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Google turns 20: how an internet search engine reshaped the world

  • Published at 11:21 pm September 27th, 2018
A Google sign is seen during the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai, China, September 17, 2018 Reuters

Google was officially founded in September 1997 but September 1998 is generally seen as the date the company really started its now-ubiquitous search engine

No technology company is arguably more responsible for shaping the modern internet, and modern life, than Google. The company that started as a novel search engine now manages eight products with more than 1 billion users each. Many of those people use Google software to search the repository of human knowledge, communicate, perform work, consume media, and maneuver the endlessly vast internet in 2018. Yesterday Google turned 20 years old, marking one of the most staggeringly influential runs for any corporation in history, reports the Verge.

Google was officially founded in September 1997 but September 1998 is generally seen as the date the company really started its now-ubiquitous search engine.

The search engine was created for about $100,000 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, two Stanford PhD students, who wanted to challenge Altavista and Yahoo, the two most popular search engines in the earlier days of the internet, reports Aljazeera.

As Alphabet, the holding company of which Google is now a subsidiary, steadily rises to join Apple and Amazon in the $1 trillion market valuation territory, we’re reflecting on all the moments in Google’s past that led to its position at the peak of industries as diverse as mapping, self-driving cars, and smartphone operating systems. This isn’t a comprehensive history of Google’s past 20 years. But it is an approximation of the company’s biggest product launches, legal quagmires, and instrumental acquisitions that have turned it into a Silicon Valley powerhouse that will likely last for many decades to come.


Over the years, the company expanded into new technologies - some successful, some not so much.

Two of the most successful Google brands, besides its search engine and Gmail, are probably the video platform YouTube and operating system Android, reports Aljazeera.

YouTube, which was launched in 2005 and bought by Google the next year, has become the go-to platform for majority of internet users. It now boasts of more than 1 billions hours watched on the website and app every day by its users.

In similar fashion, Google's Android has become the most common operating system around the world.

Android became popular because of its open nature, which allows the operating system to run on both expensive as well as budget phones, making it perfect for emerging markets like China, India and Brazil.

Despite criticisms, there seems to be no stopping Google for the foreseeable future.

Currently, the company is working on futuristic projects, including self-driving cars, artificial intelligence, robotics and even attempts at creating an eternal life.

To house these different ventures under one umbrella, Google in 2015 officially changed its name to Alphabet, which is one of the top five tech companies in the world and is currently valued at over $700bn.

Google itself is now only related to things related to the search engine. But whatever its future holds, chances are it will definitely last for at least another 20 years.

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