Beginning in 1996, Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin built a search engine called “BackRub” that used links to determine the importance of individual web pages. By 1998 they had formalized their work, creating the company you know today as Google.
Since then, Google has grown by leaps and bounds. From offering search in a single language we now offer dozens of products and services—including various forms of advertising and web applications for all kinds of tasks—in scores of languages. And starting from two computer science students in a university dorm room, we now have thousands of employees and offices around the world.
On these pages, you can find more information about Google’s products and services, our principles, history, company culture and more. A lot has changed since the first Google search engine appeared. But some things haven’t changed: our dedication to our users and our belief in the possibilities of the Internet itself.
Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin named the search engine they built “Google,” a play on the word “googol,” the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. The name reflects the immense volume of information that exists, and the scope of Google’s mission: to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
Google’s first logo doodle for Burning Man festival, August 1998.
Google logo doodle for Robert Louis Stephenson’s birthday, November 2010.
For more doodles, visit google.com/logos
When you visit www.google.com or one of more than 180 other Google domains, you can find information in many different languages, check stock quotes and sports scores, find news headlines and look up the address of your local post office or grocery store. You can also find images, videos, maps, patents and much more. With universal search technology, you may see all of these items combined in one result page for your query, and services such as personalized search help you find even more information tailored to your interests. We’re also working to digitize some of the world’s information that until recently hasn’t been online, like books.
Search is how Google began, and it’s still at the heart of what we do today. We devote more engineering time to search than to any other product, because search can always get better and faster at helping you find what you want, when you want it, where you want it.
Google generates the majority of our revenue by offering advertisers measurable, cost-effective and highly relevant advertising. Our goal is for the ads you see on Google to be as useful to you as they are to the advertisers—so that they can be a valuable form of information in their own right.
We distinguish ads from search results or other content on a page by labeling them as “sponsored links” or “Ads by Google.” We don’t sell ad placement in our search results, nor do we allow people to pay for a higher ranking there.
Hundreds of thousands of advertisers use Google AdWords and our other services including mobile advertising and display advertising on the Google Display Network and using our DoubleClick technology. Many hundreds of thousands of publisher partners, large and small, take advantage of tools like Google AdSense to generate revenue from their content. To help marketers to analyze their campaigns so that they are more efficient and effective, we offer measurement tools like Google Analytics.
Web applications (“apps”) make it simpler for people to share information and get things done together. Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Docs help people communicate and collaborate more easily, whether planning a wedding or building a business itinerary. We designed Google Apps, the business version of these tools, to be powerful enough for large enterprises (we use it across all of our company, in fact) but simple enough for mom-and-pop businesses too.
With apps, your information is stored securely online, “in the cloud,” accessible from any device with a web connection. Because it lives online, it’s easy to share documents with a group of collaborators, and everyone can work on the same material at the same time, from different locations. And instead of of having to maintain your software, you’ll always have the latest version of the app so you can focus on your work.
Finally, we firmly believe that on the web, your data belongs to you, and that it should be portable: when you use Google Apps, you can export all of your mail, documents, photos or calendar entries whenever you like.
We know that whenever you search the web you want it to be as fast as possible, with all your favorite websites at your fingertips, so we offer software like Google Chrome to help you browse the web quickly and easily. And because you should be able to access all of Google’s services wherever you are—even if you don’t have a computer nearby—we make it easy for you to use your favorite Google products, like Google Maps or Gmail, right from your phone.
We’re also working to drive innovation so that more people can use better and cheaper mobile devices to access the Internet. With the Open Handset Alliance, we developed Android, the world’s first fully open platform that any mobile developer can use and any hardware manufacturer can install on a device.
In 2006, we acquired YouTube, which lets billions of people discover, watch and share original videos as well as professional content. Content creators and advertisers large and small can share in revenue generated by their viewers and fans. Every day on YouTube, people around the globe connect, inform and inspire others through video.
This is just a glimpse of what we do. Find out about all of Google’s services on this more page.