The History of Google

The history of Google

The history of the Google search engine

The Google search engine was created by computer scientists, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The name Google came from the googol which is the name for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. To Google’s founders, the name represents the mass of information that its search engine has to filter.


Larry Page and Sergey Brin first met in 1995 at Stanford Univerity, while studying an undergraduate computer science degree. A year later in 1996 they began coding a search engine called Backrub, Backrub was coded to analyse websites for backlinks, hence the name. A research paper titled “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.” stemmed from this program.

The Backrub search engine was unique to other search engines, as it used an Internet technology called PageRank, which determined the importance of a website on the Internet. PageRank authority is determined by analysing the number of important links that point to a website, and its sub-pages. When PageRank was first invented, all other search engines were ranking websites on keywords, this is why web pages were quite keyword rich.

BackRub received a lot of positive praise, so Larry Page and Sergey Brin started to develop another search engine which is now Google. This project was very low budget initially, they utilised old computers for servers, and worked from their dorms.

When they originally designed the PageRank algorithm software, Larry Page and Sergey Brin tried to license the Internet technology, but failed. So, not to be defeated they decided to continue working on the project, and seek financing.

Google’s first funding allocations

global funding

To continue working and upscale the Google project, Larry Page and Sergey Brinn needed to secure funding. The initial funding came from Professor Hector Garcia-Molina, who acted as Larry Page’s advisor. The professor helped to secure $10,000 from the University’s Digital Libary budget. This funding was used to purchase parts to build servers. Other professors were also reportedly lending page and Brin, with investments as low as $40 at times.

Once enough funds were collated to build the data servers they launched the beta search engine, which was called

Major Funding

After a quick demo of the search engine to Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, he was so impressed, he said to Larry and Sergey “Instead of us discussing all the details, why don’t I just write you a check?” The initial check from Bechtolsheim was for the amount of $100,000. This funding led to Google being incorporated on September the 4th, 1998. This funding from Sun Microsystems enabled Google to raise a total of $900,000 more, through their first funding round. Other top investors included Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos.

Following the funding, Google opened its first office based in Menlo Park, California. Following this move, they moved into offices at Univerity Avenue, Palo Alto, which was the home to a few other Silicon Valley technology startups. After outgrowing another two buildings, in 2003 Google moved to Mountain View, 1600 Amphitheater Parkway, the property was leased from Silicon Graphics. This is where Google has been located ever since, and now the complex is named Googleplex, Google later decided to buy the building from SGI for $319 million USD.

Google landmarks

Google Mars & Google Moon – NASA

Google partnered with Nasa in September 2005, where they were asked to work on a project. The project involved developing a 1 million square foot research and development centre at the NASA Aimes Research Centre. This lead to the design and development of Google Mars and Google Moon, these are applications that allow a user to navigate a map of Mars and the Moon, developed from images of the planets.

Google Video – YouTube

In 2006 Google launched Google video, this platform allows the user to view suggested and searched videos via its search engine.

In 2006 Google acquired Youtube for $1.65 billion, but rather than merging the two websites, Google decided to keep the sites separate. In 2012 Google decided to cease the operation of Google Video, and migrated all of its data to Youtube.


In 2004 Google rolled out Gmail Beta, this was a free web based email solution, and was only available to select account holders, Gmail Beta was then released fully in 2007. A great advantage of owning a gmail email address is that a Gmail customer at the time received one gigabyte of email storage for free. Now Gmail account holders enjoy a massive seven gigabytes of storage, and there are the facilities to buy extra storage if needed. In 2009 the Beta was removed from Gmail, which increased its users.

Google Earth

Google bought Keyhole Inc in 2004, thus acquiring their online mapping service, this service was partially funded by the Central Intelligence Agency arm, In Q Tel. This Internet technology was rebranded in 2005 as Google Earth. Google ~Earth has proven to be a valuable resource all over the world, allowing the likes of scientists and, disaster rescuers to assess geographically the extent of damage made by the likes of hurricanes, before attempting rescue missions.

Stemming from Google Earth, Google Street View was launched, this is a service that a user can utilise to view street view images from all over the world. Google did face legal implications as some of the images captured by its photographers, infringed on some of the publics’ privacy. In light of this, in 2010 Google introduced an opt out service from having their property on Street View.


Google released Chrome in 2008, this was a new browser technology with advanced JavaScript capabilities. Following the Chrome launch, Google announced it was releasing its first operating system called Chrome OS. Subsequently, netbooks called Chromebooks were released by Google, these Chromebooks used the new Chrome OS operating system. The Chromebooks operating system is run on top of a Linux Kernal, and requires far fewer system resources as a general netbook.

In 2012 Chrome surpassed Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE) to become the most popular Web browser and, as of 2017, has maintained its lead over IE, Mozilla Corporation’s Firefox, and Apple Inc.’s Safari.

Other Google applications

Between the years of 2006 and 2007 Google released numerous business programs, that were officially named Google Docs. These business programs included; word processor, presentation software, and a spreadsheet. Google Docs is accessed via the Google browser, and all data can be stored on the cloud. This software was released to directly compete with the Microsoft Office solution.

Restructuring of Google

Google restructured some of its divisions and personnel in 2015, due to the Alphabet structure changes. These changes saw Sergey Brin becoming the president of the parent company, Larry Page became the CEO. And, Sundar Pichai was promoted to replace Sergey Brin’s position at Google.

Google Success


Today we can notably see that Google is a very dominant competitor in the search engine market. Google has now achieved the number one status, of most globally used search engines on the Internet, boasting a 54% market share. Yahoo is the second most globally used at 23%, with MSN coming in at third with a 13% market share. With these figures in mind, we can assume that Google will not be going anywhere in the distant future. And will be investing their success in many new technology areas, for future growth.

Further information

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