What is Google?
Google is a search engine that handles over 70 percent of worldwide online searches. Its multiple search techniques cater to users of all kinds, whether students looking for answers for an assessment or businessmen conducting research into competitors. It has a wide range of other services that help people to work smarter and faster, such as Google Calendar, which synchronizes all your appointments, or the Google App Engine, which allows you to create scalable web services. It also offers a number of digital tools and applications to help with the everyday tasks of life, such as the Google Assistant, which can respond to voice commands.
Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, then Stanford University graduate students. Initially, the project was called Backrub, but they eventually settled on Google as a play on the mathematical term googol (a number one followed by 100 zeroes).
The pair used discounted computer parts and their credit cards to set up the company, which was first funded with $100,000 from Sun Microsystems cofounder Andy Bechtolsheim. They reportedly started the firm in a garage, but a move to larger headquarters in Mountain View, California, saw them open their doors in September 1998.
Over the years, Google has added many secret criteria to its ranking of resulting pages, but it still relies on a recursive algorithm that calculates a score for each page based on how much other pages link to it. This score, known as PageRank, is then used to rank the resulting pages in its search results.
In addition to its search engine, Google provides a host of other services, from cloud computing and computer software to mobile phones and wearables. Its suite of office productivity tools, G Suite, includes spreadsheet, presentation and word processing software; the Google Chrome browser is the most popular in the world; and the free navigation smartphone tool Waze is fueled by real-time traffic data submitted by users.
It also produces physical products to complement its services, including the Pixel smartphone line, the Chromecast in-home streamer and the Chromebook laptop range. Its smart home devices include the Nest thermostat and camera and speaker-equipped Home hub; while its wearables include the FitBit activity tracker.
Since 2015, Google has operated under the umbrella of Alphabet Inc, a technology conglomerate that splits into two distinct entities: Google and “Other Bets.” Other Alphabet subsidiaries include healthcare company Calico, tech industry private equity firm CapitalG, robotics company Intrinsic and “moonshot” development firm X Development. Its current CEO is Sundar Pichai. The firm uses the motto “Don’t be evil” as its corporate code of conduct. Its global operations are spread across more than 50 countries.