Everyone who uses the Internet, and many people who don’t have heard of Google. This has been the largest search engine in the world since June 2000. It is the most visited website on the Internet as it has over one billion search requests each and every day. It surpassed one billion unique visitors in May 2011 and has continued to grow since then. It has become much more than simply a search engine as it is now an integral part of daily life for millions of users across the globe. While most people have heard of Google and are aware that it is a website and search engine, there are very many interesting facts about this company of which people are not aware. Here are 20 interesting facts you might not know about Google.
1. Larry Page and Sergey Brin are the Founders
Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google in 1998. At that time, they were both students at Stanford University who were studying for a degree. It started as a research project in 1996. They were theorizing about a better way for search engines to rank results. Traditionally, this was done depending on how many times a search for a term had taken place. Instead, Page and Brin decided that a better system would be to rank the relevance of a website by the number of pages and whether these pages linked back to the original site. The technology they created to list search results in this way was called PageRank, and this is still a term that is used today. It became a privately held company on September 4, 1998. Sergey Brin and Larry Page continue to own around 16% of the shares in this company.
2. The Name is Derived from a Mathematical Term
Although the term Google is now a regular part of our daily vocabulary, it may seem an unusual name to call a company when you think about it. However, if you know the background of the name, it kind of makes sense. It is a take on the mathematical term ‘googol’. This is a name given to the number that starts with a one and is followed by one hundred zeros. They chose this name to represent the fact that they were creating a search engine that would provide large amounts of information. When they first began the company, they ran it under this name via the university’s website using the domain google.stanford.edu. They also ran it under the domain z.stanford.edu. The name Google makes much more sense than ‘Backrub’, which was the name originally chosen for the business.
3. There Are Goats at Google Headquarters
Although this is a technological company, they are surprisingly environmentally ethical. They put measures in place, wherever possible, to reduce their impact on the planet. One unusual way that they do this is to keep goats at the headquarters. These keep down the lawns rather than having to hire machinery to cut the grass and keep the place looking nice. Another benefit of having the goats is that the employees of Google have claimed it is calming to see the goats out of the window while they are working.
4. Google Has Acquired a Lot of Companies
Many people think of Google as only a search engine. However, it is a large technology corporation that is involved in many different aspects of technology. For the company to reach its current size and achieve such a high level of success, it has needed to acquire a wide range of companies since it was first founded. Although this is something that Google has done since the early days of operation, it was in 2010 that they really began to put efforts into acquiring businesses. Since then, they acquire an average of one new company per week. Just some of the companies owned by Google include YouTUbe, Waze, and Android. Other subsidiaries of Google include Blogger, DoubleClick, Nest Labs, AdMob, and Virus Total.
5. ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ No Longer Exists
If you think back a few years, you might remember that there was a button under the Google search bar that said, ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’. If you check on a Google page now, you will notice that it is no longer there. The introduction of Google Instant means that the search engine automatically starts searching as soon as you begin typing. This was introduced after the ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button started to cost the company in excess of $110 million every year because it would bypass all the advertisements to go to the top search straight away. Removing this button has resolved the issue for the company.
6. The First Google Doodle was a Burning Stick Man
The Google logo is one of the most recognized in the world. Anyone who uses this search engine will see the brightly colored letters on a regular basis. What you may notice is that the logo is adapted on a fairly regular basis. There are new designs introduced to incorporate the name of the company with themed designs relating to topical issues, special events or the time of the year. The first time one of these designs was used the logo incorporated a burning stickman. The reason Page and Brin chose the burning stickman for their logo as they were attending the Burning Man festival in Nevada. The logo was intended to represent that they were out of the office and were not around to resolve any technical issues. This was the first Google Doodle and it was displayed on the Internet for the first time on August 30, 1998. Since then, there have been more than 1,000 Google Doodles. These have been created by a team of professional illustrators that work for Google. Their aim is to create Google Doodles that make you smile when you visit the homepage.
7. Google Recruits Employees Using Foo.bar
Google has a rather unusual way of recruiting new employees. Rather than people contacting them with an application form or CV, they actively search for people they want working for them. TO do this, they use a web tool called foo.bar. This tracks the terms that people use when they are searching online. They particularly look for people who use programming terms in their searches. For example, the word ‘python’ is one such programming term and if you are typing this into search engines, then Google may show an interest in you. They have tried many other methods of recruitment before and found that they simply didn’t work. When they concentrated on test scores and GPA’s, they described the process as worthless criteria for hiring. As a result of the decision to move away from traditional recruitment processes, they now have approximately 14% of their team who did not attend college.
8. The Founders Have Runways at NASA
Brin and Page are both multimillionaires as a result of founding Google. This level of wealth means they can afford the things of which others can only dream. They can live in luxurious homes, buy designer clothes, and take their pick of the highest performance sports cars in the world. Another perk of having such a huge net worth is that they own private jets. While this is a luxury that few can afford, Brin and Page can also boast that they have their own private runways at NASA. They are the only people in the world who are allowed to land their planes on NASA property.
9. Google Owns Misspellings of Its Name
There are often companies listed on the Internet with similar sounding names but that have different spellings. This can often cause confusion and may detract traffic from one site but create more traffic to another when people incorrectly type in the word into a search engine. This can benefit a smaller business if they have a similar name to a larger business. As Google is the most visited website in the world, it makes sense to think that people may have tried to set up a website with a similar name with a slightly different spelling to take advantage of people entering the world Google incorrectly. To prevent this from happening, Google bought all the domains that have a similar spelling and redirected traffic from them to their own site. They even own the domain for GoogleSucks.com.
10. Google Offers Amazing Death Benefits
While Google employees are expected to work hard, they are rewarded for their work and they have the bonus of working in a pleasant environment with some great benefits available to people working for the company. There are around 48,000 people working for this international company now and these employees come from all over the world. If someone new starts in the company, they are referred to as a ‘Noogler’. When Google went public in 2004, many of its employees became instant millionaires overnight. One of the biggest benefit of working for Google is that the company actually encourages its staff to spend 20% of their time working on their own personal projects rather than focusing on Google business. A slightly more unusual perk is the free, colored condoms offered to employees that have ‘I’m Feeling Lucky!’ printed on them. There are many perks to working for Google and these do not stop after death. If an employee dies while still working for the company, then their spouse will continue to benefit from their deceased partner’s employment with Google. The surviving spouse receives 50% of the salary for a decade after their partner has died. This is just one of the many ways in which Google looks after its employees and their customers. Google also takes care of the former employee’s children. When an employee dies, their children will get $1,000 a month each until they reach the age of 19. In 2014, Fortune Mag named Google the best company to work for in the world. This was the fourth consecutive year that Google had earned this accolade.
11. There is a Rule About Office Position and Food
Google seems to have a strange obsession with food in the workplace. While there are many companies that ensure employees get adequate food breaks and have canteens that provide meals of the highest standard, Google seems to have taken things one step further. They have a strange rule about all their offices must be within 150 feet of some form of a food supply, whether this is a canteen or a vending machine.
12. There is a Mirror Version of Google
For some reason, ‘Google Mirror’ was created. This is a rotated version of Google that shows everything in reverse in a mirrored avatar. While this seems fun, it may also seem a bit pointless. However, it actually came in really useful once. When the Great Firewall in China banned Google, it was Google Mirror that helped to circumvent the situation.
13. They Almost Sold Out in 1999
After they had set up a successful business, Page and Brin seriously considered selling their company. In 1999, they hoped they could sell Google to Excite for $1 million. However, the CEO of Excite turned down the offer, so Page and Brin retained their company. Since then, the value of Google has increased dramatically. It is now estimated to have a value of over $300 billion. Therefore, it is likely that Excite will have regretted the decision ever since turning down the deal. On the other hand, Brin and Page are probably glad that they failed in their bid to sell Google as they are both reaping the rewards of their hard work now.
14. 16% of Searches Are New
Google can track the search terms that people are searching for when they use the Internet. You may have noticed that when you start typing something into the search bar, some options appear below as the search engine beings to predict what you might be looking for on the web. The options that appear below the search bar are the ones that have been most commonly searched for based on what you begin to type. It may seem like these options appear every time you do a search. Therefore, it may surprise you to learn that Google is often searched for completely new things that nobody else has searched for before. In fact, this is extremely common and up to 16% of searches conducted on Google every day are completely new. Considering there are an estimated two million searches every single minute, that is a lot of new searches.
15. Google is In the Dictionary
As already mentioned, Google is a word created by Larry Page and Sergey Brin that is derived from the mathematical term ‘googol’. While Google once seemed a bit of a funny word, it is now a part of everyday vernacular and people use it in their conversations all the time. For example, if someone asked their friend where the nearest Chinese restaurant is, there friend may respond by saying, ‘I’ll Google it’. It is now so much a part of everyday language that is has been accepted as an official word and was added into the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2006. If you search in a dictionary, you will find it listed as a verb, which is a word describing an action.
16. Google Earth Was Developed by Another Company
One aspect of Google that is extremely well-known is Google Earth. You can type in any address in the world and get a satellite view of that location. You can zoom in and out, view it in different formats, and even put down the figure of a man and enjoy street view. Once you have the man on the street, you can direct him round to look up and down the street or the surrounding area. It may surprise you to learn that Google did not come up with this idea or develop the technology that allows Internet users to view anywhere in the world. It was actually a company called Keyhoke, Inc. who came up with this idea and developed it. There product was called Earth Viewer and it was one of a kind when it was created. Google loved the idea so much that they acquired the product in 2005 and then renamed it Google Earth. They have since updated the technology. While satellites are responsible for collecting the aerial views of earth, cars with video cameras take the street views. Bizarrely, Google even hired a camel to take views of the desert, so every part of the earth is covered. There is even a 360 degree view of Mount Everest’s base camp. Google have taken this concept one step further an if you type in Google.com/Mars, you will see imagery, elevation views, and infrared of this planet.
17. Google is a Huge International Company
It is not all that surprising that Google is a big business and most people realizer that this is the case. What is difficult to imagine, is the humungous scale of this company today as it started with just two men in their student accommodation. It now operates in 40 countries and has 70 offices across the globe. As the company has continued to expand, its profits have also increased. Google now has an annual revenue of an estimated $50 billion and they make 99% of their profits from revenue that comes from its advertising. Google has the ability to track and analyse the online behaviour of its users and this allows them to pass on this information to advertisers who can use targeted marketing to make sure you see the advertisements that are the most relevant to you. Google make more from advertising revenue than the combined primetime advertising revenues of Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS.
18. The Homepage is Bare for a Reason
Compared to many other websites and search engines, those of Google are relatively bare and there are two main reasons for this. The first is that they wanted a quick interface that was easy to use. The second is that the creators of Google did not know now to use HTML code at that time. This may be difficult to believe considering everything this duo have achieved in the world of computer and Internet technology, but it is true. When they first created the interface, Google was not centralized like it is today. The Google logo was not moved to the center of the screen until 2001.
19. Google Have Wrongly Been Accused of April Fool’s Day Pranks
Throughout the history of Google, there are several events that have happened on the first day of April. As this is traditionally April Fool’s Day, it has led to them being falsely accused of playing a prank. On April 1, 2004, Google launched Gmail. Many people did not believe that this was a real email site because of the day on which it was launched. This was clearly not a prank and they were offering an amazing email service. While Hotmail only offered 2MB of free storage, Gmail was offering 1GB. A further email related incident occurred on April 1, 2007. This time, Google sent out an internal email telling their staff that there was a python loose in the office. Most of the staff simply assumed that this was their bosses playing an April Fool’s Day Prank on them and ignored the email. However, this was not a joke and there really was a python loose on the facilities.
20. Google Are Responsible for Android
Google wanted to compete against Apple’s iPhone. Therefore, they started to plan the release fo their own mobile phones in 2007. They titled this project ‘Android’, and this became an operating system for mobile phones. On January 5, 2010, they released their first Android phone. They had given this the name ‘Nexus One’. They have since gone on to release many more versions of this phone. They include the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10. They plan to continue rolling out new editions that have upgrades and advanced technology. Android is also used by many other mobile phone companies and service providers. So, you may get a Vodafone mobile or a Motorola mobile and it will have Android as its operating system.