Sunday, September 16, 2007

Google Turns 10

Google is 10Born 10 years ago, the Google Internet search engine has grown into the electronic center of human knowledge by indexing billions of Web pages as well as images, books and videos.

On September 15, 1997 Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Stanford University students, registered the domain name of “” Google started as a research project by Larry page and Sergey Brin when they were 24 and 23 years respectively. Google's mission statement is to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.

From Googol to GoogleInitially, Larry and Sergey Brin called their search engine BackRub, named for its analysis of the of the Web's “back links.” The search for a new name began in 1997, with Larry and his officemates starting a hunt for a number of possible new names for the rapidly improving search technology.

The word is a variation of ‘googol,’ which refers to the number 10 to the power of 100, a term popularised by US mathematician Edward Kasner. Page and Brin incorporated Google one year later, on September 7, 1998, in a household garage in northern California.

Growing in millions
Soon after its launch this search engine became a motor that “absorbed” Web pages across the Internet, at a rate of billions per day.

News of Google spread largely thanks to the efficient way the search engine classified results through algorithms, and it quickly became one of the most used methods to find information on the Internet.

Google has become the most popular Internet search engine in the world outside of China, Japan and Russia, handling more than 500 million visits a day.

Google bank
To search for Internet documents it is necessary to permanently contact each site and memorise its pages, a colossal task for the Google data bank, which is constantly renewed, allowing the users to search for key words. Google needs several weeks to troll the Internet and renew its data bank.

The basis of Google's search technology is called PageRank, and assigns an “importance” value to each page on the Web and gives it a rank to determine how useful it is. However, that's not why it is called PageRank. It's actually named after Google co-founder Larry Page.

Hitting BoursesWhen Google went public in August 2004 its shared initially sold at $85. Today, its shares are valued at $525 and Google has a stock market value worth some $164 billion.

In 2006 Google reached $13.4 billion in revenue -- the third part based on Internet ads -- and profits of $3.7 billion.

In the past years Google has expanded at a breakneck pace, and currently has some 13,700 employees. The company thrives on a culture of innovation. Google asks employees to dedicate 20 per cent of their time to develop ideas for the company.

Page and Brin, now in their mid-30s, each have some $16 billion in personal wealth.

Healthy, wealthy and...

In 2000 Google began to sell ads linked to key words. At the time, as the dotcom bubble was bursting and scores of Web-based operations were declaring bankruptcy, Google was making a healthy profit.

In 2006 Google bought YouTube, the largest and most popular video exchange website, and soon after bought DoubleClick, one of the Internet's most powerful ad services.

Google also launched free e-mail -- Gmail -- as well as a word processing programme, picture editing programmes and a calender that competes directly with products from software giant Microsoft.

Stay away from evil
Despite the company motto of “Don't be Evil,” it seems that the Google's ubiquitous presence increasingly generates hostility. Both Google and YouTube have been sued by media groups that charge that they have stolen content. Its ads are directed at a very specific public based on their Internet searches.

Google's photographing of city streets has also been criticized, but also admired and widely used. The human rights group Privacy International is lukewarm on Google's respect for private data. “At it most blatant it is hostile, and at its most benign is ambivalent,” the group said.

Google goes to moon
Many have heard of Google Earth, but not many know there is a site called Google Moon, which maps the Lunar surface.

Google Moon is an extension of Google Maps and Google Earth that, courtesy of NASA imagery, enables you to surf the Moon's surface and check out the exact spots that the Apollo astronauts made their landings.

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