Google wasnâ€™t always the worldâ€™s third most valuable brand. Long before it was a go-to verb, it was an obedient digital dog, merely finding and retrieving stuff, playing fetch for Internet users over and over again.
Eventually the little G — which started in 1995 as a Stanford University Ph.D. research project — grew into the big, $367 billion-dollar G we know and love-hate today. No longer satisfied to fetch links alone, the global tech colossus now chases meatier, more meaningful bones, like nailing the fastest Internet speeds on the planet, rendering human drivers obsolete and, NBD, ending death.
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The Mountain View mammothâ€™s meteoric rise to the top is chock full of juicy trivia tidbits and mind-blowing milestones along the way.
Here are 11 surprising facts about Google:
1. Sergey Brin and Larry (Lawrence) Page met by chance.
Page, 22 at the time, having recently earned a computer engineering degree from the University of Michigan, considers attending Stanford University for his Ph.D. Brin, then 21, already a Ph.D. candidate at the prestigious institution, is assigned to show Page around campus. That was back in 1995 and, as fate would have it, quite the momentous meeting of the minds.
2. Google was originally named BackRub.
In 1996, Page and Brin collaborate on a pioneering â€œweb crawlerâ€ concept curiously called BackRub. Some speculate that the early search engineâ€™s nomenclature was a nod to retrieving backlinks. BackRub, which linked to Brinâ€™s and Pageâ€™s 90s-tastic original homepages, lived on Stanfordâ€™s servers for more than a year, but eventually chews up too much bandwidth.
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3. Google is a play on the word â€œgoogol.â€
On Sept. 15, 1997, over the BackRub title, Page and Brin register the domain name of their mushrooming project as Google, a twist on â€œgoogol,â€ a mathematical term represented by the numeral one followed by 100 zeros. The name hints at the seemingly infinite amount of data the brainy pair code their fledgling search engine to mine, make sense of and deliver. Many still wonder if Google is a misspelling of Googol. Â
4. Googleâ€™s first doodle was a Burning Man stick figure.
The inaugural doodle was an out-of-the-office message that Page and Brin created in August of 1998 to let people know theyâ€™d shipped off to the Burning Man festival. The future billionaires positioned the iconic Man behind the second â€œoâ€ in Googleâ€™s logo. Dude, check it out here.
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5. Googleâ€™s first office was a rented garage.
So stereotypical Silicon Valley startup, right? Starting in September 1998, the companyâ€™s first workspace was Susan Wojcickiâ€™s garage on Santa Margarita Ave. in Menlo Park, Calif. Wojcicki, sister of 23andMe founder Anne Wojcicki, is Google employee no. 16. She was Googleâ€™s first marketing manager and is now the CEO of YouTube. As for the house that built Google, the tech titan bought it, because of course it did. Then it filled the suburban ranch-style dwelling with candy, snacks and lava lamps.
6. A former caterer for The Grateful Dead was Googleâ€™s first chef.
In 1999, chef Charlie Ayers won a cook-off judged by Googleâ€™s employees, then only 40 in all, to clinch the position, which he held for seven years. Ayers initially cooked for the Grateful Dead in exchange for free admission to their legendary shows, but later took over catering for the jam band. At Google, he eventually served 4,000 daily lunches and dinners in 10 cafÃ©s throughout its Mountain View, Calif. global headquarters.
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7. Google New York began at a Starbucks on 86th Street.
In 2000, Google unofficially kicked off its New York arm at a Starbucks in New York City. It was helmed by a one-person sales â€œteam.â€ Now, thousands of â€œNYooglersâ€ clock-in at its swanky, 2.9 million-square-foot New York office, a former Port Authority building on 111 Eighth Avenue.
8. Swedish Chef is a language preference in Google search.
Gurndy morn-dee burn-dee, who knew? Yes, itâ€™s true. In 2001, Google got in touch with its inner yodelling Muppet and opened the gates for search queries and results in Swedish Chef lingo (called Bork Bork Bork, to be technical). Other â€œjokeâ€ languages you can tickle Googleâ€™s algorithm with include: Elmer Fudd, Pirate, Klingon, Pig Latin and, of course, Hacker (a.k.a. 1337sp34k).
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9. Gmail was launched on April Foolâ€™s Day, no joke.
Toying with Silicon Valleyâ€™s longstanding tradition of pulling April Foolâ€™s Day pranks, Google unveiled Gmail on April 1, 2004, in a wackily-worded announcement that was widely misconstrued as a hoax. It wasnâ€™t Google Gulp. It was a brilliant double fake and the precursor to a Google staple that now serves millions of users across the world every day. Â
10. Googlers ride colorful â€œgBikesâ€ around the Googleplex.
Launched in 2007, Googleâ€™s Googleplex campus commuter bike program began as a modest fleet of bright blue Huffys. Then came the goofy â€œclown bikes.â€ Now Googlers ride more than 1,000 primary-colored, basket-equipped beach cruisers, dubbed â€œgBikes,â€ around the two-mile expanse that is Google Mountain View. Interestingly, none of the bikes have locks. Employees simply â€œborrowâ€ the nearest set of wheels. When theyâ€™re done, they drop them off conveniently close to office entryways for other Googlers to use.
11. Google negotiated its acquisition of YouTubeâ€™s at Dennyâ€™s over mozzarella sticks.
â€œWe didnâ€™t want to meet at offices,â€ YouTube co-founder Steven Chen said, â€œso we were like, â€˜Whereâ€™s a place that none of us would go?â€™â€ That place turned out to be a Dennyâ€™s in Palo Alto, Calif. Mozzarella sticks were nibbled, hands were shaken. The 2006 landmark acquisition was a Grand Slam for Chen and co-founders Jawed Karim and Chad Hurley. Not bad for the time. Google doled out $1.65 billion for what would explode into the Internetâ€™s most-watched — and most uploaded-to — video platform.
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Article source: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/246477