From a garage to the Googleplex


Google’s history begins in 1995 at Stanford University. Larry Page was considering applying to graduate school at Stanford, and Sergey Brin, a student, had been assigned to show him around the university.

According to some sources, the first time they met they agreed on almost nothing, yet the following year they formed a partnership. In their dorm room, they created a search engine that used links to determine the importance of individual pages on the World Wide Web. The search engine was called “Backrub.”

A short time later, Backrub was renamed “Google” (thank goodness!). It was a play on words based on the mathematical expression representing the number 1 followed by 100 zeros and fittingly reflected Larry and Sergey’s mission: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

In the following years, Google not only attracted the attention of the academic community, but also that of Silicon Valley investors. In August 1998, Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun, wrote a check for $100,000 made out to Larry and Sergey, marking the official birth of Google Inc. With this investment, the team of the newly formed company was able to move from the student residence to its first office: a garage on the outskirts of Menlo Park, California, owned by Susan Wojcicki (employee #16 and former CEO of YouTube). Bulky computers, a ping pong table and deep blue carpet were the backdrop to many days and nights of work. (A touch of color is still never missing.)

Even at the beginning the style was unconventional: from the first Google server, made with Lego bricks, to the first “doodle” in 1998, i.e. a little stylized man inside the logo to inform users that all the staff were absent from work because he had gone to the Burning Man festival. “Don’t be evil” represented the spirit of our deliberately nonconformist methods. In the following years the company experienced rapid expansion: it hired engineers, created a sales team, and introduced the first company dog, Yoshka , to the public . The garage began to become cramped and Google moved to its current headquarters, also called the “Googleplex”, in Mountain View, California. The vocation to follow alternative paths also moved. And Yoshka moved too.

The relentless search for better answers continues to be at the heart of everything we do. Today Google makes hundreds of products used by billions of people around the world, from YouTube and Android to Gmail, without obviously forgetting Google Search. Even though we got rid of the servers made with Lego bricks and welcomed other corporate dogs, the passion for creating technologies for everyone has never abandoned us: from the student residence to the garage, until today.

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