year, it has 1 billion indexes. The Search engine now makes more than 13 billion searches a month.
July 2001: Images search is launched, where nearly 250 million images were indexed. In 2005, it hits a milestone with 1 billion images indexed. By 2010, the index reached 10 billion images. As of July 2010, the service receives over one billion views a day. The company keeps upgrading this area with newer concepts and tools.
February 2003: Google buys blogging platform Blogger, and it a pretty good deal for millions of people have their own voice on the web and organizing the world’s information from the personal perspective.
March 2004: Gmail was launched. Initially started as an invitation-only beta release, it became available to the general public on February 7, 2007. The service was upgraded from beta status since 2009, along with the rest of the Google Apps suite, with greater innovation efforts every year.
October 2004: Google launches Desktop Search and by reaches 8 billion indexes by the end of the year. the free downloadable application which enables users to search for information on their own computers, has added search over the full text of PDFs and the meta-information stored with music, image and video files.
June 2005: A landmark year for Google. The company launches Google maps, a satellite imagery-based mapping service combining 3D buildings and terrain with mapping capabilities and Google search. It also comes up with Google Earth, Talk and Video. The company also acquired Urchin, a web analytics company whose technology is used to create Google Analytics. Google Mobile Web Search is released, specially formulated for viewing search results on mobile phones.
July 2005: Android is bought by Google, a Linux-based operating system, designed primarily for touchscreen mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers. A developer survey conducted in April–May 2013 found that Android is the most popular platform for developers, used by 71% of the mobile developer population. Android’s share of the global smartphone market, led by Samsung products, was 64% in March 2013. In July 2013 there were 11,868 different models of Android device, scores of screen sizes and eight OS versions simultaneously in use. As of May 2013, a total of 900 million Android devices have been activated and 48 billion apps have been installed from the Google Play store. As of 3 September 2013, there have been 1 billion Android devices activated
October 2006: Google buys video-sharing website YouTube for $1.65bn (£883m). YouTube, launched in February 2005, has grown quickly into one of the most popular websites on the internet. It has 100 million videos viewed every day and an estimated 72 million individual visitors each month.
September 2008: Search index reaches 1 trillion and the Chrome browser is unveiled. The company throws a shot at software giant Microsoft with the release of its very own web browser.
July 2009: Google launches its Chrome OS for netbooks. Google Chrome OS is a Linux-based operating system designed by Google to work primarily with web applications. The user interface takes a minimalist approach and consists almost entirely of just the Google Chrome web browser, since the operating system is aimed at users who spend most of their computer time on the Web, the only “native” applications on Chrome OS are a browser, media player and file manager
July 2010: The first Nexus smartphone handset – the Nexus One – is launched, which boasts a highly-developed touch screen and other enhancements. The phone is based on Google’s Android software, which it first launched two years ago as a way of moving sideways into the mobile market.
August 2011: Plans are announced for Google to buy Motorola Mobility. Within a year, Google completed its $12.5 billion acquisition of phone maker Motorola – and immediately appointed a senior Google exec as CEO. In a blog post Larry Page writes that Google has acquired Motorola not only because of its strength in Android smartphones and devices, but also for being a “market leader in the home devices and video solutions business.”
June 2012: Google Glass is unveiled. is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with a mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass received recognition by Time Magazine as one of the “Best Inventions of the Year 2012″, alongside inventions such as the Curiosity Rover.
June 2013: Google buys mapping and navigation company Waze to boost its mapping software and self-driving car capability. Google balloons fitted with internet transmitters launched. The project aims to spread affordable Internet access to even the most remote regions. Project Loon was developed in the clandestine Google X lab that also came up with a driverless car and Google’s Web-surfing eyeglasses.
September 2013: Android passes 1 billion device activations—reflecting the work of the entire Android ecosystem and also a reflection of the enthusiasm of users all around the world.
January 26 2014: Google Inc. announced it had agreed to acquire DeepMind Technologies, a privately held artificial intelligence company. DeepMind describes itself as having the ability to combine the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build general-purpose learning algorithms. DeepMind’s first commercial applications were used in simulations, e-commerce and games.
January 2014: Google announced it was selling its Motorola Mobility unit to China-based Lenovo, for $2.91bn. The company kept the extensive patent collection used to develop Android products, considered the most valuable part of the original deal. Nonetheless, the sale price was significantly less than the $12.5 billion Google had bought Motorola Mobility for. The $2.91bn price tag consisted of $660 million in cash, $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares, and a $1.5 billion 3-year promissory note
September 2014: Google Maps made available in Hindi language; added Hindi voice navigation, Introduction of Android One in India, Google Voice search accepts Indian accents
August 2015: Google names India-born Sundar Pichai as its CEO, replacing Larry Page, who became CEO of Alphabet. Upon assuming office, Pichai announced a surprise overhaul of its operating structure, creating a holding company called Alphabet to separate the core web advertising business from newer ventures like driverless cars. Google adopts new logo logo and branding, to reckon with a world of seamless computing reflecting how Google is working for users across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).
December 2016: Google announced that starting in 2017, it will power all of its data centers, as well as all of its offices, from 100% renewable energy. The commitment will make Google “the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy”.As of 2016, Google owned and operated nine data centers across North and South America, two in Asia, and four in Europe.
September 2017: HTC announced a “cooperation agreement” in which it would sell non-exclusive rights to certain intellectual property, as well as smartphone talent, to Google for $1.1 billion.
December 2017: Google made its first investment in India and picked up a significant minority stake in hyper-local concierge and delivery player Dunzo. The Benguluru based startup received $12 million investment in Google’s series B funding round.
March 29, 2018: Google led a Series C funding round into online-to-offline fashion e-commerce start-up Fynd. It was its second direct investment in India with an undisclosed amount. In this way, Google is also looking to build an ecosystem in India across high-frequency hyper-local transactions as well as in the healthcare, financial services, and education sectors.
Google is the most valuable brand in the world as of 2018 March. Its success lies in the fact that they have built one of the best known brands in the world. There are also several instances of failure as the company kept up with its growth momentum, adapting to new technology and market trends, which many of its contemporaries have failed. This did not just happen overnight but was the result of a concerted marketing effort and a mindset to innovate. After all if people automatically associate Google with search engines it is pretty hard to get them to try a different one, says a Google user. To sum up with Page’s quote, “If you’re changing the world, you’re working on important things. You’re excited to get up in the morning,”a humble lesson for all business and technology professionals in the industry.