Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG and LSE: GGEA) is an American public corporation, specializing in Internet search and online advertising. The company is based in Mountain View, California, and has 15,916 full-time employees (as of September 30, 2007). It is the largest American company (by market capitalization) that is not part of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Google was co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University and the company was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 7, 1998. Google''s initial public offering took place on August 19, 2004, raising US$1.67
billion, making it worth US$23 billion. Through a series of new product
developments, acquisitions and partnerships, the company has expanded
its initial search and advertising business into other areas, including
web-based email, online mapping, office productivity, and video sharing, among others.
Google began in January 1996, as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Ph.D. students at Stanford University, California.
They hypothesized that a search engine that analyzed the relationships
between websites would produce better ranking of results than existing
techniques, which ranked results according to the number of times the
search term appeared on a page. Their search engine was originally nicknamed "BackRub" because the system checked backlinks to estimate a site''s importance. A small search engine called Rankdex was already exploring a similar strategy.
Convinced that the pages with the most links to them from other
highly relevant web pages must be the most relevant pages associated
with the search, Page and Brin tested their thesis as part of their
studies, and laid the foundation for their search engine. Originally,
the search engine used the Stanford University website with the domain google.stanford.edu. The domain google.com was registered on September 15, 1997, and the company was incorporated as Google Inc. on September 7, 1998 at a friend''s garage in Menlo Park, California.
The total initial investment raised for the new company eventually
amounted to almost US$1.1 million, including a US$100,000 check by Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems.
The founders originally were keen to acquire the domain
"Googol.com". It was registered to a local Silicon Valley engineer (Tim
Beauchamp) who was using it as a site for math and astronomy.
not want to relinquish the domain at the time.
In March 1999, the company moved into offices in Palo Alto, home to several other noted Silicon Valley technology startups. After quickly outgrowing two other sites, the company leased a complex of buildings in Mountain View at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway from Silicon Graphics (SGI) in 2003. The company has remained at this location ever since, and the complex has since come to be known as the Googleplex (a play on the word googolplex, a 1 followed by a googol zeros). In 2006, Google bought the property from SGI for US$319 million.
The Google search engine attracted a loyal following among the
growing number of Internet users, who liked its simple design and
usability. In 2000, Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords. The ads were text-based to maintain an uncluttered page design and to maximize page loading speed. Keywords were sold based on a combination of price bid and clickthroughs, with bidding starting at US$.05 per click. This model of selling keyword advertising was pioneered by Goto.com (later renamed Overture Services, before being acquired by Yahoo! and rebranded as Yahoo! Search Marketing). While many of its dot-com rivals failed in the new Internet marketplace, Google quietly rose in stature while generating revenue.
The name "Google" originated from a misspelling of "googol", which refer0100,
the number represented by a 1 followed by one-hundred zeros. Having
found its way increasingly into everyday language, the verb "google", was added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, meaning "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet."
A patent describing part of Google''s ranking mechanism (PageRank) was granted on September 4, 2001. The patent was officially assigned to Stanford University and lists Lawrence Page as the inventor.