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Google Inc. is an American public corporation, earning revenue from advertising related to its Internet search, e-mail, online mapping, office productivity, social networking, and video sharing services as well as selling advertising-free versions of the same technologies. Google has also developed an open source web browser and a mobile operating system. The Google headquarters, the Googleplexmarker, is located in Mountain View, Californiamarker. , the company has 19,786 full-time employees. The company is running thousands of servers worldwide, which process millions of search requests each day and about 1 petabyte of user-generated data every hour.

Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford Universitymarker and the company was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. The initial public offering took place on August 19, 2004, raising $1.67 billion, implying a value for the entire corporation of $23 billion. Google has continued its growth through a series of new product developments, acquisitions, and partnerships. Environmentalism, philanthropy and positive employee relations have been important tenets during the growth of Google. The company has been identified multiple times as Fortune Magazine's #1 Best Place to Work, and as the most powerful brand in the world. Alexa ranks Google as the most visited website on the Internet.

Google's mission is "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful". The unofficial company slogan, coined by former employee and Gmail's first engineer Paul Buchheit, is "Don't be evil". Criticism of Google includes concerns regarding the privacy of personal information, copyright, and censorship.


Google in 1998
The first iteration of Google production servers was built with inexpensive hardware and was designed to be very fault-tolerant
Google began in January 1996, as a research project by Larry Page, who was soon joined by Sergey Brin, when they were both PhD students at Stanford Universitymarker in Californiamarker. They hypothesized that a search engine that analyzed the relationships between websites would produce better ranking of results than existing techniques, which ranked results according to the number of times the search term appeared on a page. Their search engine was originally nicknamed "BackRub" because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site. A small search engine called Rankdex was already exploring a similar strategy.

Convinced that the pages with the most links to them from other highly relevant web pages must be the most relevant pages associated with the search, Page and Brin tested their thesis as part of their studies, and laid the foundation for their search engine. Originally, the search engine used the Stanford Universitymarker website with the domain The domain was registered on 15 September 1997, and the company was incorporated as Google Inc. on 4 September 1998 at a friend's garage in Menlo Park, Californiamarker. The total initial investment raised for the new company amounted to almost $1.1 million, including a $100,000 check by Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems.

Both Brin and Page had been against using advertising pop-ups in a search engine, or an "advertising funded search engines" model, and they wrote a research paper in 1998 on the topic while still students. However, they soon changed their minds and early on allowed simple text ads.

In March 1999, the company moved into offices in Palo Altomarker, home to several other noted Silicon Valleymarker technology startups. After quickly outgrowing two other sites, the company leased a complex of buildings in Mountain View, Californiamarker at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway from Silicon Graphics (SGI) in 2003. The company has remained at this location ever since, and the complex has since come to be known as the Googleplexmarker (a play on the word googolplex). In 2006, Google bought the property from SGI for $319 million.

The Google search engine attracted a loyal following among a growing number of Internet users, who liked its simple design and useful results. In 2000, Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords. The ads were text-based to maintain an uncluttered page design and to maximize page loading speed. Keywords were sold based on a combination of price bid and clickthroughs, with bidding starting at 5 cents per click. This model of selling keyword advertising was pioneered by (later renamed Overture Services, before being acquired by Yahoo! and rebranded as Yahoo! Search Marketing). was an Idealab spin off created by Bill Gross, and was the first company to successfully provide a pay-for-placement search service. Overture Services later sued Google over alleged infringements of Overture's pay-per-click and bidding patents by Google's AdWords service. The case was settled out of court, with Google agreeing to issue shares of common stock to Yahoo! in exchange for a perpetual license. Thus, while many of its dot-com rivals failed in the new Internet marketplace, Google quietly rose in stature while generating revenue.

A patent describing part of the Google ranking mechanism (PageRank) was granted on 4 September 2001. The patent was officially assigned to Stanford University and lists Lawrence Page as the inventor.


The name "Google" originated from a misspelling of the word "googol", which refers to 10100, the number represented by a 1 followed by one hundred zeros. Having found its way increasingly into everyday language, the verb "google" was added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, meaning "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet."

Financing and initial public offering

The first funding for Google as a company was secured in August 1998, in the form of a $100,000 contribution from Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, given to a corporation which did not yet exist.

On June 7, 1999 a round of funding of $25 million was announced, with the major investors being rival venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.

The Google IPO took place on 19 August 2004. 19,605,052 shares were offered at a price of $85 per share. Of that, 14,142,135 (another mathematical reference as √2 ≈ 1.4142135) were floated by Google, and the remaining 5,462,917 were offered by existing stockholders. The sale of $1.67 billion gave Google a market capitalization of more than $23 billion. The vast majority of the 271 million shares remained under the control of Google. Many Google employees became instant paper millionaires. Yahoo!, a competitor of Google, also benefited from the IPO because it owned 8.4 million shares of Google as of 9 August 2004, ten days before the IPO.

The stock performance of Google after its first IPO launch has gone well, with shares hitting $700 for the first time on 31 October 2007, due to strong sales and earnings in the advertising market, as well as the release of new features such as the desktop search function and its iGoogle personalized home page. The surge in stock price is fueled primarily by individual investors, as opposed to large institutional investors and mutual funds.

The company is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol GOOG and under the London Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GGEA.


While the primary business interest is in the web content arena, Google has begun experimenting with other markets, such as radio and print publications. On 17 January 2006, Google announced the purchase of a radio advertising company "dMarc", which provides an automated system that allows companies to advertise on the radio. This will allow Google to combine two niche advertising media—the Internet and radio—with Google's ability to laser-focus on the tastes of consumers. Google has also begun an experiment in selling advertisements from its advertisers in offline newspapers and magazines, with select advertisements in the Chicago Sun-Times. They have been filling unsold space in the newspaper that would have normally been used for in-house advertisements.


Since 2001, Google has acquired several companies, mainly focusing on small start-ups.

In 2004, Google acquired a company called Keyhole, Inc., which developed a product called Earth Viewer, renamed in 2005 to Google Earth.

In February 2006, software company Adaptive Path sold Measure Map, a weblog statistics application, to Google. Registration to the service has since been temporarily disabled. The last update regarding the future of Measure Map was made on 6 April 2006 and outlined many of the known issues of the service.

In late 2006, Google bought the online video site YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. Shortly after, on 31 October 2006, Google announced that it had also acquired JotSpot, a developer of wiki technology for collaborative Web sites.

On 13 April 2007, Google reached an agreement to acquire DoubleClick. Google agreed to buy the company for $3.1 billion.

On 2 July 2007, Google purchased GrandCentral. Google agreed to buy the company for $50 million.

On 9 July 2007, Google announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to acquire enterprise messaging security and compliance company Postini.

On August 5 2009, Google announced the purchase of video software maker On2 Technologies for $106.5 million - its first acquisition of a public company.

On 24 November 2009, Google announced the purchase of Teracent, a California based start up company, for an undisclosed price. This is another acquisition on Google's behalf in a series of advertising related purchases- AdMob, Double Click.


In 2005, Google entered into partnerships with other companies and government agencies to improve production and services. Google announced a partnership with NASA Ames Research Centermarker to build up of offices and work on research projects involving large-scale data management, nanotechnology, distributed computing, and the entrepreneurial space industry. Google also entered into a partnership with Sun Microsystems in October to help share and distribute each other's technologies. The company entered into a partnership with AOL of Time Warner, to enhance each other's video search services.

The same year, the company became a major financial investor of the new .mobi top-level domain for mobile devices, in conjunction with several other companies, including Microsoft, Nokia, and Ericsson among others. In September 2007, Google launched, "Adsense for Mobile", a service for its publishing partners which provides the ability to monetize their mobile websites through the targeted placement of mobile text ads, and acquired the mobile social networking site,, to "provide people worldwide with direct access to Google applications, and ultimately the information they want and need, right from their mobile devices."

In 2006, Google and Fox Interactive Media of News Corp. entered into a $900 million agreement to provide search and advertising on the popular social networking site, MySpace.

Google has developed a partnership with GeoEye to launch a satellite providing Google with high-resolution (0.41 m monochrome, 1.65 m color) imagery for Google Earth. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Basemarker on 6 September 2008.

In 2008, Google announced that it was hosting an archive of Life magazine's photographs, as part of a joint effort. Some of the images in the archive were never published in the magazine. The photos are watermarked and originally had copyright notices posted on all photos, regardless of public domain status.

Products and services

Google has created services and tools for the general public and business environment alike, including Web applications, advertising networks and solutions for businesses.


99% of Google's revenue is derived from its advertising programs. For the 2006 fiscal year, the company reported $10.492 billion in total advertising revenues and only $112 million in licensing and other revenues. Google is able to precisely track users' interests across affiliated sites using DoubleClick technology and Google Analytics. Google's advertisements carry a lower price tag when their human ad-rating team working around the world believes the ads improve the company's user experience. Google AdWords allows Web advertisers to display advertisements in Google's search results and the Google Content Network, through either a cost-per-click or cost-per-view scheme. Google AdSense website owners can also display adverts on their own site, and earn money every time ads are clicked. Google began in March 2009 to use behavioral targeting based on users' interests.

Google has also been criticized by advertisers regarding its inability to combat click fraud, when a person or automated script is used to generate a charge on an advertisement without really having an interest in the product. Industry reports in 2006 claim that approximately 14 to 20 percent of clicks were in fact fraudulent or invalid.

In June 2008, Google reached an advertising agreement with Yahoo!, which would have allowed Yahoo! to feature Google advertisements on their web pages. The alliance between the two companies was never completely realized due to antitrust concerns by the U.S.marker Department of Justicemarker. As a result, Google pulled out of the deal in November, 2008.


The Google web search engine is the company's most popular service. As of August 2007, Google is the most used search engine on the web with a 53.6% market share, ahead of Yahoo! (19.9%) and Bing Search (12.9%). Google indexes billions of Web pages, so that users can search for the information they desire, through the use of keywords and operators, although at any given time it will only return a maximum of 1,000 results for any specific search query. Google has also employed the Web Search technology into other search services, including Image Search, Google News, the price comparison site Google Product Search, the interactive Usenet archive Google Groups, Google Maps, and more.

In early 2006, the company launched Google Video, which allowed users to both upload videos, and search and watch videos from the larger Internet. In 2009 uploads to Google video were discontinued.

Google has also developed several desktop applications, including Google Desktop, Picasa, SketchUp and Google Earth, an interactive mapping program powered by satellite and aerial imagery that covers the vast majority of the planet. Many major cities have such detailed images that one can zoom in close enough to see vehicles and pedestrians clearly. Consequently, there have been some concerns about national security implications; contention is that the software can be used to pinpoint with near-precision accuracy the physical location of critical infrastructure, commercial and residential buildings, bases, government agencies, and so on. However, the satellite images are not necessarily frequently updated, and all of them are available at no charge through other products and even government sources; the software simply makes accessing the information easier. A number of Indianmarker state governments have raised concerns about the security risks posed by geographic details provided by Google Earth's satellite imaging.

Google has promoted their products in various ways. In Londonmarker, Google Space was set-up in Heathrow Airportmarker, showcasing several products, including Gmail, Google Earth and Picasa. Also, a similar page was launched for American college students, under the name College Life, Powered by Google.

In 2007, some reports surfaced that Google was planning the release of its own mobile phone, possibly a competitor to Applemarker's iPhone. The project, called Android, turned out not to be a phone, but an operating system. It provides a standard development kit that will allow any "Android" phone to run software developed for the Android SDK, no matter the phone manufacturer. In September 2008, T-Mobile released the first phone running the Android platform, the G1.

Google Translate aka Google Language Tools is a server-side machine translation service, which can translate 35 different languages to each other, forming 595 language pairs. Browser extension tools (such as Firefox extensions) allow for easy access to Google Translate from the browser. The software uses corpus linguistics techniques from translated documents, (such as United Nations documents, which are professionally translated) to extract translations accurate up to 88 percent. A "suggest a better translation" feature appears with the original language text in a pop-up text field, allowing users to indicate where the current translation is incorrect or else inferior to another translation.

On 1 September 2008, Google pre-announced the upcoming availability of Google Chrome, an open-source web browser, which was released on 2 September 2008.

On 7 July 2009, Google announced the project to develop Google Chrome OS, an open-source Linux-based operating system in a "window of opportunity".


Gmail is a free webmail, POP3 and IMAP service provided by Google. In the United Kingdommarker and Germanymarker, it is officially called Google Mail.

Gmail was launched as an invitation-only beta release on April 1, 2004 and it became available to the general public on February 7, 2007. As of July 2009 it has 146 million users monthly. The service was upgraded from beta status on July 7, 2009, along with the rest of the Google Apps suite.

With an initial storage capacity offer of 1 GB per user, Gmail significantly increased the webmail standard for free storage from the 2 to 4MB its competitors offered at that time. The service currently offers over 7350 MB of free storage with additional storage ranging from 10 GB to 400 GB available for $20 to $500 (US) per year.

In February 2006, Google released Gmail Chat, using the same tools used in Google Talk.

Gmail has a search-oriented interface and a "conversation view" similar to an Internet forum. Software developers know Gmail for its pioneering use of the Ajax programming technique.

Gmail runs on Google Servlet Engine and Google GFE/1.3 which run on Linux.

Enterprise products

Google entered the enterprise market in February 2002 with the launch of its Google Search Appliance, targeted toward providing search technology to larger organizations. Providing search for a smaller document repository, Google launched the Mini in 2005.

Late in 2006, Google began to sell Custom Search Business Edition, providing customers with an advertising-free window into's index. In 2008, Google re-branded its next version of Custom Search Business Edition as Google Site Search.

In 2007, Google launched Google Apps Premier Edition, a version of Google Apps targeted primarily at the business user. It includes such extras as more disk space for e-mail, API access, and premium support, for a price of $50 per user per year. A large implementation of Google Apps with 38,000 users is at Lakehead Universitymarker in Thunder Baymarker, Ontario, Canada.

Also in 2007, Google acquired Postini and continued to sell the acquired technology as Google Security Services.


Google runs its services on several server farms, each comprising thousands of low-cost commodity computers running stripped-down versions of Linux. While the company divulges no details of its hardware, a 2006 estimate cites 450,000 servers, "racked up in clusters at data centers around the world." The company has about 24 server farms around the world of various configurations. The farm in The Dalles, Oregonmarker is powered by hydroelectricity at about 50 megawatts.

Corporate affairs and culture

Google is known for its informal corporate culture, of which its playful variations on its own corporate logo are an indicator. In 2007 and 2008, Fortune Magazine placed Google at the top of its list of the hundred best places to work. Google's corporate philosophy embodies such casual principles as "you can make money without doing evil," "you can be serious without a suit," and "work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun."

Google has been criticized for having salaries below industry standards. For example, some system administrators earn no more than $35,000 per year – considered to be quite low for the Bay Areamarker job market. However, Google's stock performance following its IPO has enabled many early employees to be competitively compensated by participation in the corporation's remarkable equity growth.

After the company's IPO in August 2004, it was reported that founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, and CEO Eric Schmidt, requested that their base salary be cut to $1. Subsequent offers by the company to increase their salaries have been turned down, primarily because, "their primary compensation continues to come from returns on their ownership stakes in Google. As significant stockholders, their personal wealth is tied directly to sustained stock price appreciation and performance, which provides direct alignment with stockholder interests." Prior to 2004, Schmidt was making $250,000 per year, and Page and Brin each earned a salary of $150,000.

They have all declined recent offers of bonuses and increases in compensation by Google's board of directors. In a 2007 report of the United States' richest people, Forbes reported that Sergey Brin and Larry Page were tied for #5 with a net worth of $18.5 billion each.

In 2007 and through early 2008, Google has seen the departure of several top executives. Gideon Yu, former chief financial officer of YouTube, a Google unit, joined Facebook along with Benjamin Ling, a high-ranking engineer, who left in October 2007. In March 2008, two senior Google leaders announced their desire to pursue other opportunities. Sheryl Sandburg, ex-VP of global online sales and operations began her position as COO of Facebook while Ash ElDifrawi, former head of brand advertising, left to become CMO of Netshops Inc.

Google's persistent cookie and other information collection practices have led to concerns over user privacy. As of 11 December 2007, Google, like the Microsoft search engine, stores "personal information for 18 months" and by comparison, AOL (Time Warner) "retain[s] search requests for 13 months", and Yahoo! 90 days.

U.S. District Court Judge Louis Stanton, on July 1, 2008 ordered Google to give YouTube user data / log to Viacom to support its case in a billion-dollar copyright lawsuit against Google. Google and Viacom, however, on July 14, 2008, agreed in compromise to protect YouTube users' personal data in the $1 billion copyright lawsuit. Google agreed it will make user information and Internet protocol addresses from its YouTube subsidiary anonymous before handing over the data to Viacom. The privacy deal also applied to other litigants including the FA Premier League, the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organisation and the Scottish Premier League. The deal however did not extend the anonymity to employees, since Viacom would prove that Google staff are aware of uploading of illegal material to the site. The parties therefore will further meet on the matter lest the data be made available to the court.


The Googleplex

Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, is referred to as "the Googleplexmarker" in a play of words; a googolplex being 1010100, or a one followed by a googol of zeros, and the HQ being a complex of buildings (cf. multiplex, cineplex, etc). The lobby is decorated with a piano, lava lamps, old server clusters, and a projection of search queries on the wall. The hallways are full of exercise balls and bicycles. Each employee has access to the corporate recreation center. Recreational amenities are scattered throughout the campus and include a workout room with weights and rowing machines, locker rooms, washers and dryers, a massage room, assorted video games, foosball, a baby grand piano, a pool table, and ping pong. In addition to the rec room, there are snack rooms stocked with various foods and drinks.
Sign at the Googleplex

In 2006, Google moved into of office space in New York Citymarker, at 111 Eighth Ave.marker in Manhattan. The office was specially designed and built for Google and houses its largest advertising sales team, which has been instrumental in securing large partnerships, most recently deals with MySpace and AOL. In 2003, they added an engineering staff in New York City, which has been responsible for more than 100 engineering projects, including Google Maps, Google Spreadsheets, and others. It is estimated that the building costs Google $10 million per year to rent and is similar in design and functionality to its Mountain Viewmarker headquarters, including foosball, air hockey, and ping-pong tables, as well as a video game area. In November 2006, Google opened offices on Carnegie Mellonmarker's campus in Pittsburghmarker. By late 2006, Google also established a new headquarters for its AdWords division in Ann Arbor, Michiganmarker.

Google is taking steps to ensure that their operations are environmentally sound. In October 2006, the company announced plans to install thousands of solar panels to provide up to 1.6 megawatts of electricity, enough to satisfy approximately 30% of the campus' energy needs. The system will be the largest solar power system constructed on a U.S. corporate campus and one of the largest on any corporate site in the world. Google has faced accusations in Harper's Magazine of being extremely excessive with their energy usage, and were accused of employing their "Don't be evil" motto as well as their very public energy saving campaigns as means of trying to cover up or make up for the massive amounts of energy their servers actually require.

In 2009 Google announced it was deploying herds of goats to keep grassland around the Googleplex short, helping to prevent the threat from seasonal bush fires while also reducing the carbon footprint of mowing the extensive grounds.

Innovation Time Off

As a motivation technique (usually called Innovation Time Off), all Google engineers are encouraged to spend 20% of their work time (one day per week) on projects that interest them. Some of Google's newer services, such as Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense originated from these independent endeavors. In a talk at Stanford Universitymarker, Marissa Mayer, Google's Vice President of Search Products and User Experience, stated that her analysis showed that 50% of the new product launches originated from the 20% time.

Easter eggs and April Fool's Day jokes

Google has a tradition of creating April Fool's Day jokes—such as Google MentalPlex, which allegedly featured the use of mental power to search the web. In 2002, they claimed that pigeons were the secret behind their growing search engine. In 2004, they featured Google Lunar (which claimed to feature jobs on the moon), and in 2005, a fictitious brain-boosting drink, termed Google Gulp was announced. In 2006, they came up with Google Romance, a hypothetical online dating service. In 2007, Google announced two joke products. The first was a free wireless Internet service called TiSP (Toilet Internet Service Provider) in which one obtained a connection by flushing one end of a fiber-optic cable down their toilet and waiting only an hour for a "Plumbing Hardware Dispatcher (PHD)" to connect it to the Internet. Additionally, Google's Gmail page displayed an announcement for Gmail Paper, which allows users of their free email service to have email messages printed and shipped to a snail mail address.

Google's services contain a number of Easter eggs; for instance, the Language Tools page offers the search interface in the Swedish Chef's "Bork bork bork," Pig Latin, "Hacker" (actually leetspeak), Elmer Fudd, and Klingon. In addition, the search engine calculator provides the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. As Google’s search box can be used as a unit converter (as well as a calculator), some non-standard units are built in, such as the Smoot. A newly discovered easter egg is the spell-checker's result for the properly spelled word "recursion". The spell-checker built into Google search returns "Did you mean: recursion?" in a recursive link back to the same page. Google also routinely modifies its logo in accordance with various holidays or special events throughout the year, such as Christmas, Mother's Day, or the birthdays of various notable individuals. Other logo switches are based on search terms. For instance, if the term "ASCII art" is searched, an ASCII art version of the Google logo will appear next to the search box.

IPO and culture

Many people speculated that Google's IPO would inevitably lead to changes in the company's culture, because of shareholder pressure for employee benefit reductions and short-term advances, or because a large number of the company's employees would suddenly become millionaires on paper. In a report given to potential investors, co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page promised that the IPO would not change the company's culture. Later Mr. Page said, "We think a lot about how to maintain our culture and the fun elements. We spent a lot of time getting our offices right. We think it's important to have a high density of people. People are packed together everywhere. We all share offices. We like this set of buildings because it's more like a densely packed university campus than a typical suburban office park."

However, many analysts are finding that as Google grows, the company is becoming more "corporate". In 2005, articles in The New York Times and other sources began suggesting that Google had lost its anti-corporate, no evil philosophy.In an effort to maintain the company's unique culture, Google has designated a Chief Culture Officer in 2006, who also serves as the Director of Human Resources. The purpose of the Chief Culture Officer is to develop and maintain the culture and work on ways to keep true to the core values that the company was founded on in the beginning—a flat organization with a collaborative environment.

Google has faced allegations of sexism and ageism from former employees.


In 2004, Google formed a not for-profit philanthropic wing,, with a start-up fund of $1 billion. The express mission of the organization is to create awareness about climate change, global public health, and global poverty. One of its first projects is to develop a viable plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can attain 100 mpg. The founder is Dr Larry Brilliant and the current director is Megan Smith.

In 2008 Google announced its "project 10^100" which accepted ideas for how to help the community and then will allow Google users to vote on their favorites.

Network neutrality

Google is a noted supporter of network neutrality. According to Google's Guide to Net Neutrality:
"Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be in control of what content they view and what applications they use on the Internet. The Internet has operated according to this neutrality principle since its earliest days... Fundamentally, net neutrality is about equal access to the Internet. In our view, the broadband carriers should not be permitted to use their market power to discriminate against competing applications or content. Just as telephone companies are not permitted to tell consumers who they can call or what they can say, broadband carriers should not be allowed to use their market power to control activity online."
On February 7, 2006, Vinton Cerf, a co-inventor of the Internet Protocol (IP), and current Vice President and "Chief Internet Evangelist" at Google, in testimony before Congress, said, "allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success."

See also


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