What is Google?
Google is the world’s most popular Internet search engine. It uses a proprietary algorithm to retrieve information from the Web and order it to provide the most relevant sources of data possible. Google is so effective at its job that it has even entered the lexicon as a verb; when something is done, it is “Googled.” Google’s stated mission is to organize all of the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.
In the early days of the Internet, academic papers were ranked by the number of citations they received; the more a paper was cited, the higher it ranked in a search result. Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page decided to apply this principle to the Web, and in 1998 they incorporated Google Inc. in Silicon Valley, California. They started the company in a garage with discounted computer parts and their own credit cards. Their first employee was a Stanford graduate student named Andy Bechtolsheim. The company’s culture was based on innovation and unconventional thinking; its founders often wore Hawaiian shirts and the office dog, Yoshka, was named after a Japanese rice cake.
Using a proprietary algorithm, Google searches billions of pages in its index every second and sifts through results to produce the best set of matches for each search query. The process is incredibly complex, but the results are displayed almost instantly.
The underlying technologies that drive Google Search continue to evolve. For example, voice search is becoming more common; it requires different search terms than entering a text query and may produce different results because users word their queries differently when speaking them. Google must adapt its algorithms to ensure that it is providing the most useful and accurate search results.
Google also adds visual examples to the search results, such as maps, images and videos. These can be very helpful when searching for specific items. Additionally, Google is always experimenting with new ways to display these results for the benefit of its users.
A very popular Google product is the Google Apps suite of online software programs. These include word processing (Google Docs), spreadsheet software (Google Sheets), and presentation software (Google Slides). In addition to these programs, there are a variety of other services such as email, calendaring, and cloud storage that can be accessed through the Google Apps suite. Google also offers a wide range of hardware products including the Google Chromebook, Google Glass and the Google Daydream View virtual reality headset. These products are designed to work together and form a high level of ambient computing experience for users. The company also makes tools for developers, advertising and data analysis. Google’s success in these areas has led to criticism over the amount of power it has over the flow of information on the Internet. Google’s corporate structure has evolved to reflect these concerns, with the company now being structured as a holding company called Alphabet.