Google Inc. is an American multinational public corporation invested in Internet search, cloud computing, and advertising technologies. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products,[4] and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program.[5][6] The company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, often dubbed the “Google Guys”,[7][8][9] while the two were attending Stanford University as PhD candidates. It was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998, and its initial public offering followed on August 19, 2004. At that time Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt agreed to work together at Google for twenty years, until the year 2024.[10] The company’s mission statement from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”,[11] and the company’s unofficial slogan – coined by Google engineer Paul Buchheit – is “Don’t be evil”.[12][13] In 2006, the company moved to its current headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Google runs over one million servers in data centers around the world,[14] and processes over one billion search requests[15] and about twenty-four petabytes of user-generated data every day.[16][17][18][19] Google’s rapid growth since its incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions, and partnerships beyond the company’s core web search engine. The company offers online productivity software, such as its Gmail email service, and social networking tools, including Orkut and, more recently, Google Buzz. Google’s products extend to the desktop as well, with applications such as the web browser Google Chrome, the Picasa photo organization and editing software, and the Google Talk instant messaging application. Notably, Google leads the development of the Android mobile operating system, used on a number of phones such as the Nexus One and Motorola Droid, as well as Google Chrome OS, which is still under heavy development but is best known as the main operating system on the Cr-48. Alexa lists the main U.S.-focused site as the Internet’s most visited website, and numerous international Google sites (, etc.) are in the top hundred, as are several other Google-owned sites such as YouTube, Blogger, and Orkut.[20] Google is also BrandZ’s most powerful brand in the world.[21] The dominant market position of Google’s services has led to criticism of the company over issues including privacy, copyright, and censorship.


Google began in January 1996 as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were both PhD students at Stanford University in California.[1]

While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, the two theorized about a better system that analyzed the relationships between websites.[25] They called this new technology PageRank, where a website’s relevance was determined by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages, that linked back to the original site.[26][27]

A small search engine called “RankDex” from IDD Information Services designed by Robin Li was, since 1996, already exploring a similar strategy for site-scoring and page ranking.[28] The technology in RankDex would be patented[29] and used later when Li founded Baidu in China.[30][31]

Page and Brin originally nicknamed their new search engine “BackRub”, because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site.[32][33][34]

Eventually, they changed the name to Google, originating from a misspelling of the word “googol”,[35][36] the number one followed by one hundred zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine wants to provide large quantities of information for people.[37] Originally, Google ran under the Stanford University website, with the domain[38]

The domain name for Google was registered on September 15, 1997,[39] and the company was incorporated on September 4, 1998. It was based in a friend’s (Susan Wojcicki[1]) garage in Menlo Park, California. Craig Silverstein, a fellow PhD student at Stanford, was hired as the first employee.

Financing and initial public offering

The first funding for Google was an August 1998 contribution of US$100,000 from Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, given before Google was even incorporated.[43] Early in 1999, while still graduate students, Brin and Page decided that the search engine they had developed was taking up too much of their time from academic pursuits. They went to Excite CEO George Bell and offered to sell it to him for $1 million. He rejected the offer, and later criticized Vinod Khosla, one of Excite’s venture capitalists, after he had negotiated Brin and Page down to $750,000. On June 7, 1999, a $25 million round of funding was announced,[44] with major investors including the venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.[43]

Google’s initial public offering (IPO) took place five years later on August 19, 2004. The company offered 19,605,052 shares at a price of $85 per share.[45][46] Shares were sold in a unique online auction format using a system built by Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, underwriters for the deal.[47][48] The sale of $1.67 billion gave Google a market capitalization of more than $23 billion.[49] The vast majority of the 271 million shares remained under the control of Google, and many Google employees became instant paper millionaires. Yahoo!, a competitor of Google, also benefited because it owned 8.4 million shares of Google before the IPO took place.[50]

Some people speculated that Google’s IPO would inevitably lead to changes in company culture. Reasons ranged from shareholder pressure for employee benefit reductions to the fact that many company executives would become instant paper millionaires.[51] As a reply to this concern, co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page promised in a report to potential investors that the IPO would not change the company’s culture.[52] In 2005, however, articles in The New York Times and other sources began suggesting that Google had lost its anti-corporate, no evil philosophy.[53][54][55] In an effort to maintain the company’s unique culture, Google designated a Chief Culture Officer, who also serves as the Director of Human Resources. The purpose of the Chief Culture Officer is to develop and maintain the culture and work on ways to keep true to the core values that the company was founded on: a flat organization with a collaborative environment.[56] Google has also faced allegations of sexism and ageism from former employees.[57][58]

The stock’s performance after the IPO went well, with shares hitting $700 for the first time on October 31, 2007,[59] primarily because of strong sales and earnings in the online advertising market.[60] The surge in stock price was fueled mainly by individual investors, as opposed to large institutional investors and mutual funds.[60] The company is now listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbol GOOG and under the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GGQ1.


In March 1999, the company moved its offices to Palo Alto, California, home to several other noted Silicon Valley technology startups.[61] The next year, against Page and Brin’s initial opposition toward an advertising-funded search engine,[62] Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords.[1] In order to maintain an uncluttered page design and increase speed, advertisements were solely text-based. Keywords were sold based on a combination of price bids and click-throughs, with bidding starting at five cents per click.[1] This model of selling keyword advertising was first pioneered by, an Idealab spin-off created by Bill Gross.[63][64] When the company changed names to Overture Services, it sued Google over alleged infringements of the company’s pay-per-click and bidding patents. Overture Services would later be bought by Yahoo! and renamed Yahoo! Search Marketing. The case was then settled out of court, with Google agreeing to issue shares of common stock to Yahoo! in exchange for a perpetual license.[65]

During this time, Google was granted a patent describing its PageRank mechanism.[66] The patent was officially assigned to Stanford University and lists Lawrence Page as the inventor. In 2003, after outgrowing two other locations, the company leased its current office complex from Silicon Graphics at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway in Mountain View, California.[67] The complex has since come to be known as the Googleplex, a play on the word googolplex, the number one followed by a googol zeroes. Three years later, Google would buy the property from SGI for $319 million.[68] By that time, the name “Google” had found its way into everyday language, causing the verb “google” to be added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary, denoted as “to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet.”

Corporate affairs and culture

Google is known for having an informal corporate culture. On Fortune magazine’s list of best companies to work for, Google ranked first in 2007 and 2008 and fourth in 2009 and 2010. Google was also nominated in 2010 to be the world’s most attractive employer to graduating students in the Universum Communications talent attraction index.Google’s corporate philosophy embodies such casual principles as “you can make money without doing evil,” “you can be serious without a suit,” and “work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun.”
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