I remember using dial-up to connect to the internet when I was a kid. For as long as I have used the internet, I have always been greeted by Google, the most popular internet search engine. Many people have used Google for so long that they likely take the search engine for granted. But, like everything, Google has a beginning worth exploring.
Google began in 1995 as a research project by its future founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin; both of these brilliant men were students at Stanford University at the time. The project was called BackRub, and it used Page’s “web crawlers” which would search websites for keywords that would be used in searches online.
Page and Brin developed an algorithm which they called PageRank. This algorithm was ahead of the competition at the time because it noticed links to webpages, and these links factored into the ranking of searches online. The other search engines would basically just look for the number of times the keyword showed up on a webpage. Page and Brin realized that their BackRub project made more accurate internet searches than other search engines, and they decided to turn it into a business.
The domain google.com was registered on September 15, 1997, and the company was officially incorporated the following year. Interestingly, Page and Brin originally didn’t want to have ads featured in their search engine; they even wrote a research paper about it while they were still at Stanford. But they shortly changed their minds and allowed for text ads on their search engine. They certainly have come a long way with their ads; the majority of Google’s revenue today comes from advertisements, which have broadened to include picture and video ads.
Google became the internet giant that it is today by being adaptable and incorporating new technologies into their search engine. Google continually advances its searching algorithms to produce more accurate search results. For example, some people have learned how to cheat Google’s search algorithm by creating fake links to their website, which gave them a higher ranking. Google noticed this deceitful practice and fixed the loophole. Google has also used new technologies and mediums to make their searches better.
Usage of browser histories and social media (while certainly a cause for privacy concerns) has made Google’s searches even better. Instant Search was a successful update to Google’s algorithm, which would search for results before a person even finished typing it out. Voice Search (commonly referred to as “OK Google”) allows users to make searches with just their voice. Google has also made apps which puts Google’s technology at a person’s fingertips. The website makeuseof.com has a great article about how Google beat its competition that is worth reading.
With these adjustments and technological advancements, Google has stayed ahead of the competition. Google is now a multi-billion dollar company which offers a variety of services, from social media, to internet videos, to email. It’s fascinating that this successful company was started by two students who created a better way for people to search the internet.