Google-logo1Google is probably the most famous and widely used search engine in the industry today. It is so authoritative that the name is usually used as a verb for ‘looking’, ‘finding’ or ‘searching’ online. More importantly, it is getting better and better with the continuous development it is receiving to date. One very important example to this is the recent Panda that raised the bar of quality in indexing and ranking sites and links. Due to that, there are less spam sites and the reading public is now enjoying much better information from the World Wide Web. And it is still getting better with the periodic changes in its algorithm.

History throughout the Years

Google entered the cyberspace as a research project for the Stanford Digital Library Project (SDLP) which continued exploration on its goal of developing technologies for a single, integrated and universal digital library. Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin co-authored the research, titled ‘BackRub’ under the funding of the federal agencies with the National Science Foundation topping the bill. The project was first up in March 1996 with the Stanford home page as a starting point, complete with PageRank algorithm that will track the backlink data. The two also used the BackRub’s output as a better metric in ranking sites.

With BackRub, the foundation of the search engine that will soon be known as Google, Page and Brin, continued to the testing phase of the research project. The results were tabulated at the early part of 1997 and they included 75.2306 million of indexed webpages and 207.022 gigs of content downloads. It is clear that the research project is a success and so, from the Stanford site, google.stanford.eu was imported to its own domain, google.com in September of the same year, the founders have also allowed simple text ads on the domain, which was not an option during the research phase. About a year after, Google Inc was formally incorporated in Menlo Park, California.

A year after, Google has continually sustained its success and now has indexed 60 million pages. It had also received a number of positive reviews including that of an inSalon.com article. This review positively compared the rising search engine with the biggies like Yahoo!, MSN.com, AOL.com, Excite.com, Lycos, Netscape’sNetcenter and Go.com. What was interesting is that Google was still at its BETA stage and it is already thought to have better search results and technologically advanced than the search engines mentioned above. But the very first huge business deal that came to the company was the contribution from Sun Microsystems co-founder, Andy Bechtolsheim on August 1998 which amounted to $100,000.

Business was looking good for Brin and Page so the company moved to 165 University Avenue in Palo Alto by early 1999. The area is noted as a home to numerous Silicon Valley technology companies. Google silently rose in stature by selling text-based ads that are mainly based on search keywords. Although this advertising technique was a first to Goto.com which became Overture Services before it was bought by Yahoo! to later be known as Yahoo! Search Marketing, Google still managed to entice a lot of businesses and stockholders. It announced an equity funding that totalled to $25 million on June 7, 1999. The major investors were Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, which were both rival venture capital firms.

The first CEO of Google was Eric Schmidt and was hired in March 2001 after Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital’s forced the founders to do so. This is basically the result of Brin and Page not wanting their brainchild company to be auctioned publicly through an IPO.

In just 4 years, Google outgrew two of its competitors. Continual improvements in facilities and technology as well as the increasing numbers of employees required Brin and Page’s team to move to a bigger place. The Googleplex, a leased complex of buildings in Mountain View at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway from Silicon Graphics (SGI), has then become the home for Google since 2003. With the help of the capital owed from Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital, Google was able to acquire Pyra Labs’ Blogger in 2003. It is the pioneer as well as the leading web log hosting website at that time, which gave the search engine a boost in using blog post information for better search results.

In 2004, Yahoo! dropped its partnership with Google which was a bittersweet move for the company. The good thing is that it made Google distinctive while the bad side is that the move cost Google some market share. Microsoft offered Google partnership or merger in October 2003 after rumours of possible initial public offering of shares (IPO). The partnership never happened. Instead, an IPO arranged by Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group materialized in January 2004. This was supposed to raise around $4 billion. Google also published its code of conduct, “Don’t be evil” in its 2004 IPO prospectus. An excerpt reads “We believe strongly that in the long term, we will be better served—as shareholders and in all other ways—by a company that does good things for the world even if we forgo some short term gains.”

The actual IPO took place on August 19, 2004, offering a total of 19,605,052 shares with $85 per share tag price—14,142,135 of that share were floated by Google while the remaining 5,462,917 were floated by selling stockholders. The IPO raised US$1.67 billion, giving Google more than $23 billion market capitalization. The IPO also made a lot of Google’s employees instant paper millionaires while a major competitor, Yahoo! owned 2.7 million shares of Google. Following the sale, Google under the ticker symbol GOOG, was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

By March 31, 2006, Google was added to the S&P 500 or better known as the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, replacing the Houston-based major oil producer Burlington Resources, which became part of ConocoPhillips. This was beneficial to Google as evidenced by the 7% raise on its share price right after the addition became official. Next up, Google bought the Googleplex from SGI for US$319 million. Then, by October of the same year, Google bought YouTube for$1.65 billion and JotSpot, a web based business software. The former was never merged with Google video. Instead, YouTube remained a separate brand and Google Video went on agreement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment and the Warner Music Group. These two companies will be the exclusive music video providers for the service. The deal came to life on November 13, 2006.

Google continued to acquire more companies in 2007. Gapminder’s Trendalyzer software and San Francisco, California-based Adscape Media were two of the first acquisitions and were announced on March 17, 2007. From that time onwards, Google became one of the most reputable and popular search engine companies. Through all this, co-founder Brin and Page has their corporate culture and pursuit to excellence to thank for.