If you are feeling a little lost or run across a ludicrously long word that you have never heard of in your life, the first thing you do would be to whip out your phone or laptop and hit Google. Infamous and virtually infallible, Google has been an integral part of the lives of an average computer-user – from providing lengthy lists of information to fancy image sources that can be photoshopped into a new Avatar on a social website. Alas, it is unlikely that this internet titan would ever sink into the abyss of the unknown, but where did Google come from? Who created this little piece of marvel which we so heavily rely on to surf the web?
The Founding Fathers
Presently a publicly owned company with its own stock listing on NASDAQ, Google was originally the brainchild of warring heads, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Not entirely chummy pals in the beginning, this dynamic duo were anything but fond of each other, but found common ground when the issue of siphoning relevant information from a database popped up. Enamored and thrilled at the prospect of finding something they could agree upon, both Page and Brin formed a search engine together termed ‘BackRub’ – aptly coined due to its uncanny knack for analyzing ‘backlinks’ of a website.
As Page took on the role of tinkering with a new server that utilized low-end machinery and computers, the pair tried their best to track down newly arrived computers in the loading docks of their university to expand their network. Word of mouth got around campus regarding this new technology, and it was not long before the grapevine stirred some curious eyes towards BackRub.
The Hunt Begins
Page and Brin continued to perfect their technology throughout 1998, using their meager resources to purchase terabyte disks and set up a computer lodge in Page’s dorm room. This ultimately became Google’s very first breath of life, and while Brin was on the lookout for licensing the technology and setting up an official office, the pair was constantly on the search for a potential buyer of the software.
After being egged on by Yahoo! Founder, David Filo, the pair decided to sell their idea to major portal players, but suffered many hand-slaps and back-turns. Deciding to launch their very own search engine company just then, both Page and Sergey concocted a business plan, put their own personal life on hold and sought out Sun Microsystems’ founders – before landing on the lap of angelic investor, Andy Bechtolsheim. Unfortunately, Bechtolsheim was pressed for time and wrote out a check for Google Inc., although no such entity existed at that time.
Leaving the distraught pair in a dilemma that stretched for weeks, both Page and Sergey were on a mad scramble to snag investors, ultimately pitching in an initial investment of $ 1 million.
Opening Its First Door
Google Inc. opened its doors officially in late 1998 at Menlo Park, California. The door was actually attached to a garage of friend, and even came with its own set of appliances inclusive of a washer and dryer. It was currently the office of three staff including Page and Brin, with newcomer Craig Silverstein, who is now the present director of technology of Google Inc.
Even though Google.com was still in beta mode, it attracted thousands of queries per day. As articles commemorating Google’s notoriety began to spread like wildfire, Google then hit the charts and claimed a spot on the Top 100 Websites and Search Engines in 1998. The trio then moved out of Menlo Park and secured an office on University Avenue in 1999 in Palo Alto. The amount of staff had surged to three times its original number, and more than 500,000 queries were answered per day.
Initiating Interest All the Way
As interest in the company began to take root and blossom to life, Red Hat signed on as Google’s first official commercial customer. The company later secured capital firms worth $25 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital. Memorable names and faces from the budding business world chipped in to aid Google clamber up the rungs of the success ladder, from John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital and Ram Shriram of Junglee.
More keystone clients begin to populate Google’s offices, bringing in a medley of unprecedented talent and insight that helped the company develop to what it is today. As Page and Brin once again shifted to a new home base in Mountain View, California, the Google family continued to proliferate exponentially, creating another media hype that further elevated the query searches to over 3 million per day.
Striking Off the Beta List
Google.com officially struck off its beta label and swung into full-force. Equipped with a combination of eager and experienced staff and board members, both Page and Brin saw their casual tinkering blossom into a fully fledged search engine. As Virgin Net and Virgillio signed on as part of Google’s clientele, Google itself scored the Technical Excellence Award for Innovation in Web Application Development and hit the Top Ten Best Cybertech list of 1999.
A new company culture began to mushroom in the Googleplex, creating an informal atmosphere that not only promoted a swift exchange of creativity and ideas, but also sustained a sense of friendship and collegiality.
Enhancements begin to work themselves into the site in the form of interesting features such as Google Directory, Maps, Images, and so on. As for Page and Brin, the pair certainly deserved a massive clap on the back for all their efforts into bringing in a new streak of color into the dull PC world.
Google certainly revived a new sense of casual convenience which instilled a strong bond in most of its staff and workers. Page and Brin by themselves hold such a nonchalant air about them despite squeezing into Forbes list of multi-billionaires, and most certainly share a passion for automobiles. Brin currently owns a Toyota Prius and Tesla Roadster, both of which made Page’s sleek automobile collection. In an infamous April Fool’s Day prank, the Roadster was draped in pink paint and had batman wings attached to its rear, making it one of the quirkiest and funniest dressed-up cars to date.
Page by himself actively pursues alternative energy vehicles, and suffers from a keen bike passion – so much so that he once bought three Zero X bikes at a go. Page also owns an eco-friendly home worth $7 million in Waverly Oaks, California, and has his very own Google Jet – a Boeing 767-200, which he co-owns with Brin.
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