is an American public corporation
, earning revenue from
related to its Internet search
, office productivity
, and video sharing
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
Googleplex, is located in Mountain View, California.
, 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
of user-generated data every
founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford
University and the company was first incorporated as a
privately held company on
September 4, 1998.
The initial public offering
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
and positive employee
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
first engineer Paul Buchheit
"Don't be evil
". Criticism of Google
regarding the privacy
, and censorship
Google in 1998
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
University in California.
The first iteration of Google
production servers was built with inexpensive hardware and was
designed to be very fault-tolerant
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
to estimate the importance of a
site. A small search engine called Rankdex was already exploring a
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
University website with the domain
google.stanford.edu. The domain
google.com 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, California.
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
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.
1999, the company moved into offices in Palo
Alto, home to several other noted Silicon Valley technology startups. After quickly
outgrowing two other sites, the company leased a complex of
buildings in Mountain View, California at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway from Silicon Graphics (SGI) in 2003.
company has remained at this location ever since, and the complex
has since come to be known as the Googleplex (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 Goto.com
(later renamed Overture Services
, before being acquired
and rebranded as Yahoo! Search Marketing
). Goto.com was an
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
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
", 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
" was added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary
and the Oxford English
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
The Google IPO
took place on 19 August 2004.
were offered at a price of
$85 per share. Of that, 14,142,135 (another mathematical reference
≈ 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
, 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
The company is listed on the NASDAQ
exchange under the ticker symbol
and under the London Stock Exchange
under the ticker
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,
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
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
, 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
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
In 2005, Google entered into partnerships with other companies and
government agencies to improve production and services.
announced a partnership with NASA Ames Research Center 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
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, Zingku.mobi
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
. The satellite was
launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on 6 September 2008.
In 2008, Google announced that it was hosting an archive of
'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
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.
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'
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. Department of Justice.
As a result, Google pulled out of the deal
in November, 2008.
The Google web search engine
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
indexes billions of Web pages, so that users can search for the
information they desire, through the use of keywords
, 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
archive Google Groups
, and more.
In early 2006, the company launched Google
, 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
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
number of Indian 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 London, Google
Space was set-up in Heathrow Airport, 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.
some reports surfaced that Google was planning the release of its
own mobile phone, possibly a competitor to Apple's iPhone.
The project, called Android
, turned out not to
be a phone, but an operating
. 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
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
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
, 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
in a "window of opportunity".
Gmail is a free webmail, POP3
service provided by Google. In the United
Kingdom and Germany, 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)
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
Google entered the enterprise market in February 2002 with the
launch of its Google Search
, targeted toward providing search technology to
larger organizations. Providing search for a smaller document
repository, Google launched the Mini
Late in 2006, Google began to sell Custom Search Business
, providing customers with an advertising-free window
'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
, 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 University in Thunder
Bay, Ontario, Canada.
Also in 2007, Google acquired Postini
continued to sell the acquired technology as Google Security Services
Google runs its services on several server
, 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.
in The Dalles,
Oregon is powered by hydroelectricity at about 50
Corporate affairs and culture
Google is known for its informal corporate culture, of which its
playful variations on its own corporate
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
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
Area 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 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
, 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
Google's persistent cookie
information collection practices have led to concerns over user
. As of 11 December
2007, Google, like the Microsoft
engine, stores "personal information for 18 months" and by
) "retain[s] search requests for 13 months", and Yahoo!
U.S. District Court Judge Louis
, on July 1, 2008 ordered Google to give YouTube
user data / log to Viacom
to support its case in a billion-dollar
lawsuit against Google. Google
, however, on July 14, 2008, agreed
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.
headquarters in Mountain View, California, is referred to as "the
Googleplex" 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
, a baby grand
, a pool table
, and ping pong
. In addition to the rec room
, there are snack rooms stocked with
various foods and drinks.
Google moved into of office space in New York City, at 111 Eighth Ave. in Manhattan.
Sign at the Googleplex
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
. In 2003, they
added an engineering staff in New York City, which has been
responsible for more than 100 engineering projects, including
, Google Spreadsheets
, and others.
estimated that the building costs Google $10 million per year to
rent and is similar in design and functionality to its Mountain
View headquarters, including foosball, air hockey, and
ping-pong tables, as well as a video game area. In November 2006,
Google opened offices on Carnegie Mellon's campus in Pittsburgh. By late 2006, Google also established a new
headquarters for its AdWords division in Ann Arbor,
Google is taking steps to ensure that their operations are
environmentally sound. In October 2006, the company announced plans
to install thousands of solar
to provide up to 1.6 megawatts
, 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
" 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
originated from these independent
endeavors. In a talk at Stanford University, 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
growing search engine
. In 2004, they
(which claimed to feature jobs on the moon
), and in 2005, a fictitious
brain-boosting drink, termed Google Gulp
In 2006, they came up with Google Romance
hypothetical online dating
2007, Google announced two joke products. The first was a free
wireless Internet service called TiSP
Internet Service Provider) in which one obtained a connection by
flushing one end of a fiber-optic
down their toilet and waiting only an hour for a "Plumbing Hardware
Dispatcher (PHD)" to connect it to the Internet. Additionally,
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
. In addition, the
search engine calculator provides the
Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and
from Douglas Adams
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
, or the birthdays
notable individuals. Other logo switches are based on search terms.
For instance, if the term "ASCII art
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
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
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
. One of its first projects is to develop a viable
plug-in hybrid electric vehicle
that can attain 100
. The founder is Dr
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.
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
, a co-inventor of the
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."
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