Google 20 years on!

Google just marked its second decade! Twenty years ago, Google started with an ambitious goal to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

At the heart, the giant search engine wanted to build technology that would help as many people as possible across the world access information.

The company that was started off by Larry Page and Sergey Brin who were both PhD students at Stanford University in Stanford, California, based their first operations in the garage of a friend Susan Wojcicki in Menlo Park, California. Craig Silverstein, a fellow PhD student at Stanford, who was later hired as the first employee.

When starting off Page and Brin originally nicknamed their new search engine “BackRub”, because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site.

Eventually, they changed the name to Google which originated from a misspelling of the word “googol“, the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine was intended to provide large quantities of information.

From a garage, the company has grown to have 85,050 employees and is estimated to be worth 110.9 billion USD as of 2017.

As the company celebrates its 20th birthday month, the search engine website has highlighted 20 milestones they have made since inception.

Here you go!

  1. Billions of people have used Google Search to find answers to (literally) trillions of questions every year—from “how to help my community” to “how to find home” to all the many small questions in between. With job search, Google has helped connect 100 million people to job opportunities in 92 countries.
  2. Google Maps has helped people find their way with driving directions in 240+ countries and territories, spanning 40 million miles of road that’s 83+ trips to the moon and back. And by connecting people to 150 million places around the world, Maps helps communities and businesses grow. Most moving are the times when Maps has helped people find a sense of place in the world—from Rio’s favelas to one’s own memories.
  3. People can now talk to their Google Assistant in more than 20 languages, and in some cases, it can even keep up if you’re bilingual. You can ask about everything from fantasy football advice to help finding a parking spot and do everything from meditate to order a coffee. In the car, the Assistant has helped people reach their destination on tens of millions of commutes, and has sent tens of millions of messages, helping people stay in touch while keeping their eyes on the road.
  4. Google Translate helps over half a billion people ask for help, make new friends, and say “thank you” across 100+ languages. More than 143 billion words are translated every day—that’s more than 161,000 times the number of the complete works of Shakespeare.
  5. More than 500 million people use Google Photos every month, backing up more than 1.2 billion photos and videos per day. Photos has also freed up over 410 petabytes worth of space—that’s like more than 25 million 16GB devices—plus peace of mind knowing you’ll always have room to capture more memories.
  6. With the typing time reduced by Autocomplete in Search, we estimate people worldwide collectively save over 200 years of typing time per day!
  7. Gmail’s Smart Compose, a new machine learning-powered experience that helps you write email faster, saves people from typing over 1 billion characters a week (to put that in perspective, that’s the equivalent of nearly 4 million tweets).
  8. One billion people visit the Google Account each year to access settings to safeguard their data and privacy.  
  9. Safe Browsing protects more than 3 billion devices from malware and phishing schemes, helping you browse the web with confidence.
  10. And Gmail blocks nearly 10 million spam and malicious emails every minute, helping you keep your email and data safe.
  11. Each year for the past five years, our search and advertising tools have helped provide more than $100 billion in economic activity to businesses, publishers and nonprofits across the United States. And we’re inspired by the stories of local and small businesses, from John’s Crazy Socks to American Hats, who are using the web to grow.
  12. Google Play has helped developers grow app businesses and reach users in 190+ countries and across more than 2 billion Android devices. From an app that helps blind people see to a game that creates art, these creators are doing amazing things on our open platforms.
  13. Since the start of 2017, Google has trained more than 30 million people around the world in a range of digital skills, helping them start and grow businesses, learn to code, and find new careers.
  14. More than 25 million students worldwide are using Chromebooks in schools to share ideas, create projects, go on virtual field trips, and learn from each other and their teachers.
  15. Art lovers and history buffs have marveled at artifacts from 1,500+ museums across 70 countries in Google Arts & Culture. From Abramovic to Zhengming, that’s thousands of artworks and 6 million photos, videos, manuscripts and other documents at your fingertips. And people have met more than 78 million selfie matches from 650+ institutions with Art Selfie.
  16. People can access local versions of YouTube in 91 countries around the world across 80 languages—covering 95 percent of all internet traffic. And every day, people watch learning-related content over a billion times on YouTube.
  17. To help people in times of need, we’ve activated SOS Alerts to provide better access to emergency information in more than 200 crisis situations, and people have viewed Public Alerts—for things like storm warnings or hurricane evacuations—more than 1.5 billion times.
  18. Since 2005, we’ve donated more than $1.5 billion to organizations working to help refugees and disaster victims, fight for equal justice, provide teachers with classroom equipment, and teach people new skills. And over the past four years Googlers have logged over a million hours (that’s 114 years’ worth!) volunteering in the communities where we live and work.
  19. People have used Nest thermostats to save 25 billion kWh of energy—roughly enough to power Ireland for a year.

20. Thousands of developers have used TensorFlow, our open source tool for deep learning, to make farming more efficient in Japan and the Netherlands, predict wildfires and prevent deforestation, track whale migration and identify birdsong—and even detect cancer.  

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