Twenty-three years ago, two PhD students came up with the idea of setting up a prototype of a ‘large-scale search engine’. Their project went on to become Google – world’s biggest search engine. Google is celebrating its 23rd birthday today, September 27 and the tech giant marked the occasion with an animated cake doodle.
“Every day, there are billions of searches on Google in more than 150 languages around the globe, and while much has changed from the early days of Google, from its first server housed in a cabinet built out of toy blocks to its servers now being housed in more than 20 data centers globally, its mission of making the world’s information accessible to everyone remains the same,” Google wrote in a bio accompanying the Doodle.
THE BIRTH OF A TECH GIANT
When 22-year-old Lawrence Page and 21-year-old Sergey Brin met for the first time at the Computer Science department of Stanford University, they disagreed with each other on almost everything. Page had recently arrived at Stanford for a PhD in computer science after graduating from Michigan University, and Brin, also a PhD student, was responsible for showing him around the campus.
As 1995 passed and 1996 arrived, a partnership between Page and Brin was formed that changed the course of history. Together, the duo had developed BackRub, an algorithm that crawled the web to understand its mathematical hierarchy and rank the web pages according to the number of the reputed links directed at them.
The search engine got the name Google from the mathematical term “googol” which refers to one followed by 100 zeroes.
On September 15, 1997, Page and Brin registered a domain name for their search engine. Before this, their search engine was eating up most of Stanford’s bandwidth. The new domain name was Google.com.
In August 1998, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems — a computer hardware and software company that was facing market competition at the time — Andy Bechtolsheim wrote a $100,000 cheque to Google, a company that did not exist at the time.
On September 4, Page and Brin got the company registered in California and opened a bank account in the newly registered company’s name to make use of Bechtolsheim’s cheque.
They set up the new company’s office in Susan Wojcicki’s garage in California. Wojcicki went on to become Google’s marketing manager the following year and is now YouTube’s CEO. From there Google went on a journey of rapid growth to become one of the biggest tech giants in the world.
Today, Google not only offers its core search engine service but has expanded everywhere from cloud-based productivity software such as Docs, Sheets and Slides, to smartphone manufacturing such as Pixel phones. Google has contributed a significant amount of research and developments in software technology and artificial intelligence.
Recently, the tech-giant has also achieved a major breakthrough in quantum computing.
Happy Birthday, Google.