Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG, FWB: GGQ1) is a multinational public cloud computing and Internet search technologies corporation. Google hosts and develops a number of Internet-based services and products, and generates profit primarily from advertising through its AdWords program. The company was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, often dubbed the “Google Guys”, while the two were attending Stanford University as Ph.D. candidates. It was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998, with its initial public offering to follow on August 19, 2004. The company’s stated mission from the outset was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and the company’s unofficial slogan – coined by Google engineer Paul Buchheit – is Don’t be evil. In 2006, the company moved to their current headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Google runs over one million servers in data centers around the world, and processes over one billion search requests and twenty petabytes of user-generated data every day. Google’s rapid growth since its incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions and partnerships beyond the company’s core search engine. The company offers online productivity software, such as its Gmail e-mail software, 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. More notably, Google leads the development of the Android mobile phone operating system, used on a number of HTC phones such as the Nexus One and Droid Eris. Because of its popularity and numerous products, Alexa lists Google as the Internet’s most visited website. Google is also Fortune Magazine’s fourth best place to work, and BrandZ’s most powerful brand in the world. However, the company has also faced criticism over issues relating to the privacy of personal information, copyright, and censorship.
The first iteration of Google production servers was built with inexpensive hardware and was designed to be very fault-tolerant
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. 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. 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. A small search engine called Rankdex was already exploring a similar strategy. 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, originating from a misspelling of the word “googol”, the number one followed by one hundred zeros, which was meant to signify the amount of information the search engine was to handle. Originally, Google ran under 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 on September 4, 1998, at a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California.
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. On June 7, 1999, a $25 million round of funding was announced, with major investors including the venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital. Google’s initial public offering took place five years later on August 19, 2004. The company offered 19,605,052 shares at a price of $85 per share. Shares were sold in a unique online auction format using a system built by Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, underwriters for the deal. The sale of $1.67 billion gave Google a market capitalization of more than $23 billion. 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.
The stock’s performance after the IPO went well, with shares hitting $700 for the first time on October 31, 2007, primarily because of strong sales and earnings in the online advertising market. The surge in stock price was fueled mainly by individual investors, as opposed to large institutional investors and mutual funds. 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. The next year, against Page and Brin’s initial opposition toward an advertising-funded search engine, Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords. 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 clickthroughs, with bidding starting at five cents per click. This model of selling keyword advertising was first pioneered by Goto.com, an Idealab spin off created by Bill Gross. 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.
During this time, Google was granted a patent describing their PageRank mechanism. 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 their current office complex from Silicon Graphics at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway in Mountain View, California. 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. 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.”
Acquisitions and partnerships
Since 2001, Google has acquired many companies, mainly focusing on small venture capital companies. In 2004, Google acquired Keyhole, Inc.. The start-up company developed a product called Earth Viewer that gave a 3-D view of the Earth. Google renamed the service to Google Earth in 2005. Two years later, Google bought the online video site YouTube for $1.65 billion in stock. On April 13, 2007, Google reached an agreement to acquire DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, giving Google valuable relationships that DoubleClick had with Web publishers and advertising agencies. Later that same year, Google purchased GrandCentral for $50 million. The site would later be changed over to Google Voice. On August 5, 2009, Google bought out its first public company, purchasing video software maker On2 Technologies for $106.5 million. Google also acquired Aardvark, a social network search engine, for $50 million. Google commented in their internal blog, “we’re looking forward to collaborating to see where we can take it”. And, in April 2010, Google announced it had acquired a hardware startup, Agnilux.
In addition to the numerous companies Google has purchased, the company has partnered with other organizations for everything from research to advertising. In 2005, Google partnered with NASA Ames Research Center to build 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of offices. The offices would be used for research projects involving large-scale data management, nanotechnology, distributed computing, and the entrepreneurial space industry. Later that year, Google entered into a partnership with Sun Microsystems in October 2005 to help share and distribute each other’s technologies. The company also partnered with AOL of Time Warner, to enhance each other’s video search services. Google’s 2005 partnerships also included financing the new .mobi top-level domain for mobile devices, along with other companies including Microsoft, Nokia, and Ericsson. Google would later launch “Adsense for Mobile”, taking advantage of the emerging mobile advertising market. Increasing their advertising reach even further, Google and Fox Interactive Media of News Corp. entered into a $900 million agreement to provide search and advertising on popular social networking site MySpace.
In October 2006, Google announced that it had acquired the video-sharing site YouTube for US$1.65 billion in Google stock, and the deal was finalized on November 13, 2006. Google does not provide detailed figures for YouTube’s running costs, and YouTube’s revenues in 2007 were noted as “not material” in a regulatory filing. In June 2008, a Forbes magazine article projected the 2008 YouTube revenue at US$200 million, noting progress in advertising sales. In 2007, Google began sponsoring NORAD Tracks Santa, a service that pretends to follow Santa Claus’ progress on Christmas eve, using Google Earth to “track Santa” in 3-D for the first time, and displacing former sponsor AOL. Google-owned YouTube gave NORAD Tracks Santa its own channel.
In 2008, Google developed a partnership with GeoEye to launch a satellite providing Google with high-resolution (0.41 m monochrome, 1.65 m color) imagery for Google Earth. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on September 6, 2008. Google also announced in 2008 that it was hosting an archive of Life Magazine’s photographs as part of its latest partnership. Some of the images in the archive were never published in the magazine. The photos were watermarked and originally had copyright notices posted on all photos, regardless of public domain status.
In 2010, Google makes its first investment in a renewable-energy project, putting up $38.8 million into two wind farms in North Dakota. The company announced the funding at the two locations will generate 169.5 megawatts of power, or enough to supply 55,000 homes. The farms, which were developed by NextEra Energy Resources, will reduce fossil fuel use in the region and return profits. 113 turbines can adjust the pitch to take advantage of wind direction and a computerized control system optimizes maintenance and performance of the windmills. NextEra Energy Resources sold Google a 20 percent stake in the project to get access to capital for project development.
Google adds future predictions to its ever growing arm of investment. Recorded Future is a search engine that searches for occurrences that are expected or predicted to happen tomorrow and beyond. The search engine has three input boxes that are what, who/where, and when, presenting text search results, charts, or timelines.
On 18 May 2010 Google has purchased Global IP Solutions at $68.2 million, which is a Norway based company and provides the services like web-based teleconferencing and other. This acquisition will enable Google to add telephone-style services to it’s list of products.