Google is the world’s most widely based search engine on the Internet. Google began in the spring of 1996, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin were students at Stanford University. The two worked together on the Stanford Digital Library Project, intending to develop a universal digital library. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation and other federal agencies.
At the time Page was working on his dissertation concerning the mathematical properties and link structures of the World Wide Web. His goal was to find out which pages link to a given page on the Internet. Page and Brin created a web crawler that crept through the web, beginning at the starting point of Page’s home computer. Brin and Page later developed a PageRank algorithm and analyzed the data brought forth from their crawler. During the process, they realized a search engine driven by PageRank would offer better results than current search engines, which gave results according to the number of times the search term appeared on a page. Google’s methods for ranking pages have long been steeped with mystery and occasionally stump website owners aiming for hire rankings.
Page and Brin chose the name “Google” for their search engine based on a misspelling of the word “googol.” This word refers to the number
represented by a 1 followed by 100 zeros, which fit well with Page and Brin’s desire to build a large scale search engine. In 2006, “Google” was added to the dictionary as a verb.
Google would move from a school project to a full-fledged company in the late summer of 1998, when it received funding from a co-founder of Sun Microsystems. In June of the following year, a round of equity funding was announced and additional investors came on board. Brin and Page were reluctant to take their company public, even though additional funding was still needed because they did not want to give up control. Eventually though, they borrowed $25 million in venture capital and were forced to hire a CEO in exchange. The company ultimately went public three years later in 2004.
Prior to going public, Google was approached by Microsoft concerning a merger, but the relationship never materialized. All of Google’s permanent employees are shareholders in the company. According to SEC filings, Google has made a profit every year since 2001.
Over the last decade, Google has acquired a number of Internet based companies including Pyra Labs, JotSpot, and Upstartle. Upstartle was the creator of Writey, an online word processing platform that eventually led to the creation of Google Docs and Spreadsheets. Google is also the creator of Blogger, one of the Internet’s most popular weblog publishing platforms. In 2006, Google purchased YouTube, the Internet’s most popular video site. Google is also in relationships with Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, which both deliver music videos to the site.