20 things you might not know about Google

By Emma Crawford

20 things you might not know about Google

The internet’s most popular search engine turns 20!

You may remember 1998 as the year that France won the world cup, the film Titanic was released and Buffy the Vampire was all the rage.

1998 was also the year that two Stanford Ph.D students launched a new search engine that would grow to become the internet’s most popular tool for searching the world wide web.

Google was actually incorporated on 4th September 1998 but it has often chosen to mark its birthday on 27th September instead.  It is suspected that this date was selected as it’s actually the anniversary of the first ever Google Doodle. Over the past two decades, Google have created thousands of illustrated, animated and interactive variations of their logo.

As part of their 20th anniversary celebrations, we’ve put together 20 things you might not know about Google.

1. Google was originally called BackRub.

2. The name Google is actually derived from the mathematical term ‘googol’ which is basically 1 with a 100 zeros following it.

3. Yahoo turned down the opportunity to buy Google for $1 million. In 1998, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin approached Yahoo and offered to sell them their PageRank system, but Yahoo refused – a decision I’m sure they later regretted. (PageRank is the very same algorithm that powers Google search today).

4. Google was formally incorporated on September 4th 1998 in a friend’s garage. This friend – Susan Wojicki – eventually became an executive at Google and is now CEO at YouTube.

5. The first ever Google Doodle was a Burning Man stick figure in August 1998. This came about following a trip to the Burning Man festival in Nevada.

6. “Don’t’ be evil” is a motto used within Google’s corporate code of conduct.

7. Google’s first company dog was called Yoshka.

8. Google’s search index reached 1 billion pages in June 2000.

9. The inspiration behind Google Images (which was launched in July 2001) actually came from Jennifer Lopez when she wore a green Versace dress at the 2000 Grammy Awards.

10. Google News was launched in 2002 as a response to the 9/11 attacks in New York.

11. Everyone thought Gmail was an April Fool’s joke because it was launched on April 1st (2004) and because no one believed Google were offering 1GB of free storage.

12. The verb “google” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, meaning “to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the internet”.

13. YouTube became part of the Google family in 2006 at a cost of $1.65 billion.

14. In 2008, Google launched Knol, their own version of Wikipedia, but this failed after only 4 years.

15. Approximately 15% of the searches made every day are for something new that hasn’t been searched before.

16. Google call their campus headquarters the “Googleplex”.

17. In April 2007 in their New York office, a pet snake named Kaiser escaped from his cage. Fortunately, Kaiser was found relaxing behind a cabinet the following day and was returned safety to his owner.

18. Google has offices in nearly 60 countries.

19. As of April 2018, Google became the first company to achieve 100% renewable energy. For every kilowatt they consume, Google create a kilowatt of purchased renewable energy.

20. Google’s mission is “To organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”.