Top 10 AMAZING FACTS About GOOGLE
Back in 1997, Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed a life-changing program that, within 20 years, has become a household commodity and the cornerstone of an impressively successful multinational technology conglomerate. Google is in our homes, on our phones, and even driving through our neighborhoods, but do you really know the internet company? From Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Home to Google Chrome - it's all here!
Lunar X Prize
Everybody wants to know more about our Solar System, but Google is willing to pay over $20 million (£15 million) to actually get results. Launched in 2015, the Google Lunar XPRIZE competition sought to pit a series of teams against one another in a privately funded space race. Each team was charged with launching a lunar robot that could travel across the moon’s surface for 1,640 ft (500 m) and transmit high-def imaging and video. Thirty-four teams entered the competition but by 2017, only five remained and were under contract to launch. The teams have until the end of 2017 to launch their craft in order to be eligible for the $20 million first prize.
Even the greatest of minds are bound to fail, and for every genius implement Google has, it also must face its collection of missteps. One of its most notable failed products was meant to give Facebook a run for its money, but Google+ never took off. Despite having over 2.5 billion registered users, an estimated 90% of them have never used the programs more social aspects. Google+ wasn’t even Google’s first attempt at social networking as it struggled to launch Google Buzz, Dodgeball, and Orkut. Google also attempted to revolutionize wearable technology with Google Glass, a pair of smartglasses that showed promise but failed to deliver on the consumer level.
In 2013, Google joined forces with Apple chairman and former chief executive officer and chairman of biotechnology corporation, Genentech, Inc., Arthur D. Levinson to form Calico. Since its success, the web tech company has invested in many ventures, but Calico, short for California Life Company, may be one of its most notable shifts away from search engines and the internet. Calico’s main focus has been combatting aging and age-related diseases, focusing heavily on cancer and neurodegeneration. Research performed within Calico’s facilities is done within a secretive fog, with reps for the company remaining incredibly vague about the actual science behind its anti-aging efforts.
In the beginning, there was just little ‘ole Google. Then, in 2015, the internet powerhouse went through a restructuring to form the parent company, Alphabet, Inc. with Page and Brin filling the seats of CEO and president respectively. You may be wondering why the need for a blanket company and the answer lies within the some 200 smaller companies that Google has acquired over the years. Boston Dynamics, reCAPTCHA, Owlchemy Labs, Jetpac, and Motorola Mobility were just a few of the notable purchases, though the robotics company, Boston Dynamics, was put up for sale in March of 2016 for lack of revenue.
Before Google was worth billions, Page and Brin weren’t intending on it being a long-term project. Instead, the two were ready to sell off their creation in 1999 to what was then the number two search engine, Excite.com. With a price tag of $750.000 (~£580,000), Excite had shown interest in Google, but when Page mentioned the stipulation that all of Excite’s technology would need to be replaced by Google’s, the deal fell through. A year earlier, the Stanford student’s approached Yahoo with a $1 million (~£774,000) offer for PageRank, which became the meat and potatoes of Google. Ultimately, Yahoo declined… and has regretted it ever since.
Goats of Google
Back in 2009, Google was making headlines for its unique method in lawn care – goats! At its Mountain View, CA headquarters, Google’s director of real estate and workplace services Dan Hoffman enlisted the services of local company California Grazing to tend to the property. Rather than send a team of green-thumbs, California Grazing provided Google with 200 goats, a herd of natural lawnmowers that spend a week at a time grazing and fertilizing the surrounding property and provide cleaner and quieter alternative to typical landscaping companies. Of course, PETA involved themselves, raising concerns about transportation, shelter, and veterinary care of the goats.
What’s in a Name
… Okay, so that time is now. If you’ve ever wondered where “Google” came from, it actually stemmed from a slip-up by Stanford University student Sean Anderson, who stepped in when the minds behind BackRub wanted a name change. Anderson initially suggested “googol,” or the long-form number of 10100, but while searching the domain availability of googol.com, slipped and typed in Google.com, which caught Page’s attention. On September 15th, 1997, Google.com was official registered. Fun fact, Google hates when the term “googling” or any variation of it is used to refer to the act of performing a web search unless you’re actually using Google.
No, no. We’re not referencing one of the company’s many employee perks. Before Google was, well, Google, it was a much smaller company, not even on the radar. It also wasn’t even called “Google” Fans of wordplay, Page and Brin opted to call their newly formed entity “BackRub,” referencing how their program evaluated “back links” to determine a website’s reputation and filter other related sites. In 1997, the Google name was born – but that’s a story for a different time.
You may think that your bi-weekly company lunch is just the bee’s knees, but it may pale just a little in comparison to the benefits Google bestows upon its employees. In fact, there are so many that we won’t get to cover them all, but Google employees are known for enjoying a dog-friendly work environment, free massages, gym access and fitness classes, 18 weeks maternity and six weeks paternity leave with bonuses, access to financial advisors, and family death benefits that pay out for 10 years after the employee’s passing. Maybe even more important is the constant access to food and free Google-themed condoms!
World’s Most Valuable
Since 2011, Apple had dominated the world of branding with an approximate brand value of $145 billion (£112.4 billion). After failing to impress the market and consumers with its line of technologies, by 2017, the multinational technology company dropped to the second most valuable brand in the world with its value slipping $107 billion (£82 billion). With $109 billion (£84 billion) backing its name, Google delightfully stepped in as the world’s most valuable brand.