Best known as THE search engine, Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while both were PhD students at Stanford University. The tech giant has since reinvented the internet and how information and knowledge is shared. Not only that, seven of its signature products can claim more than 1 billion users each.
Based in Silicon Valley, the company began life as a search engine—originally coined BackRub—that determined the relative importance of individual webpages based on the other pages that linked to them. Page and Brin would later change the search engine’s name to Google, a play on the mathematical term “googol,” for a 1 followed by 100 zeros.
Innovations and growth would only continue. Gmail—a free email service providing super-fast search functionality, ample storage and message threads—debuted on April Fools’ Day 2004. The company’s Initial Public Offering took place later that same year, in August. Google Maps and Google Earth launched in 2005. And Google Chrome—a freeware web browser used on more desktops and smartphones than any other—was released in 2008.
Along the way, Google has made several strategic acquisitions, including digital mapping company Keyhole in 2004 (which paved the way for Google Maps and Google Earth), online video sharing site YouTube in 2006, mobile operating system Android in 2005 and community-based travel and navigation app Waze in 2013.
Though many think of Google as software only, the company has also been increasing its efforts in hardware. Its most recent forays in the hardware department include the October 2016 launch of the Google Pixel smart phone and the November 2016 launch of the Google Home smart speaker.
Google’s employees have also famously been encouraged to pursue innovative ideas outside of their primary job responsibilities—freedom that has led to some of the company’s most creative developments, including Gmail, computer-generated headline aggregator Google News and AdSense, a platform that delivers Google AdWords to individuals’ websites.
In 2015, Page and Brin reorganized the company and formed Alphabet, a multinational conglomerate of which Google is now a subsidiary. Another Alphabet subsidiary, X, serves as a “moonshot exploration arm” of the company, where work has since unfolded on projects ranging from a driver-less car to Project Loon, a initiative to bring internet access to everyone by creating an internet network of balloons flying through the stratosphere. A smart contact lens designed to help people manage diabetes by continuously measuring glucose levels in their tears was also born in X and is now part of Verily, another Alphabet subsidiary (known as Google Life Sciences before the 2015 reorganization).
Google, Inc. employs more than 59,000 people at 70 offices in more than 40 countries worldwide. Its headquarters—called the GooglePlex—is located in Mountain View, CA.
For the latest news and information about the company, check out the website for the most recent annual developer conference, I/O 2016.
The ability to engage in meaningful work that can have a global impact, extremely competitive pay, the freedom to pursue passion projects and unparalleled perks are just a few of the things that make Google one of the most sought-after employers among MBA graduates. That Google is a household brand name that produces products millions and millions of people encounter on a daily basis doesn’t hurt.