Happy Birthday to Google!

Jen Mulligan

In 2006 the word Google was added to the Oxford English dictionary proving just how huge the company had become, it is now (and has been for many years) the world’s leading online search engine.

To celebrate Google turning 15 today it felt right to do a blog post about the history of this world famous brand to show people the amazing growth that this corporation has seen; from working out of a garage to a complex of around 2million square feet, it is an incredible success story.


In 1996 Larry Page and Sergey Brin who had met at Stanford University wanted a search engine that ranked sites according to the number of other sites that linked to it; they created a search engine called BackRub which operated on Stanford servers for a while.


As BackRub became too big for Stanford servers Larry and Sergey decided that it needed a new name and eventually decided on Google and the domain name is registered.


The co-founder of Sun Microsystems Andy Bechtolsheim writes Google a cheque for $100,000 even though the company does not technically exist yet.

Larry and Sergey set up an ‘office’ in a garage and file for incorporation.

They then hire their very first employee Craig Silverstein.

Google receives a glowing review from PC Magazine stating that Google returns extremely relevant results and names them the search engine of choice.


Google makes two moves during 1999, the first is to a new office that caters for their 8 employees, and the second is to a bigger office to house their 40 employees.


This is a big year for Google as they release versions of Google in 10 new languages: French, German, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian and Danish. Later this year they also start offering Chinese (traditional and simplified), Japanese and Korean taking their total supported languages up to 15.

Google devise a partnership with Yahoo! and become their default search provider.

This year also marks the start of Adwords which launches with 350 customers.


Another big year for Google as the beginning of 2001 sees Eric Schmidt named Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Google image search is launched giving people access to 250 million images.

Google open their first international office in Tokyo.

The end of 2001 sees Eric Schmidt made CEO – a big year for him!


There is a major overhaul of Adwords which includes new cost-per-click pricing.

Google news is launched giving users access to 4000 news sources.

Another international office is opened, this time in Sydney.


At the beginning of 2003 Google acquired Pyra Labs who were the creators of Blogger, a blogging site that today has more than 300 million monthly visitors.

In March Google announced a new content-targeted advertising service which became known as AdSense.

Google grants was also launched this year, providing non-profit organisations with $10,000 a month for to spend on this non-profit edition of Adwords.

Another launch also occurred at the end of this year in the form of Google Print (now known as Google Books). This indexed small excerpts from books which then appeared in search results.


This year saw a big move for Google to their new headquarters the ‘Googleplex’, this campus style headquarters boasts amazing facilities for over 800 employees.

New offices are also opened across the world in Dublin, India and China.

Google Local is introduced which offers local business listings, maps and directions that are relevant to the searcher.

Gmail is launched, originally invite only but it quickly becomes open to all.

Google Scholar is also launched; this allows users to search for scholarly literature.


The beginning of 2005 sees Google Maps go live and a few months later Google earth follows.

Towards the end of the year Google Analytics is released which measures the impact of websites and marketing campaigns.

Two new offices are opened, one in São Paulo and the other in Mexico City.


Google finance is launched which contains interactive charts and news headlines, helping people find financial information more easily.

Google translate is also launched in 2006, which today can provide translations between 70 different languages.

Google checkout is announced; a fast and easy way for paying for things online.

They announce Docs and Sheets; web-based applications.

Towards the end of 2006 Google announce that they have acquired YouTube.


Google begins 2007 by adding traffic information to their maps, although initially this is just in the US it is now available for over 600 countries worldwide.

This year also sees the start of street view, the next addition to Google maps.

At the end of the year Google also announce Android, an open platform for mobile devices.


Google Map maker is launched, allowing people to update geographical information that might be incorrect on Google maps and Google earth.

Autocomplete (originally called Google suggest) also begins in 2008, aiming to make searching easier and quicker.

Another launch for 2008 is Google’s new web browser, Chrome.


At the start of 2009 Google join Twitter!

Towards the end of the year Google maps navigation is launched, a GPS system which includes 3D views, voice guidance and live traffic data.


The year is kicked off with the release of the Nexus One; today the Nexus line has grown and includes phones and tablets.

Also this year they announce a plan to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks.

During the summer Google TV is announced.


This year Larry Page takes over as CEO, 10 years since he last held the post, while Eric Schmidt becomes Executive Chairman.

Google announce the first Chromebooks from partners Samsung and Acer.

Halfway through the year Google+ launches, with Google+ pages for businesses and organisations launching later in the year.

December marks the opening of a new office in Paris.


Google Play is launched, a digital content store offering apps, games, books, movies, music and more.

The Google Glass project is unveiled.

Google Now is introduced; this brings users information that they need before they ask for it such as football scores, weather or traffic.


Google invests in a wind farm in Texas bringing their total clean energy commitments to more than $1 billion.

Updates to Google+ are introduced; this includes updates to the photos and Hangouts.

Gmail’s inbox is updated making it easier for users to see what’s new and choose what they want to read and when.

What's Next?

All in all it is clear to see that it didn’t take long for Google to get off the ground and once it did there was no stopping it, every year Google releases more and more updates and starts so many new ventures that it leaves us wondering what on earth they will do next.

Users trust Google and I believe that it is this trust combined with the fact that we never know what is going to come next that has made Google the huge success that it is today.