Monday, September 8, 2008

Google in ten years

Yesterday Flasshe posted a list of all the important things that happened on September 7th. One of the ones that caught my eye was..

1998 - Google is founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students at Stanford University.

This means that Google has been around for ten years, and has become more or less synonymous with "the internet" and it's own verb. Here's what the site looked like when it launched
(click to enlarge).

There were search engines before Google (altavista, infoseek, webcrawler, lycos?), but they were all slow and unreliable, with different buttons and interfaces that would take forever to return results. Google's front page had one text box and two buttons labeled "Google Search" (which returns results) and "I'm feeling lucky" (which returns the first result), and both buttons generated results almost instantly.

Google's interface was a marvel of simplicity (they still have the same box and two buttons), and their speed and scalability made it exponentially easier to find information on the internet. It became almost everyone's homepage almost immediately, and when stumped for any question about anything, the standard response was "I'll google it" (long before google became a dictionary verb in 2006).

Over the last ten years, they've dropped the exclamation point but kept expanding their brand with lots of services that do pretty much everything related to the internet, including their own web browser, Google Chrome, which launched last week. Not bad for a decade's work.

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