Happy birthday, Google: 22 facts to celebrate the search engine's big day

Did you know the tech giant uses goats instead of lawnmowers to tend to the grass at its California HQ?

Google marked its 22nd birthday on September 27, 2020. Unsplash
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If it were a human, Google would today be nursing a serious sugar hangover.

The search engine giant marked its 22nd birthday on Sunday, September 27, but, instead of celebrating with cake, we're marking the occasion with a deep-dive on all things Google.

Read on for 22 facts about the technology company in honour of its big day.

1. Although Google marks its birthday on September 27, the company legally filed for incorporation on September 4, 1998. It decided to celebrate its anniversary later in the month in 2005, to coincide with the announcement of the record number of pages that the search engine was indexing, multiple sources say.

2. Though we now use the term 'Google' to mean searching for something on the internet, it was not the first search engine on the World Wide Web. When it launched in 1998, its rivals included Ask Jeeves, AltaVista, Yahoo Search and Archie, the latter of which is considered the first ever search engine, following its debut in 1990.

3. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were PhD students at Stanford University. The pair came up with the concept as a research project in January 1996.

4. The pair first met when Brin was asked to show Page, a new student, around the school.

5. Google set itself apart from competitors by ranking results according to how popular a site was, and how many pages linked back to it, rather than merely how many times it contained the search term.

6. The algorithm devised to deliver search results was named PageRank.

7. Google has not always been called Google. When Page and Brin first developed the idea, they nicknamed it BackRub, as it ranked the importance of a site depending on how many backlinks it had.

FILE PHOTO: Larry Page (L) and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, show the new G1 phone running Google's Android software in New York September 23, 2008.  REUTERS/Jacob Silberberg/File Photo
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, co-founders of Google, in 2008. Reuters

8. The name Google stems from 'googol', a mathematical term that describes a huge quantity (it is written as the digit 1 followed by 100 zeroes). The name was chosen to signify the vast information the search engine could provide.

9. By the end of 1998, just months after launching, Google had indexed more than 60 million pages.

10. In 2006, the word "Google" was officially added to the Oxford English Dictionary as a verb.

11. According to Alexa Internet's annual compilation, Google is the most-visited website in the world as of April 2020.

12. Google's current headquarters are in Mountain View, California, but the company has more than 114,000 employees around the world as of December 2019, according to CNBC.

An interior view of office space with an indoor climbing wall at the Googleplex, the corporate headquarters complex of Google, Inc., located in Mountain View, California. (Photo by Brooks Kraft LLC/Corbis via Getty Images)
An indoor climbing wall at the Googleplex, the corporate headquarters complex of Google, located in Mountain View, California. Getty Images

13. The first ever Google Doodle – an illustration found on the main Google.com homepage – was a stick figure, devised to indicate Brin and Page were out of the office at the Burning Man festival in 1998.

14. Google unveiled its email platform, Gmail, on April 1, 2004.

15. Google bought video-sharing platform YouTube in 2006.

16. In 2001, Eric Schmidt joined the company as chairman and chief executive. In 2004, when Google went public, Page, Brin and Schmidt pledged to stay in their jobs for 20 years. However, Schmidt ended up becoming Google's executive chairman in 2011, before stepping down to become a regular board member in 2018.

17. The company's initial public offering (IPO) in 2004 raised $1.66 billion (Dh6.09bn), making Brin and Page overnight billionaires.

18. Google added Klingon, the fictional Star Trek language, as a language interface option in 2002.

Google is the world's most-visited website. Unsplash
Google is the world's most-visited website. Unsplash

19. Google announced in May 2017 that it had captured more than 16 million kilometres of images, spread across 83 countries, for its Street View platform.

20. The company owns domain names for misspellings of Google, such as Googlee.com and Googel.com. These are redirected to the Google homepage.

21. The company announced in 2009 that it was taking a "low-carbon" solution to keep the grounds at its headquarters in tip-top shape. Rather than using lawnmowers, Google rented around 200 goats to visit the premises for a week at a time.

22. In January 2020, Google became the fourth tech company, alongside Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, to be valued at $1 trillion.