Google LLC is an American multinational technology company that specializes in Internet-related services and products, which include online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing, software, and hardware. It is considered one of the five Big Tech companies along with Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.
Google was founded in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California. Together they own about 14% of its shares and control 56% of the stockholder voting power through super-voting stock. Google was incorporated in California on September 4, 1998. Google was then reincorporated in Delaware on October 22, 2002. In July 2003, Google moved to its headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex. The company became a public company via an initial public offering (IPO) on August 19, 2004. In October 2015, Google reorganized as a subsidiary of a conglomerate called Alphabet Inc. Google is Alphabet’s largest subsidiary and is a holding company for Alphabet’s Internet interests. Sundar Pichai was appointed CEO of Google, replacing Larry Page, who became the CEO of Alphabet. In 2021, the Alphabet Workers Union was founded, mainly composed of Google employees.
The company’s rapid growth since incorporation has included products, acquisitions, and partnerships beyond Google’s core search engine, (Google Search). It offers services designed for work and productivity (Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides), email (Gmail), scheduling and time management (Google Calendar), cloud storage (Google Drive), instant messaging and video chat (Google Duo, Hangouts, Google Chat, and Google Meet), language translation (Google Translate), mapping and navigation (Google Maps, Waze, Google Earth, and Street View), podcast hosting (Google Podcasts), video sharing (YouTube), blog publishing (Blogger), note-taking (Google Keep and Jamboard), and photo organizing and editing (Google Photos). The company leads the development of the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome OS, a lightweight operating system based on the Chrome browser. Google has moved increasingly into hardware; from 2010 to 2015, it partnered with major electronics manufacturers in the production of its Google Nexus devices, and it released multiple hardware products in October 2016, including the Google Pixel line of smartphones, Google Home smart speaker, Google Wifi mesh wireless router, and Google Daydream virtual reality headset. Google has also experimented with becoming an Internet carrier (Google Fiber, Google Fi, and Google Station).
On the list of most valuable brands, Google is ranked second by Forbesand fourth by Interbrand. It has received significant criticism involving issues such as privacy concerns, tax avoidance, antitrust, censorship, and search neutrality.
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.ect initially involved an unofficial “third founder”, Scott Hassan, the original lead programmer who wrote much of the code for the original Google Search engine, but he left before Google was officially founded as a company; Hassan went on to pursue a career in robotics and founded the company Willow Garage in 2006.
While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, they theorized about a better system that analyzed the relationships among websites. They called this algorithm PageRank; it determined a website’s relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages that linked back to the original site. Page told his ideas to Hassan, who began writing the code to implement Page’s ideas.
Page and Brin originally nicknamed the new search engine “BackRub“, because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site. Hassan as well as Alan Steremberg were cited by Page and Brin as being critical to the development of Google. Rajeev Motwani and Terry Winograd later co-authored with Page and Brin the first paper about the project, describing PageRank and the initial prototype of the Google search engine, published in 1998. Héctor García-Molina and Jeff Ullman were also cited as contributors to the project. PageRank was influenced by a similar page-ranking and site-scoring algorithm earlier used for RankDex, developed by Robin Li in 1996, with Larry Page’s PageRank patent including a citation to Li’s earlier RankDex patent; Li later went on to create the Chinese search engine Baidu.
Eventually, they changed the name to Google; the name of the search engine was a play on the word “googol“, the number 1 followed by 100 zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine was intended to provide large quantities of information.Google’s original homepage had a simple design because the company founders had little experience in HTML, the markup language used for designing web pages.
The domain name
www.google.com was registered on September 15, 1997, and the company was incorporated on September 4, 1998. It was based in the garage of (Susan Wojcicki) in Menlo Park, California. Craig Silverstein, a fellow PhD student at Stanford, was hired as the first employee.
Google was initially funded by an August 1998 contribution of $100,000 from Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems; the money was given before Google was incorporated. Google received money from three other angel investors in 1998: Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Stanford University computer science professor David Cheriton, and entrepreneur Ram Shriram. Between these initial investors, friends, and family Google raised around $1,000,000, which is what allowed them to open up their original shop in Menlo Park, California.
After some additional, small investments through the end of 1998 to early 1999, a new $25 million round of funding was announced on June 7, 1999,with major investors including the venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins and Sequoia Capital.
In March 1999, the company moved its offices to Palo Alto, California,which is home to several prominent Silicon Valley technology start-ups. The next year, Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords against Page and Brin’s initial opposition toward an advertising-funded search engine.To maintain an uncluttered page design, advertisements were solely text-based.In June 2000, it was announced that Google would become the default search engine provider for Yahoo!, one of the most popular websites at the time, replacing Inktomi.Google’s first production server.
In 2003, after outgrowing two other locations, the company leased an office complex from Silicon Graphics, at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway in Mountain View, California.The complex became known as the Googleplex, a play on the word googolplex, the number one followed by a googol zeroes. Three years later, Google bought 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”. Additionally, in 2001 Google’s Investors felt the need to have a strong internal management, and they agreed to hire Eric Schmidt as the chairman and CEO of Google
Initial public offering
On August 19, 2004, Google became a public company via an initial public offering. At that time Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt agreed to work together at Google for 20 years, until the year 2024.The company offered 19,605,052 shares at a price of $85 per share. Shares were sold in an 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.Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011
On November 13, 2006, Google acquired YouTube for $1.65 billion in Google stock,On March 11, 2008, Google acquired DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, transferring to Google valuable relationships that DoubleClick had with Web publishers and advertising agencies.
In May 2011, the number of monthly unique visitors to Google surpassed one billion for the first time.
By 2011, Google was handling approximately 3 billion searches per day. To handle this workload, Google built 11 data centers around the world with several thousand servers in each. These data centers allowed Google to handle the ever-changing workload more efficiently.
In May 2012, Google acquired Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion, in its largest acquisition to date. This purchase was made in part to help Google gain Motorola’s considerable patent portfolio on mobile phones and wireless technologies, to help protect Google in its ongoing patent disputes with other companies,mainly Apple and Microsoft, and to allow it to continue to freely offer Android.
In June 2013, Google acquired Waze, a $966 million deal.While Waze would remain an independent entity, its social features, such as its crowdsourced location platform, were reportedly valuable integrations between Waze and Google Maps, Google’s own mapping service.
Google announced the launch of a new company, called Calico, on September 19, 2013, to be led by Apple Inc. chairman Arthur Levinson. In the official public statement, Page explained that the “health and well-being” company would focus on “the challenge of ageing and associated diseases”.Entrance of building where Google and its subsidiary Deep Mind are located at 6 Pancras Square, London
On January 26, 2014, Google announced it had agreed to acquire DeepMind Technologies, a privately held artificial intelligence company from London.Technology news website Recode reported that the company was purchased for $400 million though it was not disclosed where the information came from. A Google spokesman would not comment of the price.The purchase of DeepMind aids in Google’s recent growth in the artificial intelligence and robotics community.
According to Interbrand’s annual Best Global Brands report, Google has been the second most valuable brand in the world (behind Apple Inc.) in 2013, 2014,2015, and 2016, with a valuation of $133 billion.
On August 10, 2015, Google announced plans to reorganize its various interests as a conglomerate called Alphabet Inc. Google became Alphabet’s largest subsidiary and the umbrella company for Alphabet’s Internet interests. Upon completion of the restructure, Sundar Pichai became CEO of Google, replacing Larry Page, who became CEO of Alphabet.Current Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, with Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi
On August 8, 2017, Google fired employee James Damore after he distributed a memo throughout the company which argued that bias and “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber” clouded their thinking about diversity and inclusion, and that it is also biological factors, not discrimination alone, that cause the average woman to be less interested than men in technical positions.Google CEO Sundar Pichai accused Damore in violating company policy by “advancing harmful gender stereotypes in our workplace”, and he was fired on the same day. New York Times columnist David Brooks argued Pichai had mishandled the case, and called for his resignation
Between 2018 and 2019, tensions between the company’s leadership and its workers escalated as staff protested company decisions on internal sexual harassment, Dragonfly, a censored Chinese search engine, and Project Maven, a military drone artificial intelligence, which had been seen as areas of revenue growth for the company. On October 25, 2018, The New York Times published the exposé, “How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the ‘Father of Android’”. The company subsequently announced that “48 employees have been fired over the last two years” for sexual misconduct.On November 1, 2018, more than 20,000 Google employees and contractors staged a global walk-out to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment complaints.Later in 2019, some workers accused the company of retaliating against internal activists
On June 3, 2019, the United States Department of Justice reported that it would investigate Google for antitrust violations. This led to the filing of an antitrust lawsuit in October 2020, on the grounds the company had abused a monopoly position in the search and search advertising markets.
In April 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Google announced several cost-cutting measures. Such measures included slowing down hiring for the remainder of 2020, except for a small number of strategic areas, recalibrating the focus and pace of investments in areas like data centers and machines, and non-business essential marketing and travel.
The 2020 Google services outages disrupted Google services: one in August that affected Google Drive among others, another in November affecting YouTube, and a third in December affecting the entire suite of Google applications. All three outages were resolved within hours.
In January 2021, the Australian Government proposed legislation that would require Google and Facebook to pay media companies for the right to use their content. In response, Google threatened to close off access to its search engine in Australia
In March 2021, Google reportedly paid $20 million for Ubisoft ports on Google Stadia. Google spent “tens of millions of dollars” on getting major publishers such as Ubisoft and Take-Two to bring some of their biggest games to Stadia.
In April 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported that Google ran a years-long program called ‘Project Bernanke’ that used data from past advertising bids to gain an advantage over competing ad services. This was revealed in documents concerning the antitrust lawsuit filed by ten US states against Google in December
Products and services
Main article: List of Google products
Google indexes billions of web pages to allow users to search for the information they desire through the use of keywords and operators.According to comScore market research from November 2009, Google Search is the dominant search engine in the United States market, with a market share of 65.6%. In May 2017, Google enabled a new “Personal” tab in Google Search, letting users search for content in their Google accounts’ various services, including email messages from Gmail and photos from Google Photos.
Google launched its Google News service in 2002, an automated service which summarizes news articles from various websites.Google also hosts Google Books, a service which searches the text found in books in its database and shows limited previews or and the full book where allowed.
Google generates most of its revenues from advertising. This includes sales of apps, purchases made in-app, digital content products on Google and YouTube, Android and licensing and service fees, including fees received for Google Cloud offerings. Forty-six percent of this profit was from clicks (cost per clicks), amounting to US$109,652 million in 2017. This includes three principal methods, namely AdMob, AdSense (such as AdSense for Content, AdSense for Search, etc.) and DoubleClick AdExchange.
In addition to its own algorithms for understanding search requests, Google uses technology its acquisition of DoubleClick, to project user interest and target advertising to the search context and the user history.
In 2007, Google launched “AdSense for Mobile“, taking advantage of the emerging mobile advertising market
Google Analytics allows website owners to track where and how people use their website, for example by examining click rates for all the links on a page. Google advertisements can be placed on third-party websites in a two-part program. Google Ads allows advertisers to display their advertisements in the Google content network, through a cost-per-click scheme. The sister service, Google AdSense, allows website owners to display these advertisements on their website and earn money every time ads are clicked. One of the criticisms of this program is the possibility of click fraud, which occurs when a person or automated script clicks on advertisements without being interested in the product, causing the advertiser to pay money to Google unduly. Industry reports in 2006 claimed that approximately 14 to 20 percent of clicks were fraudulent or invalid. Google Search Console (rebranded from Google Webmaster Tools in May 2015) allows webmasters to check the sitemap, crawl rate, and for security issues of their websites, as well as optimize their website’s visibility.
Google offers Gmail for email, Google Calendar for time-management and scheduling, Google Maps for mapping, navigation and satellite imagery,Google Drive for cloud storage of files, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for productivity, Google Photos for photo storage and sharing Google Keep for note-taking,Google Translate for language translation, YouTube for video viewing and sharing, Google My Business for managing public business information, and Duo for social interaction. In March 2019, Google unveiled a cloud gaming service named Stadia.
Some Google services are not web-based. Google Earth, launched in 2005, allowed users to see high-definition satellite pictures from all over the world for free through a client software downloaded to their computers
In January 2010, Google released Nexus One, the first Android phone under its own brand. It spawned a number of phones and tablets under the “Nexus” branding until its eventual discontinuation in 2016, replaced by a new brand called Pixel.
- Google Home, a voice assistant smart speaker that can answer voice queries, play music, find information from apps (calendar, weather etc.), and control third-party smart home appliances (users can tell it to turn on the lights, for example). The Google Home line also includes variants such as the Google Nest Hub, Google Home Mini, Nest Hub Max, Nest Mini (second generation), and Google Home Max
- Daydream View virtual reality headset that lets Android users with compatible Daydream-ready smartphones put their phones in the headset and enjoy VR content.
- Google Wifi, a connected set of Wi-Fi routers to simplify and extend coverage of home Wi-Fi.
Google Workspace, (formerly G Suite until October 2020 is a monthly subscription offering for organizations and businesses to get access to a collection of Google’s services, including Gmail, Google Drive and Google Docs, Google Sheets and Google Slides, with additional administrative tools, unique domain names, and 24/7 support.
On September 24, 2012,Google launched Google for Entrepreneurs, a largely not-for-profit business incubator providing startups with co-working spaces known as Campuses, with assistance to startup founders that may include workshops, conferences, and mentorships. Presently, there are 7 Campus locations in Berlin, London, Madrid, Seoul, São Paulo, Tel Aviv, and Warsaw.
On March 15, 2016, Google announced the introduction of Google Analytics 360 Suite, “a set of integrated data and marketing analytics products, designed specifically for the needs of enterprise-class marketers” which can be integrated with BigQuery on the Google Cloud Platform. Among other things, the suite is designed to help “enterprise class marketers” “see the complete customer journey“, generate “useful insights”, and “deliver engaging experiences to the right people”. Jack Marshall of The Wall Street Journal wrote that the suite competes with existing marketing cloud offerings by companies including Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce, and IBM.
In February 2010, Google announced the Google Fiber project, with experimental plans to build an ultra-high-speed broadband network for 50,000 to 500,000 customers in one or more American cities. Following Google’s corporate restructure to make Alphabet Inc. its parent company, Google Fiber was moved to Alphabet’s Access division.
In April 2015, Google announced Project Fi, a mobile virtual network operator, that combines Wi-Fi and cellular networks from different telecommunication providers in an effort to enable seamless connectivity and fast Internet signal.
In September 2016, Google began its Google Station initiative, a project for public Wi-Fi at railway stations in India. Caesar Sengupta, VP for Google’s next billion users, told The Verge that 15,000 people get online for the first time thanks to Google Station and that 3.5 million people use the service every month. The expansion meant that Google was looking for partners around the world to further develop the initiative, which promised “high-quality, secure, easily accessible Wi-Fi”. By December, Google Station had been deployed at 100 railway stations, and in February, Google announced its intention to expand beyond railway stations, with a plan to bring citywide Wi-Fi to Pune.
In May 2011, Google announced Google Wallet, a mobile application for wireless payments.
In 2013, Google launched Google Shopping Express, a delivery service initially available only in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
Stock price performance and quarterly earnings
Google’s initial public offering (IPO) took place on August 19, 2004. At IPO, the company offered 19,605,052 shares at a price of $85 per share. The sale of $1.67 billion gave Google a market capitalization of more than $23 billion.The stock performed well after the IPO, with shares hitting $350 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. GOOG shares split into GOOG class C shares and GOOGL class A shares.The company is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbols GOOGL and GOOG, and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GGQ1. These ticker symbols now refer to Alphabet Inc., Google’s holding company, since the fourth quarter of 2015.
In the third-quarter of 2005, Google reported a 700% increase in profit, largely due to large companies shifting their advertising strategies from newspapers, magazines, and television to the Internet.
For the 2006 fiscal year, the company reported $10.492 billion in total advertising revenues and only $112 million in licensing and other revenues.In 2011, 96% of Google’s revenue was derived from its advertising programs.
The year 2012 was the first time that Google generated $50 billion in annual revenue for the first time in 2012, generating $38 billion the previous year. In January 2013, then-CEO Larry Page commented, “We ended 2012 with a strong quarter … Revenues were up 36% year-on-year, and 8% quarter-on-quarter. And we hit $50 billion in revenues for the first time last year – not a bad achievement in just a decade and a half.”
Google’s consolidated revenue for the third quarter of 2013 was reported in mid-October 2013 as $14.89 billion, a 12 percent increase compared to the previous quarter.Google’s Internet business was responsible for $10.8 billion of this total, with an increase in the number of users’ clicks on advertisements. By January 2014, Google’s market capitalization had grown to $397 billion.
Tax avoidance strategies
Further information: Corporation tax in the Republic of Ireland § Multinational tax schemes, and Google tax
Google uses various tax avoidance strategies. On the list of the largest information technology companies, it pays the lowest taxes to the countries of origin of its revenues. Google between 2007 and 2010 saved $3.1 billion in taxes by shuttling non-U.S. profits through Ireland and the Netherlands and then to Bermuda. Such techniques lower its non-U.S. tax rate to 2.3 per cent, while normally the corporate tax rate in for instance the UK is 28 per cent. This has reportedly sparked a French investigation into Google’s transfer pricing practices.
Google said it overhauled its controversial global tax structure and consolidated all of its intellectual property holdings back to the US.
Google Vice-President Matt Brittin testified to the Public Accounts Committee of the UK House of Commons that his UK sales team made no sales and hence owed no sales taxes to the UK. In January 2016, Google reached a settlement with the UK to pay £130m in back taxes plus higher taxes in future.In 2017, Google channeled $22.7 billion from the Netherlands to Bermuda to reduce its tax bill.
In 2013, Google ranked 5th in lobbying spending, up from 213th in 2003. In 2012, the company ranked 2nd in campaign donations of technology and Internet sections
The name “Google” originated from a misspelling of “googol“,which refers to the number represented by a 1 followed by one-hundred zeros. Page and Brin write in their original paper on PageRank: “We chose our systems name, Google, because it is a common spelling of googol, or 10100 and fits well with our goal of building very large-scale search engines.” 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.”Google’s mission statement, from the outset, was “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”, and its unofficial slogan is “Don’t be evil“.In October 2015, a related motto was adopted in the Alphabet corporate code of conduct by the phrase: “Do the right thing” The original motto was retained in the code of conduct of Google, now a subsidiary of Alphabet.
The original Google logo was designed by Sergey Brin.Since 1998, Google has been designing special, temporary alternate logos to place on their homepage intended to celebrate holidays, events, achievements and people. The first Google Doodle was in honor of the Burning Man Festival of 1998. The doodle was designed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin to notify users of their absence in case the servers crashed. Subsequent Google Doodles were designed by an outside contractor, until Larry and Sergey asked then-intern Dennis Hwang to design a logo for Bastille Day in 2000. From that point onward, Doodles have been organized and created by a team of employees termed “Doodlers”.
Google has a tradition of creating April Fools’ Day jokes. Its first on April 1, 2000 was Google MentalPlex which allegedly featured the use of mental power to search the web. In 2007, Google announced a free Internet service called TiSP, or Toilet Internet Service Provider, where one obtained a connection by flushing one end of a fiber-optic cable down their toilet.
Google’s services contain easter eggs, such as the Swedish Chef‘s “Bork bork bork,” Pig Latin, “Hacker” or leetspeak, Elmer Fudd, Pirate, and Klingon as language selections for its search engine. When searching for the word “anagram,” meaning a rearrangement of letters from one word to form other valid words, Google’s suggestion feature displays “Did you mean: nag a ram?”