Google’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Our company has packed a lot into a relatively young life. Since Google was founded in 1998, we’ve grown to serve millions of people around the world.
Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford University in 1995. By 1996, they had built a search engine (initially called BackRub) that used links to determine the importance of individual web pages.
Larry and Sergey named the search engine that they built “Google”, a play on the word “googol”, the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. Google Inc. was born in 1998, when Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim wrote a cheque for $100,000 to that entity – which until then didn’t exist.
The first “Google doodle” in 1998 was intended to let visitors to the home page know that Google’s minders were offline at the Burning Man Festival in Nevada. There’s now a team of “doodlers” and we’ve posted more than 2,000 different doodles on home pages worldwide.
In 2000, we introduced AdWords, a self-service programme for creating online ad campaigns. Today our advertising solutions, which include display, mobile and video ads as well as the simple text ads that we introduced more than a decade ago, help thousands of businesses to grow and be successful.
On April Fools’ Day in 2004, we launched Gmail. Our approach to email included features like speedy search, huge amounts of storage and threaded messages.
Our Initial Public Offering of 19,605,052 shares of Class A common stock took place on Wall Street on 18 August 2004.
We acquired digital mapping company Keyhole in 2004 and launched Google Maps and Google Earth in 2005. Today Maps also features live traffic, travel directions and street-level imagery, and Earth lets you explore the ocean and the moon.
In 2006, we acquired online video sharing site YouTube. Today 60 hours of video are uploaded to the site every minute. Cat videos, citizen journalism, political candidacy and double rainbows have never been the same.
Amidst rumours of a “Gphone”, we announced Android – an open platform for mobile devices – and the Open Handset Alliance, in 2007.
Word got out about Google Chrome a day ahead of schedule when a comic book introducing our new open source browser was delivered earlier than planned. We officially launched on 2 September 2008.
Larry Page, Google’s original CEO until 2001, took up the title again in April 2011. Eric Schmidt, now our executive chairman, served in the role for 10 years.
In June 2011, we introduced the Google+ project, aimed at bringing the nuance and richness of real-life sharing to the web and making all of Google better by including people, their relationships and their interests.