The History of Google: how the number one search engine in the world was born


The history of Google

Google ‘s 19th birthday was on September 27th : but how was Google born? What is the History of Google?

Google is the most used search engine in the world. Google is THE search engine. For some, Google is the Internet. Some even say “ The answer is within you. Or on Google .”

The popularity of Google is so great that only a few years have passed since its birth that the verb “to google” was born in the English language (with the meaning of “do a search on the web”) and the verb “googeln” in the German language.

The word “Google” comes from  googol , a term that refers to a number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeros. The use of the word reflects the desire of the Google company to organize the immense quantity of information present on the internet. The Google search engine was officially born on 27 September 1998 (the company was founded on 4 September): the fathers of the creature that would revolutionize the World Wide Web were Larry Page and Sergey Brin . The two boys were still students at Stanford University when they developed the theory according to which a search engine based on the mathematical analysis of the relationships between websites would produce better results than the empirical techniques used up to that point.

Based on principles of “network theory”, convinced that the pages cited with a greater number of links are the most important and worthy, they decide to deepen their theory within their studies, effectively laying the foundations for what it will be their future activity.

In January 1996, Larry and Sergey began collaborating on the construction of ” BackRub “, a university project of a search engine with which they analyze the links pointing to a site. However, Stanford University funds did not appear to be sufficient to subsidize this project. Armed with patience and enthusiasm, the two young people begin to explore the university rooms in the hope of finding computers that they can borrow to build a large network. Larry (already an expert in electronics, at that time known among students for having built a printer using Lego bricks) takes on the task of creating a new type of server environment that uses common personal computers instead of very expensive chassis servers. Meanwhile, Sergey opens a sales office looking for buyers.

Larry and Sergey worked throughout the first half of 1998 perfecting their technology. They buy various hard drives at rock-bottom prices and build their computer in Larry’s room (which can therefore be considered Google’s first data center!). The history of Google thus takes shape!

Among the first potential customers that Sergey contacts is David Filo , friend and founder of “Yahoo!”. Filo fully agrees with the mission of the project but pushes the two to develop it themselves without trying to sell it to others. Given their efforts to contact other existing search engines to sell the new technology to, and given the limited attention they have received, they just have to try it themselves.

Google Inc. opens in a garage in Menlo Park, California. Already in this period, in the beta phase, responds to 10,000 queries a day. The press begins to notice this engine with truly significant results: very positive articles begin to appear in “USA Today” and “Le Monde”. In December, “PC Magazine” named Google one of the top 100 sites and search engines of 1998.

The site-engine that set the example in terms of simplicity (a logo, a search box and a button) grew quickly: in February 1999 the narrow spaces of Menlo Park gave way in favor of an office on University Avenue in High pole. Google now has 8 employees and 500,000 queries a day. As expected in these cases, interest in the company is also growing: “Red Hat” (one of the leading companies in the field of the Linux operating system) signs its first contract with Google for the supply of search services.

Little by little key figures (such as Omid Kordestani, Urs Hölzle) begin to fill the modest offices of the company. Once the “beta” sign was removed on September 21, 1999, the company had become so large that it once again required new headquarters. The company headquarters becomes Mountain View in California, in the so-called “Googleplex”.

At the end of 2000 Google responded to 100 million queries a day; the time has come to look for new ways to give access to your content where and when users want it.

Hockey games in the parking lots, dogs and cooks roaming freely among the desks, meetings around a ping pong table give a pretty good idea of ​​how it is to work at the Googleplex.

In 2001 Eric Schmidt  became head of Google’s board of directors. Google “learns” 40 new languages, doubles the number of indexed pages and expands towards the wireless world. Meanwhile, Larry Page and Sergey Brin become President of Products and President of Technology respectively.

Managed with private capital (the largest holders are Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital), in October 2003 Bill Gates’ giant Microsoft attempted to acquire Google, which however rejected the offer. At the beginning of 2004, an initial public offering was announced (by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group), which could reach 4 billion dollars: this gives Google a market capital of around 12 billion dollars .

Meanwhile, the company’s expansion strategy has evolved towards other areas; not focusing only on the cataloging of the web, it produced (or bought already existing companies that produced) services of various kinds, from email management (GMail) to videos ( YouTube, acquired in 2006) up to a new way of advertising ( AdSense with AdWords ) which allows you to show advertisements on a site that are relevant to the contents of the site itself.

In an article in the Corriere della Sera dated 30 March 2009, Massimo Gaggi wrote :

“ Some of the historians who until yesterday maintained that the twentieth century ended on September 11, 2001, buried under the rubble of the Twin Towers, are now beginning to think that in the future the date that will be chosen as the mark dividing the second from the third millennium it will be that of September 27, 1998: the day in which two Stanford students who had rented the garage of a house at 232 Santa Margarita Avenue in Menlo Park, in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, for 1700 dollars a month, founded Google .”

The Doodles

Since its inception, Google’s homepage has been characterized by a simple and linear style. From time to time, however, Google graphic designers and creatives give free rein to their imagination by presenting  Doodles.

The Doodles are artistic reinterpretations of the classic Big G logo.

This is the one used for his 19th birthday

History of the Google Logo

In the history of Google we also find a notable change in the logo. The first logo was designed by  Sergey Brin

Let’s retrace how the Google Logo has changed over time.


Logo used from 15 September 1997 to 27 September 1998


Logo used from 28 September to 29 October 1998


Logo used from 30 October 1998 until 30 May 1999


Logo used from 31 May 1999 until 5 May 2010


Logo used from 6 May 2010 to 18 September 2013


Logo used from 19 September 2013 until 31 August 2015


Logo in use since 1 September 2015

This is the story of Google, we bet it will continuously evolve. Google will play an increasingly central role in web marketing for a company. It will be up to companies like ours to collect samples and seize the opportunities!

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