What do Internet users think of when they hear ‘search engine’? Google, of course. The tech giant Google is so popular that in 2006, the word ‘google’ was inducted into Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary as a verb after millions of users were Googling their searches.
Not far from its Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California was the location of its humble beginnings in 1998: a garage. Like a rags to riches story, after working out of a friend’s garage, Google’s founders have seen their company experience a monopoly in the search engine market. After founders Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page wanted to improve the quality of web searches, the idea of Google was born.
Google’s search engine, the company’s backbone and an Internet game changer, began as Brin and Page’s Ph.D. research project when they were computer science students at Stanford University. Their search engine became a technological marvel, which eventually led them to officially establish Google Inc. on September 4, 1998. Google is a play on the word ‘googol,’ a math term for 1 followed by 100 zeros. Its history page cites the name as attributed to the company’s goal to organise the vast amounts of information available on the Internet.
According to comScore’s August 2012 U.S. Search Engine Rankings, Google continued to be number 1 with 66.4% of the search market, or 11.3 billion search queries. Microsoft came in second with 15.9% and Yahoo! in third with 12.8%.
With its search engine as the buoy to their success, Google outlined its philosophies leading to its innovation, creativity and corporate culture. Engineers at Google contribute 20% of their work time to develop a personal yet company-related interest. This unique take on productivity has yielded successful products like Android, Google Voice, and Chrome, which dominate the phone, Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) and browser markets, respectively.
Google’s commitment to open source software lives on in Google’s Chrome, the Internet’s newest yet most popular web browser. Just like Google’s model to build a better search engine, Google has built a better web browser. Google Chrome is the most used browser, capturing 33.59% of the world’s browser usage, as recorded by StatCounter Global Stats for August 2012. (http://gs.statcounter.com/)
Aside from producing its own innovations, Google further expanded its Internet influence through the acquisitions of other tech companies and applications. One of its biggest moves came in 2006 when Google acquired another Internet staple: the user-driven video website Youtube for $1.65 billion, which has become a prime site for displaying ads. Google gains the majority of its profit from advertisments. Through its programs AdSense and AdWords, Google has provided advertisements for sites across the world as a way for Internet businesses to make profit. After buying DoubleClick in 2007 for $3.1 billion, which allowed for Google to create more media-rich ads and commercials to gain even more revenue, Google has further expanded its Internet influence.