Can you believe Google is celebrating its twentieth anniversary? An idea, born in a California garage in 1998, has grown to become such a worldwide phenomenon – and continues to revolutionise the way we live, work and shop.

 

  1. What’s in a name? Did you know, Google was originally called BackRub? This odd choice was used because the search engine analysed back links to determine a website’s importance.

 

  1. Growing Up: Back in 1998, the internet was a much smaller place, only consisting of 25 million webpages. While that may seem a lot, it’s only equivalent to the number of books in a tiny library.

 

  1. Looking for Parents: Google looked for investors in the early days, but no-one wanted to know. The site was offered to Yahoo, Excite and Altavista for a paltry $1m but was turned down on each occasion.

 

  1. You Missed Out: Bad luck guys – Google is now worth in excess of $300 billion and continues to grow.

 

  1. Doodle Genesis: We’re all familiar with Google Doodle. But did you know the original was an out-of-office message? Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin attended the 1998 Burning Man festival and an appropriate stick figure was inserted into ‘Google’ to announce their departure.

 

  1. Growth Spurt: Since making its first acquisition in 2001, Google has purchased over 220 companies and has bought at a rate of two per month since 2010.

 

  1. A Shiny New Toy: Among those purchases was the acquisition of Android in 2005 for $50m. A huge coup as, by 2015, 85% of globally sold handsets ran on the Android platform.

 

  1. Nap Time: Google was down for five minutes in August 2013. Not a huge amount of time but it led to a 40% drop in overall internet traffic.

 

  1. First Toys: Did you know that Google’s first computer storage was housed in Lego? It was a low-cost way for Larry and Sergey to build an effective cabinet.

 

  1. Nickname: Nowadays, we all use the term ‘Google’ as a byword for online search. It seems this first originated in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and it was added to the OED in 2006.

 

  1. Pioneering AI: Google purchased UK artificial intelligence company DeepMind in 2014 for nearly £400 million, taking its first tentative steps into the world of AI.

 

  1. Making new Friends: Want to work for Google? You’ll have stiff competition as the company receives over two million job applications every year.

 

  1. Sit Back: Not having any luck with that job search? Google may come looking for you by using a tool called Google Foobar which assesses your skills when you seek opportunities online.

 

  1. Big Daddy: Google became a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. in 2015. Google is the biggest in its portfolio, with 86% of Alphabet’s revenue coming from Google’s advertising business in Q2 2018.

 

  1. Going Green: Google prides itself on being environmentally aware, regularly hiring goats to mow the lawn at its Mountain View Headquarters.

 

  1. Branching out: Google has branched out into healthcare, becoming official backers of Alphabet-subsidiary Calico, back in 2013. Their goal is to fight ageing and the diseases associated with it.

 

  1. Playing with the big boys: No private planes are allowed to land on NASA’s runway, apart from those owned by Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

 

  1. Teaming up: Google DeepMind are fighting blindness alongside the NHS. Using machine learning technology, their partnership aims to detect life-threatening and degenerative eye conditions to help to save people’s sight worldwide.

 

  1. Time for a feed? No area of any Google building is allowed to be more than 150 feet away from food.

 

  1. Still Growing: According to statistics, over one billion searches are carried out on Google every day.

 

It’s been a ground-breaking 20 years, but it’s not over yet. The world’s favourite search engine will continue to reach new plateaus and create solutions to further transform the way we live our lives. Here’s to the next 20 and beyond.

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