Google turns 20: Things you didn’t know about the search engine giant
Google is a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary. It’s a testament to how the site has become a part of our daily lexicon, from frustrated cries of “I don’t know, Google it,” to passive aggressive links to LetMeGoogleThatForYou.
The search engine, which for many acts as a gateway – and gatekeeper – to the depths of the internet, turns 20 this month. Given its mammoth stature, this is quite surprising. In human terms, 20 years will get you a taste for craft ale, a penchant for Jack Kerouac and a few ill-advised romantic endeavours.
Google, meanwhile, has become the nucleus of the internet; it’s the rabbit hole through which hours of online gaming, academic research, social media, retail therapy, even regular therapy take place. It’s a tangle of inconceivable amounts of information, all lurking behind its simple, sunny exterior.
To celebrate Google’s two decades of existence, we’ve compiled a list of twenty facts you *probably* didn’t know about the company.
- Google was ill-advisedly christened “BackRub” at its inception (supposedly in reference to the site’s use of backlinks).
- Google is a misspelling of the word “googol” – a large number that you can write as the digit one followed by 100 zeroes (if you have the time).
- The above name was meant to denote the masses of information that the company delivers.
- If you search for the word “askew” in Google, the results will appear slightly tilted to the right.
- Google began in the garage of eventual employee Susan Wojcicki’s Menlo Park home.
- Wojcicki went on to become the CEO of Google-owned YouTube.
- Founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin offered to sell Google for $1 million (£760,000) back in 1999. The offer was rejected.
- A venture capitalist got the above offer down to $750,000 (£570,000). Still, the buyer refused. Talk about a missed opportunity.
- Google is the most visited website in the world.
- “Don’t be evil” was one of the company’s original mantras.
- Google often brings in goats to “mow” the lawns of its offices.
- The first Google Doodle was a stickman, as a homage to Burning Man 1998, which Larry Page attended (and evidently enjoyed).
- Members of deceased Google employees in the US will receive 50% of their salaries for a decade after their death.
- Jeff Bezos was an early investor in Google.
- Google offices must be no further than 200 feet away from food, upon Sergey Brin’s instruction, according to Forbes.
- If you type a ridiculously long number into Google, followed by the search term “=english”, it’ll tell you that number in words.
- “Google” has been a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary since 2006.
- Every minute, 2.4 million searches happen on Google.
- Google went down for a few minutes on 16 August 2013, and global web traffic dropped 40%.
- Google works out traffic density via the speed at which Android devices on the road are moving.