How the World’s Most Trusted Company Came to Be

Photo -

Google Search, also known as Google Web Search or simply Google, is the web search engine developed by Google LLC. Google Search is the most used search engine on the web across all platforms, with a whopping 92.74% market share as of October 2018.

Google alone handles more than 3.5 billion searches per day and is now known as one of the “Big Four” technology companies, along with Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. What began as a research project for two Stanford University students would soon change the way the internet is used around the world.

Fun fact: Yahoo turned down the chance to buy Google for $1 million in 1997. Today, Google is worth $200 billion, while Yahoo is worth just $20 billion.

Humble Beginnings

Photo –

The story of Google begins in 1995, when Larry Page (co-inventor of Google) was considering Stanford University for graduate school. Sergey Brin (the other co-inventor) was already a student at Stanford and was assigned to show Larry Page around campus.

By some first-hand accounts, Larry Page and Sergey Brin disagreed about virtually everything during their initial friendship. But by 1996, they’d begun their partnership and would soon change the way the world uses the internet.

Beginning in January of 1996 and working solely out of their dorm rooms, the team of two built a new type of search engine as a research project: a search engine that used backlinks to determine the importance of individual pages on the web. At the time, web pages used an inefficient system where they were ranked by the number of times the search term was shown on the page. This led to an epidemic of keyword-stuffing: a tactic used to make poor content rank high in search results, even if the information contained was useless.

The two named their new technology PageRank and their new search engine Backrub. But the name Backrub was short-lived (thankfully), being replaced by Google.

Fun fact: Google now has more than one million servers, which is approximately 2% of all the servers in the world.

What’s in a Name

Photo –

The name Google was stumbled upon by accident when one of the inventors misspelled “googol,” a mathematical expression for the number one followed by one hundred zeros. The new name stuck and aptly reflected Sergey and Larry’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” They registered the domain name “” on September 15th, 1997, and the company was incorporated on September 4th, 1998.

Location, Location, Location

Photo –
Over the following few years, Google began to catch the attention of not only the academic community but the Silicon Valley investor community as well. But it wasn’t until August of 1998 that the newly founded Google made its first big break, just before it was incorporated. This “big break” came in the form of a $100,000 check, written to “Google Inc.,” from Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems. And it was with this investment that the newly incorporated team made the move from college dorm rooms to their first office: a garage in the suburban area of Menlo Park, California. The “office” was owned by Susan Wojcicki, employee number 16 of Google. Wojcicki went on to become the CEO of Youtube.And Google went on to receive investments from three other angel investors in 1998, including Jeff Bezos, the founder of, David Cheriton, a Stanford computer science professor, and an entrepreneur named Ram Shriram.

Fun fact: Google’s first Tweet “I’m 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010” mean’s “I’m feeling lucky” in binary code.

Committed to Being Unique and Standing by Their Values

Google, as a company, was unique and unconventional from the beginning. From their initial server being made of Legos to their first “Doodle” in 1998 (a stick figure in the logo, shown to let visitors know that the entire staff was at the Burning Man Festival), they showed a commitment to being one of a kind.

Up until around the end of 2015, Google’s unofficial company slogan was “Don’t be evil,” a motto that they tried to operate the company by. When “Don’t be evil” was phased out, it was replaced with “Do the right thing.” They further show a unique perspective on business in “The ten things we know to be true.”

On their website, they say, “The relentless search for better answers continues to be at the core of everything we do…Although we’ve ditched the Lego servers and added just a few more company dogs, our passion for building technology for everyone has stayed with us — from the dorm room, to the garage, and to this very day.”

And for the most part, Google seems to stay pretty true to their roots, to their history, and to their unique standards. Who would have known, all those years ago, what two college guys were going to accomplish with a simple research project?