Google might seem like it’s been around forever, but really, it’s not been long at all! On the 27th of September Google turned 21, making it legal to drink in the US, and it could even adopt a child in the UK! In those 21 years Google has gone from a small search engine to something much more, and something completely integral to the way the internet works in the modern world. Google governs the way customers find and use services, how businesses advertise their services and even a source of entertainment through their famous doodles. It’s also spread its wings into other areas, from AI and big data processing to driverless cars and voice recognition technology.
To celebrate the search giant’s birthday, we’re going to share with you 11 little facts you may not have known about them.
Unsurprisingly, Google is the worlds most visited website ever, leaving other search engines in the dust. To add insult to injury, it’s the single most searched for term on its main competitor Bing. On average Google receives over 63,000 searches PER SECOND, adding up to a whopping 5,443,200,000 (that’s 5.6 billion) searches per day, and at least 2 trillion searches per year. There is no other website in the world that even comes close to that kind of traffic.
Like many businesses, Google was started by two ordinary people with a dream. Larry Page and Sergey Brin were college students in American when they came up with the idea. They wanted to create a website which would rank pages based on how many other pages linked back to them, ‘like a web’. Obviously this concept has evolved a lot over the years, but the original theory around ranking pages based on backlinks is still a part of the Google algorithm today.
Google might seem like an odd collection of letters, but there is some logic to the name. It comes from the mathematical term ‘googol’, which is the number 1 followed by a hundred zeros. Page and Brin chose this name to reflect the huge amount of data they were searching through at the time. Though as we know that number has gone up quite a lot since then!
If you’re a regular user of Google, you may notice that the header on the search engine homepage changes every day. This is called their ‘google doodle’, and honours a different person or event from that day in history every day. The first ever google doodle was created in 1998, in celebration of the Burning Man Festival, because the creators wanted people to know why they were out of the office for the day! Since then some of Google’s more memorable doodles have celebrated the discovery of water on the Moon, the musical tribute to Clause Debussy, the 150th anniversary of the London Tube (complete with map), and John Lennon’s 70’s birthday (which was the first ever video doodle). You can see them here.
A Playful Side
By now Google has gained a reputation for being fun loving, but in reality that attitude goes all the way back to the start. The very first Google server (a very boring techy thing), was stored in a custom case made completely of Lego. Because why not?
Google’s headquarters is based in Silicon Valley in California, and is known as the Googleplex. If you visit, you will see a giant, life-sized statue of a T-Rex, often covered in flamingos. While no one has openly said what this is for, rumours say it’s as a reminder to everyone working there not to allow the company to go extinct. You’ll also see a lot of greenery around the place, complete with a heard of goats to keep the grass trimmed and neat.
Making The Dictionary
In 2006 Google made the record books by adding a new word to the dictionary. The verb ‘google’ was added to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, and is defined as ‘to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the World Wide Web.’
Breaking The Internet
In 2009 a Google programmer famously ‘broke’ the internet. All they did was accidentally add a ‘/’ to Google’s blocked website registry. There is a ‘/’ in nearly every website ever created, so until it was fixed nothing online could be accessed by anyone. Were surprised there weren’t riots.
Good For The Environment
Since they are such a big company, Google is committed to improving the world they live in. In April 2018 they became the first company in the world to achieve 100% renewable energy. This means that it’s able to purchase a kilowatt of renewable energy for every kilowatt it uses.
If you’ve got a really keen eye, you may have noticed that Google has a lot of hidden tricks and Easter eggs in their search engine. A few examples:
- If you see the ‘no internet dinosaur’, you can actually play a game with it. Just press an arrow key to start
- If you search ‘askew’, all of the results go wonky
- Searching ‘do a barrel roll’ (without the quotes), and the entire window will spin around.
- Searching ‘Zerg Rush’ will open up a mini game as an homage to Starcraft.
- Googling ‘Atari Breakout’ gives you a mini version of the classic to play
- They also hide themed tricks – the most recent being Friends themed for the anniversary. If you searched for each of the main characters and clicked on their icon, it would play a little clip or show an animation. Highlights include ‘PIVOT’ from Ross and Smelly Cat from Pheobe.
Taking It Beyond the Internet
And of course, Google is now much more than just a search engine. Their developments are set to include AI, a new streaming-based gaming platform and even driverless cars.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this fun little article, learned a little and hopefully had some fun trying out the cool tricks Google can do! If you would like to know more about getting Google to work for you (and not the other way around), our experts are always on hand to give you advice and support. Just get in touch today to get started.