What is Google?
Google is one of the most well known companies in the world, offering Internet services and applications, hardware, collaboration tools, web traffic analysis, and more. Its most famous product is the search engine, which it uses a proprietary algorithm to retrieve and order search results. The company also has a huge commercial side, creating and placing the advertisements you see on websites.
The company was founded in 1998 by Stanford University graduate students Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Their first prototype was a simple text-based search engine called Backrub, but they soon expanded it to include images and other types of content. They trademarked the name in 2000 and began expanding the service to encompass other products. In 2004, the company introduced Gmail, the world’s most popular free e-mail provider, and Google Maps, which allowed users to search the Internet for geographic locations and other information.
In the early years of Google, the company’s name and business model generated criticism from some observers who worried about its control of online information. By the end of 2011 Google was handling more than three billion searches a day, and its name had entered the language as a verb: to google something is now a commonly used phrase.
Aside from the search engine, google offers many other online services, including Google Maps, a navigation application that can assist with directions, and Google Photos, which is a photo sharing website that allows users to upload and share photos online. Google Chrome, the most popular desktop Internet browser, is another well-known product from the company. Other services are Google Calendar, which lets you organize your schedule and synchronize it with those of your friends, and Google Drive, a cloud storage solution.
Other Google products and services include the Google Chromecast, a device that allows you to watch television shows and movies on your television, and the Google Home, a voice-activated virtual digital assistant. There is also Google Docs, a free word processing and spreadsheet software program.
There is also Google Code, a tool that lets developers search for open source code on the Internet, and Google Desktop, a small software utility that adds a button to the Microsoft Windows taskbar allowing users to search without opening a browser. Google Fast Flip, a news aggregator, and Google Talk, a chat program using the XMPP standard, were both shut down in 2013.
There are also numerous other Google products that have been discontinued or will be soon. These include Google Helpouts, which let people answer questions and offer advice to others; Google Labs, which displayed upcoming features; and Google Talk, an online messaging service that was replaced with the new Hangouts service in May 2013. Google Lunar, a virtual reality application for the Google Glass headset, was also once available. The site Google Reviews provides businesses with the ability to receive feedback from customers via a Google-powered review system. This can help a business to boost its rankings in Google’s organic search results.