Google is celebrating their 12th birthday during the month of September, and today they have placed a little birthday cake logo on their home page—it was on this date, September 27, in 1998 that Google was first incorporated as a privately held company.
There is an awful lot to reflect on from the last twelve years of Google's growth. They've added so many products and services and have undergone so much change that it's almost hard to remember them as "the little search engine that could.” But that's exactly what they were when they started out. Two guys with no money, working out of a garage, trying to serve up faster and more accurate results than search giants like Yahoo and AltaVista—and they succeeded.
But Google today, while still focused on search as its main product, looks like a completely different company. In twelve years they've gone from nonexistence to a juggernaut worthy of rivaling Microsoft for tech company size and dominance.
How did such a massive growth and shift occur in such a short amount of time? It wasn't any one event, I can promise you that. Instead, it's a carefully-crafted culture of innovation and change, passed down from the two founders to the top-tier engineering talent they employ.
To help remember how Google got from there to here, the Telegraph has compiled one heck of a timeline. It begins in the summer of 1995, when Sergey Brin and Larry page first met, and runs all the way up through today's 12th-birthday logo doodle. It is every bit as exhaustive as it is entertaining. You might be surprised at some of the major moments in Google's history that you have long since forgotten about.
It's full of little nuggets like these:
August 1998 Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of the erstwhile computer firm Sun Microsystems, becomes the first investor in Google when he writes a cheque for $100,000 to an entity that does not ye exist – a company called Google Inc.
March 1999 The first-ever company ski trip takes place when staff pile into a van and head for Tahoe, California. The "winter trip" has since become an annual tradition.
October 2000 Google AdWords launches with 350 customers. The programme allows companies to market their services by allowing them to buy the most popular and relevant search terms.
March 2001 Eric Schmidt, a former director of Apple, is named chairman of the board of directors. The search engine is now available in 26 languages. The Google logo is centered on the page.
In some ways, Google is still the same company it was in the early days. In mission, they're still trying to index and make accessible all the world's information, and most of their products and services do seem to serve that purpose in one way or another. In finance, they're still an advertising company, making money hand over fist from all their various ad platforms and networks.
But the company sure has traveled a great distance in a very short amount of time. When Google was founded, Microsoft was already a 23-year-old company, and Google is about half that old now. What will the next twelve years hold for Google? Who will they be in 2022? While it's tempting to suggest that they will still be focused on search and advertising, the truth is that we really can't know. But I think we can definitely say with certainty that Google will continue to seek out ways to find and share information, and capitalize on the traffic they get in those endeavors.
Regardless of their future, in the present… they are still far and away the most dominant search engine. As such, they command the attention of people like you and I—video creators and marketers seeking to help connect the audience with the content we've placed online. When Google began, online video was just a pipe dream. Now, Google is helping video creators learn how video sitemaps can help clips be found in an instant. With ownership of YouTube, their dominance in search market share, and their ability to help drive profits through their ad-networks… Google is still one of the most important companies that video creators rely on to help find an audience and carve out a career. And my guess is that, after another twelve years, that will still be the case.