- 27 Sep
History of Google & Google’s Founders – The history of Google is a story of innovation, rapid growth, and tremendous influence in the world of technology. Founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Ph.D. students at Stanford University, Google originally started as a search engine project. The project aimed to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful, a mission that continues to drive Google’s various endeavors today.
1996: Backrub and Early Beginnings
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, both Ph.D. students at Stanford University, begin a research project to create a search algorithm that uses backlinks to rank webpages. The project is initially called “Backrub” and runs on Stanford servers for more than a year before it is renamed Google.
1997: The Birth of “Google”
The name “Google” is chosen as a playful misspelling of “googol,” a mathematical term for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. The name aims to reflect the company’s mission to organize the immense amount of information available online.
1998: Official Formation and First Steps
On September 4, 1998, Google Inc. is officially founded. Larry and Sergey set up shop in a garage in Menlo Park, California, which belonged to Susan Wojcicki, who would later become the CEO of YouTube. The company also secures a $100,000 investment from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim.
1999: Explosive Growth and Funding
Google outgrows its garage office and moves to a new location in Palo Alto. By now, Google is handling more than 500,000 queries per day. The company raises $25 million in its first significant round of venture capital funding from leading investors like Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins.
2000: Milestones and AdWords
Google becomes the world’s largest search engine, boasting an index that encompasses a billion pages. It also introduces AdWords, a self-serve advertising platform, which would become one of its primary sources of revenue. The company also partners with Yahoo, making Google the default search engine for Yahoo users.
2001: New Leadership
Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Novell, joins Google as the CEO. Schmidt brings a level of business acumen and experience that allows co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to concentrate on innovation and product development.
2004: Going Public
Google’s IPO is one of the most highly anticipated in history. It uses a Dutch auction format, allowing small investors to participate, and raises $1.67 billion. The company’s market capitalization rockets to about $23 billion. Google also launches Gmail this year, offering an unprecedented 1GB of free email storage.
2005: Acquiring Android
Google acquires a little-known mobile software company called Android Inc. While the details are scarce at the time, this acquisition lays the groundwork for Google’s future dominance in mobile operating systems.
2006: YouTube and Video Content
Google purchases the video-sharing platform YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. YouTube quickly becomes the go-to platform for user-generated video content, changing the way people consume media.
2007: Android and Open Handset Alliance
Google announces the Android operating system and the Open Handset Alliance. This move revolutionizes the smartphone market, eventually allowing Android to become the world’s most popular mobile OS.
2008: Chrome Browser
Google launches the Chrome web browser, emphasizing speed, simplicity, and security. Chrome would go on to become one of the most widely used browsers globally.
2010: Autonomous Vehicles
Google publicly reveals its self-driving car project, later renamed Waymo. The project brings the concept of autonomous vehicles into the mainstream, sparking a race among tech and auto companies.
2011: Larry Page Returns as CEO
Larry Page takes the helm as CEO, signaling a new era focused on product innovation and streamlined operations. Eric Schmidt continues to serve as the Executive Chairman and later becomes a technical advisor to the company.
2012: Google Glass and Augmented Reality
The company introduces Google Glass, an experimental project that aims to bring augmented reality to everyday experiences. Despite its initial hype, Google Glass faces various challenges, including privacy concerns and limited practical applications.
2014: Smart Home Investments
Google acquires Nest Labs for $3.2 billion, marking its foray into the smart home market. Nest’s products, like smart thermostats and smoke detectors, integrate with Google’s broader ecosystem.
2015: The Rise of Alphabet
Google undergoes a significant corporate restructuring and becomes a subsidiary of a new holding company called Alphabet Inc. Sundar Pichai, who had been responsible for Android, Chrome, and Apps, becomes Google’s CEO.
2017: Google Assistant and AI
The company rolls out Google Assistant, a voice-activated AI assistant, aiming to make life easier for users. It quickly becomes a central component of Google’s ecosystem, integrated into phones, smart speakers, and other devices.
2018: Regulatory Scrutiny
Google faces increasing scrutiny over issues related to data privacy, election interference, and potential antitrust violations. Regulatory bodies around the world begin investigations and lawsuits.
2019: Leadership Changes
Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin step down from active management in Alphabet, making Sundar Pichai the CEO of both Google and Alphabet. Their departure marks the end of an era, but the company continues its trajectory of growth and influence.
2020-2021: COVID-19 and Beyond
During the global COVID-19 pandemic, Google plays a critical role in providing reliable information and remote working tools. Its products like Google Meet and Google Classroom see a surge in usage. However, the company also grapples with labor disputes and a rising tide of antitrust lawsuits.
2022: Continued Influence and Challenges
Up to my last update in January 2022, Google remains a tech behemoth, shaping how billions of people access information, communicate, and go about their daily lives. Yet, it continues to face significant challenges, including regulatory scrutiny and the need to innovate in a rapidly changing technological landscape.
History of Larry Page
Certainly, Larry Page is a pivotal figure in the world of technology and entrepreneurship, best known as the co-founder of Google. His life and career have been characterized by a relentless pursuit of innovation and a vision to make the world’s information accessible and useful.
Early Life and Education
Larry Page was born on March 26, 1973, in Lansing, Michigan, to parents who were both computer science professors. Growing up in an academic environment that nurtured his curiosity about technology, Page was an avid reader and tinkerer from a young age. He attended the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering. From there, he moved on to Stanford University for graduate studies in computer science, a decision that would change the course of his life.
The Birth of Google
At Stanford, Larry Page met Sergey Brin, another graduate student interested in data mining and information retrieval. For his Ph.D. research project, Page initially started working on analyzing the link structure of the World Wide Web to understand the hierarchy and relationships between webpages. The project, initially called “Backrub,” caught the interest of Brin, and the two started collaborating. They developed a search algorithm that ranked web pages based on their relevance and the number of quality links pointing to them. This became the foundation for Google, which was officially founded on September 4, 1998. Google’s search engine rapidly gained popularity, attracting venture capital and growing its user base.
Leadership at Google
Page initially took on the role of CEO at Google but later stepped aside in 2001 to allow Eric Schmidt to take over, in an effort to bring more seasoned leadership to the rapidly growing company. During this time, Page focused on product development and technology strategy. Google’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2004 was a significant milestone that made him a billionaire and solidified Google’s position as a tech giant.
In 2011, Larry Page returned as Google’s CEO, emphasizing product development and launching initiatives in various domains beyond search, such as self-driving cars (Waymo), smart homes (through the acquisition of Nest), and healthcare technologies. Under his leadership, Google continued to expand and innovate, solidifying its role as a dominant force in the technology world.
Creation of Alphabet and Beyond
In 2015, Larry Page announced a significant restructuring of Google, with the creation of Alphabet Inc. as a parent company overseeing various businesses, including Google. He became the CEO of Alphabet, leaving Sundar Pichai as Google’s CEO. This move allowed Google to focus on its core businesses while permitting other Alphabet companies to operate independently and delve into experimental ventures.
Larry Page stepped down as Alphabet’s CEO in December 2019 but remained a board member and a significant shareholder. Even after stepping back from daily operations, his impact on the company and the broader technology landscape remains substantial.
Personal Attributes and Legacy
Larry Page is known for his visionary thinking, obsession with innovation, and the audacity to take on big, transformational projects. He often emphasizes the importance of focusing on “moonshot” ideas that can radically improve the lives of billions of people. Page is a private individual and tends to keep a low profile, focusing more on engineering and product development than on public appearances.
In sum, Larry Page’s career represents a series of significant contributions to technology and human progress. His work has redefined the way we access and interact with information, shaping the internet age in profound ways.