What Is Google?
Google is a multinational technology company whose search engine handles more than 70 percent of the world’s online searches. It also offers a suite of Internet software, hardware and collaboration tools. The company is based in Mountain View, California. It is owned by Alphabet Inc.
The Google search engine is the world’s most popular, and its dominance has given it a reputation for reliability and relevance. Its stated mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Its popularity has even led to its being used as a verb, and users may say that they “Googled” something.
The company was founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page in 1998. The two Stanford University graduate students built the search engine in their dorm rooms, and they initially self-financed it with discounted computer parts and credit cards. In mid-1998, they received their first outside investment from Sun Microsystems cofounder Andy Bechtolsheim and renamed the company Google, which is a play on the mathematical term googol (one followed by 100 zeroes).
In its early years, Google operated 11 data centers around the world. Each contains several hundred thousand servers, which are multiprocessor personal computers and hard drives mounted in specially designed racks. The computers are interlinked, and Google’s proprietary software program identifies and retrieves search results from multiple sources in an order that maximizes the relevancy of the data.
As Google grew, it added more services and applications to its platform. In addition to its core search engine, the company offers a range of Internet-based tools for social networking and communication, as well as cloud computing and mobile phone services. It also provides a number of physical products such as its Pixel smartphone line, Chromecast in-home streaming device and the Chromebook laptop range.
Google has a massive global reach, and its software and applications can be accessed in more than 100 languages. The company has a large workforce of thousands of employees and contractors around the world, and it has offices in more than 50 countries.
Google’s search engine is able to process millions of requests per second, and the company operates more than 50 data centers worldwide to offer speedy access to its services. Its vast library of software and applications includes Google App Engine, which allows developers to create scalable web applications; Gmail, the world’s most popular email service; Google Books, a virtual digital library with millions of books; and Google Maps, an interactive map application that provides detailed driving directions, street views and satellite imagery. Google also has an array of software tools to assist with project management, spreadsheets and presentations. These include Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. The company also has a suite of productivity apps, including Google Keep and Google Calendar. These apps allow users to communicate and collaborate with one another using real-time messaging and videoconferencing features. They can also access cloud storage and work with data in various file formats, including Microsoft Office.