What is Google?


Google is the world’s most popular search engine and has been one of the fundamental forces behind the development of the internet as we know it. The company has expanded from its original search engine roots to become a major player in hardware, cloud computing, software and advertising. Its popularity and success have even led to it being used as a verb when referring to searching the web, “googling”.

The company was founded in 1995 by Stanford University graduates Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The pair began working on a search engine in their dorm rooms and had soon begun to attract outside funding from the cofounder of Sun Microsystems, Andy Bechtolsheim. On 4 September 1998, the company was formally incorporated and named Google Inc. The name was inspired by the mathematical term ‘googol’ which represents a number of ones followed by 100 zeros. The company has many different services, but the most well-known are the Google Search engine and the Google News service.

Other Google services include the social network Google+, video-sharing service YouTube, photo-sharing service Picasa, the mapping service Google Maps and the digital assistant Google Now. The company also provides a range of tools for developers, webmasters and business owners to create and optimize websites for search engines and monitor visitor behavior on sites using the Google Analytics service.

Aside from its core offerings, Google has developed a series of physical products including the Pixel smartphone range, the Chromecast in-home streamer and the Chromebook laptops. It has even ventured into new technology areas that don’t seem to have much in common with its main search engine, such as a project to connect the world via balloons and a self-driving car project.

Google has a number of hidden features and easter eggs scattered throughout its services that can be fun to use. For example, the search engine can be configured to display results in leet speak, Klingon or Pig Latin (the latter two being a joke on the founders’ names). The company also runs several different social media accounts such as Google+ and has its own YouTube channel. It has also created a variety of gadgets that can be controlled by voice, including the Google Home device and the Google Glass virtual reality headset. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and employs around 60,000 people worldwide. Its emblem is a recursive symbol of the letters G and O, reflecting its roots as a search engine for information on the Internet. Its slogan is ‘Don’t be evil’, a philosophy that it lives by and which has helped to keep its employees focused on the positive aspects of working for such an innovative company. As of May 2016, the company’s market value exceeded $800 billion, making it one of the largest companies in the world by revenue. Its shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GOOG. The company is a component of the Standard and Poor’s 500 index.

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