Search Engine giant Google has completed two decades since its incorporation on September 4, 1998. Today the company will find a place in any ranking of the companies which changed the world. In most parts of the world (except China and Russia), search engine is synonymous with Google, just like Parle-G was synonym for biscuits and Nirma for detergent in India. None of the other search engines stand even close to Google, it has near monopoly in the market. The genesis of Google goes to Standford University and Silicon Valley, just like most other major technology companies.
The algorithm of the search engine was written in 1996 by two doctoral students named Larry Page and Sergey Brin for their research project at Stanford University. The idea was to determine a website’s relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages that linked back to the original site rather than counting number of times search keyword appeared on the page. The domain name Google was registered in 1997 and the company was incorporated in 1998. So, a research project of two doctoral students changed the world. Now, compare this with the kind of research output in India where millions of people get their doctorate without making any substantial contribution to the field.
In subsequent years, many investors from Silicon Valley firms like people from Amazon, Stanford University, and venture capital firms invested in Google. However, eager to expand Google offered Initial Public Offerings (IPO) six years after incorporation in 2004. Since then, Google has grown exponentially. It expanded in almost every sphere of internet, offering email services to acquiring YouTube for video segment. In 2015, Google formed a separate parent company named Alphabet Inc. to expand in many other areas like biotech, clean energy. The company employs 89,000 people as of June 2018. Its market capitalization is 837 billion, third largest in technology companies after e-commerce giant Amazon and iphone maker Apple.
Today imagining a life without Google is impossible anywhere in the world. It accounts for above 90 percent market share in search engine segment. The company is now led by an Indian- American business executive Sundar Pichai. Most of the company’s profit comes from advertising. It offers map service, calendar service, storage, office suite, and translation, video sharing and viewing through YouTube. Very few people are aware of the fact that Android operating system is also owned by Google. The company acquired Android Inc. for at least $50 million in July 2005. The domination of Android in operating system market is same as that of its search engine, it accounts for 86 percent of operating system market. The company also entered in Hardware segment through release of smarphone, Nexus one and later Pixel and Pixel XL but it did not succeed in hardware market. This also indicates that the core area of Google is software market and shed some doubts over its ventures in other sectors like autonomous cars, biotechnology and clear energy.
However, the revolutionary change Google has brought in life of human being in a mere two decades is extraordinary. Whether its ventures in non-software areas will succeed or not that is a thing of future but if they succeed it will be as revolutionary as it was in software field.