Google, from search engine to digital empire

The history Google started in 1996 as an academic project and continues to this day as a digital giant. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, fellow graduate students in computer science at Stanford University, were trying to figure out how links on the World Wide Web worked, and they ended up building a new search engine. That is, a system to search for information on a topic on Internet pages. Thanks to Brin’s mathematical knowledge they created the algorithm PageRank, which ranks results based on their relevance and relationship to the search. This technology served as the basis for Backrub, a powerful search engine that was launched in 1996 within the private network of Stanford.

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A garage, the first headquarters of Google

Page and Brin were quick to rename the search engine Google, inspired by the mathematical term “googol”, which refers to the number 10 raised to the power of 100 (one, followed by one hundred zeroes). The reason was his idea of ​​organizing the vast amount of information on the web to make it useful and accessible. Google not only succeeded in the academic environment in the following years, but also caught the attention of some investors from Silicon Valleythe technological center of California.

In 1998, the co-founder of the computer company Sun Microsystems, Andreas von Bechtolsheim, invested $100,000 in Page and Brin’s project, who went on to found Google Inc. and register the domain. The team grew, moving from college dorms to a garage outside Menlo Park, California, owned by Susan Wojcicki—Google’s 16th employee and current YouTube president—that would serve as the company’s first office. In its early years, Google had meager means: outdated computers, a cabinet with eighty processors, two routers, and a server built from parts. Lego. Despite everything, the company surpassed the most popular search engine of the moment, High viewcreated in 1995. By the end of 1998, Google had an index of sixty million pages; in 2016 that figure would be around 130 billion.

A digital empire is born

Despite the fact that Google itself acknowledges that it is not clear when is your birthday, Page and Brin marked September 27, 1998 as the company’s birthday to commemorate the launch of the search engine. The garage-turned-office was too small for Google’s growing potential, so the company settled in 2003 at its current headquarters, known as googleplexin Mountain View, Calif.

Since then, Google has grown to become a true empire in the digital world, and is part of the so-called GAFAM companies, the largest technology companies in the United States. has more than 60,000 employees in fifty countries and develops a wide variety of products for millions of users, whether they are virtual services and platforms (YouTube, Google Maps, Gmail or Google Chrome) or physical devices, such as the Google Home assistant or Google Pixel mobile phones.

The growth was such that 2015 was created Alphabet as a parent company for Google and other companies such as Calico (health and biotech), Google Nest (home automation) or X Development (innovation and robotics). Google is the main subsidiary of this conglomerate of technology companies, one of the world’s corporations with the highest profits in 2020. In addition, Alphabet is one of the few companies that exceeds the billion dollars in market capitalization, along with Microsoft, Apple and Amazon, other GAFAM.

Google, however, has not been without controversy in recent years. In 2010 he retired from China, but later worked on a censored search engine for that market, a project he received harsh criticism. Three years later it was revealed that the US National Security Agency used the program PRISM to obtain private information from Google users. The company denied being involved, defending that they only released data when required by law. Google is now facing a growing regularization to increase the taxation of large technology multinationals in the countries in which they operate, such as Spain, with the so-called “Google rate”. She is also criticized for her monopoly position, for which she has had to pay heavy fines in the European Union.

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Google, from search engine to digital empire