Google campus in Mountain View

Google co-founder Larry Page has said that,“The perfect search engine would understand exactly what you mean and give back exactly what you want.” Since Page and co-founder Sergey Brin collaborated on their first search engine, which they called BackRub, for the way it could analyze “back links” pointing to different Websites, they have been focused on developing just such an engine, and along the way have redefined the way people worldwide view and use the Internet.

Page and Brin met in 1995 at Stanford University. Interested in solving one of computing’s biggest challenges—retrieving pertinent information from huge stores of data—they collaborated on a search technology, building computer housings in Page’s dorm room and scouring their department’s loading docks for newly arrived computers they could borrow for their network. In 1998, with their new approach to search technology perfected, they began to call on prospective licensors—the two were not interested in building their own company.

But when Yahoo! founder and friend David Filo encouraged Page and Brin to start their own search engine company—and when none of the day’s major portal companies jumped on their technology—the two made the decision to create a start-up. With $100,000 from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, who took one look at their demo and wrote out a check, and another $900,000 from family, friends, and acquaintances, Page and Brin joined with newly hired director of technology Craig Silverstein and established their corporation in a garage in Menlo Park.

Google campus

At that time,, still in beta form, was fulfilling 10,000 search queries a day. Now Google—a play on the word “googol,” which refers to the number represented by 1 followed by 100 zeroes, reflecting the company’s mission to organize the seemingly infinite amount of information on the Web—receives several hundred million queries each day through its various services, which include searching, shopping on, and browsing the Web; e-mailing and chatting; creating, organizing, and sharing information; connecting with customers; locating places; and getting information on the go.

Like every other year in which Google has been in business, 2007 was filled with innovation and growth. The year began with a partnership with China Mobile, the world’s largest mobile telecommunications provider as well as a collaboration with Samsung that placed Google products and services on selected Samsung phones. The company also updated Google maps for mobile use and enabled users to customize maps, added new features to Google Groups that changed it from a message board forum to an easy-to-build “home on the Web” in which people share information, began working with to give companies better tools for building their business online, and announced its first steps toward universal searching, in which one search results in integrated video, news, books, images, and local information, among many others advances.

With so much innovation already under its belt, what will be next for this global, green company that employs more than 10,000 people but retains a small-company feel, with clustered work spaces, couches for people and pets, roller hockey games in the parking lot, and lunches and dinners provided for staff ? Google invites you to give them your opinion by checking out their not-quite-ready-for-prime-time ideas at the company’s “technology playground,”

This history was written in 2008 by the Silicon Valley Historical Association.

Google website