Google is an American multinational technology company specialising in Internet-related services and products that include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, software, and hardware. Most of its profits are derived from AdWords, an online advertising service that places advertising near the list of search results.
Google was founded in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University, California. Together, they own about 14 percent of its shares and control 56 percent of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. An initial public offering (IPO) took place on August 19, 2004, and Google moved to its new headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex.
In August 2015, Google announced plans to reorganise its interests as a holding company called Alphabet Inc. When this restructuring took place on October 2, 2015, Google became Alphabet's leading subsidiary, as well as the parent for Google's Internet interests.
Rapid growth after incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions and partnerships beyond Google's core search engine (Google Search). It offers services designed for work and productivity (Google Docs, Sheets and Slides), email (Gmail), scheduling and time management (Google Calendar), cloud storage (Google Drive), social networking (Google+), instant messaging and video chat (Google Allo/Duo/Hangouts), language translation (Google Translate), mapping and turn-by-turn navigation (Google Maps), video-sharing (YouTube), taking notes (Google Keep), organising and editing photos (Google Photos), and a web browser (Google Chrome). The company leads the development of the Android mobile operating system and the browser-only Chrome OS for a class of netbooks known as Chromebooks and desktop PCs known as Chromeboxes. Google has moved increasingly into hardware; from 2010 to 2015, it partnered with major electronics manufacturers in the production of its Nexus devices, and in October 2016, it launched multiple hardware products (the Google Pixel, Home, Wifi, and Daydream View), with new hardware chief Rick Osterloh stating that "a lot of the innovation that we want to do now ends up requiring controlling the end-to-end user experience". In 2012, a fiber-optic infrastructure was installed in Kansas City to facilitate a Google Fiber broadband service, and in 2016, the company launched the Google Station initiative to make public "high-quality, secure, easily accessible Wi-Fi" around the world, which had already started, and become a success, in India.
Google has been estimated to run more than one million servers in data centres around the world (as of 2007). It processes over one billion search requests and about 24 petabytes of user-generated data each day (as of 2009). In December 2013, Alexa listed Google.com as the most visited website in the world. Numerous Google sites in additional languages figure in the top one hundred, as do several additional Google-owned sites such as YouTube and Blogger.
Google has been the second most valuable brand in the world for 4 consecutive years, and has a valuation in 2016 at $133 billion. Google's mission statement from the outset was "to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," and its unofficial slogan was "Don't be evil". In October 2015, the motto was replaced in the Alphabet corporate code of conduct by the phrase: "Do the right thing". Google's commitment to such robust idealism has been increasingly called into doubt due to a number of actions and behaviours which appear to contradict this.
While conventional search engines ranked results by counting how a large number of times the search terms appeared on the page, the two theorised about a better system that analysed the relationships between websites. They called this new technology PageRank; it determined a website's relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages, that linked back to the original site.
Page and Brin originally nicknamed their new search engine "BackRub", because the system checked backlinks to estimate the importance of a site. Eventually, they changed the name to Google, originating from a misspelling of the word "googol", the number one followed by one hundred zeros, which was picked to signify that the search engine was intended to provide large quantities of information. Originally, Google ran under Stanford University's website, with the domains google.stanford.edu and z.stanford.edu.
The domain name for Google was registered on September 15, 1997, and the company was incorporated on September 4, 1998. It was based in the garage of a friend (Susan Wojcicki) in Menlo Park, California. Craig Silverstein, a fellow PhD student at Stanford, was hired as the first employee.
In May 2011, the number of monthly unique visitors to Google surpassed one billion for the first time, an 8.4 percent increase from May 2010 (931 million). In January 2013, Google announced it had earned US$50 billion in annual revenue for the year of 2012. This marked the first time the company had reached this feat, topping their 2011 total of $38 billion.
The company has reported fourth quarter (Dec 2014) Earnings Per Share (EPS) of $6.88 – $0.20 under projections. Revenue came in at $14.5 billion (16.9% growth year over year), additionally under expectations by $110 million.
Financing, 1998 and initial public offering, 2004
The first funding for Google was an August 1998 contribution of $100,000 from Andy Bechtolsheim, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, given before Google was incorporated. Early in 1999, while graduate students, Brin and Page decided that the search engine they'd developed was taking up too much time and distracting their academic pursuits. They went to Excite CEO George Bell and offered to sell it to him for $1 million. He rejected the offer and later criticised Vinod Khosla, one of Excite's venture capitalists, after he negotiated Brin and Page down to $750,000. On June 7, 1999, a $25 million round of funding was announced, with major investors including the venture capital firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sequoia Capital.
Google's initial public offering (IPO) took place five years later on August 19, 2004. At that time Larry Page, Sergey Brin, and Eric Schmidt agreed to work together at Google for 20 years, until the year 2024. The company offered 19,605,052 shares at a price of $85 per share. Shares were sold in an online auction format using a system built by Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse, underwriters for the deal. The sale of $1.67 bn (billion) gave Google a market capitalization of more than $23bn. By January 2014, its market capitalization had grown to $397bn. The vast majority of the 271 million shares remained under the control of Google, and a large number of Google employees became instant paper millionaires. Yahoo!, a competitor of Google, additionally benefited because it owned 8.4 million shares of Google before the IPO took place.
There were concerns that Google's IPO would lead to changes in company culture. Reasons ranged from shareholder pressure for employee benefit reductions to the fact that a large number of company executives would become instant paper millionaires. As a reply to this concern, co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page promised in a report to potential investors that the IPO wouldn't change the company's culture. In 2005, articles in The New York Times and additional sources began suggesting that Google had lost its anti-corporate, no evil philosophy. In an effort to maintain the company's unique culture, Google designated a Chief Culture Officer, who additionally serves as the Director of Human Resources. The purpose of the Chief Culture Officer is to develop and maintain the culture and work on ways to keep true to the core values that the company was founded on: a flat organisation with a collaborative environment. Google has additionally faced allegations of sexism and ageism from former employees. In 2013, a class action against several Silicon Valley companies, including Google, was filed for alleged "no cold call" agreements which restrained the recruitment of high-tech employees.
The stock performed well after the IPO, with shares hitting $350 for the first time on October 31, 2007, primarily because of strong sales and earnings in the online advertising market. The surge in stock price was fueled mainly by individual investors, as opposed to large institutional investors and mutual funds. GOOG shares split into GOOG Class C shares and GOOGL class A shares. The company is listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange under the ticker symbols GOOGL and GOOG, and on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol GGQ1. These ticker symbols now refer to Alphabet Inc., Google's holding company, after the fourth quarter of 2015.
In March 1999, the company moved its offices to Palo Alto, California, which is home to several prominent Silicon Valley technology start-ups. The next year, against Page and Brin's initial opposition toward an advertising-funded search engine, Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords. In order to maintain an uncluttered page design and increase speed, advertisements were solely text-based. Keywords were sold based on a combination of price bids and click-throughs, with bidding starting at five cents per click.
This model of selling keyword advertising was first pioneered by Goto.com, an Idealab spin-off created by Bill Gross. When the company changed names to Overture Services, it sued Google over alleged infringements of the company's pay-per-click and bidding patents. Overture Services would later be bought by Yahoo! and renamed Yahoo! Search Marketing. The case was then settled out of court; Google agreed to issue shares of common stock to Yahoo! in exchange for a perpetual license.
In 2001, Google received a patent for its PageRank mechanism. The patent was officially assigned to Stanford University and lists Lawrence Page as the inventor. In 2003, after outgrowing two additional locations, the company leased an office complex from Silicon Graphics at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway in Mountain View, California. The complex became known as the Googleplex, a play on the word googolplex, the number one followed by a googol zeroes. The Googleplex interiors were designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects. Three years later, Google bought the property from SGI for $319 million. By that time, the name "Google" had found its way into everyday language, causing the verb "google" to be added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary, denoted as "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet". The first use of "Google" as a verb in pop culture (TV) happened on Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 2002.
The immense popularity of the search engine has led its fans calling themselves 'Googlists' as they follow 'Googlism', the new religion. Devotees of Google have found a non-profit online organisation The Church of Google, a website where they worship the search engine giant. The New York Times had discussed the topic "Is Google God?" under its 'opinion' category.
Google announced the launch of a new company called Calico on September 19, 2013, which will be led by Apple chairman Arthur Levinson. In the official public statement, Page explained that the "health and well-being" company will focus on "the challenge of ageing and associated diseases".
Google celebrated its 15-year anniversary on September 27, 2013, and in 2016 it celebrated its eighteenth birthday with an animated Doodle shown on web browsers around the world. although it has used additional dates for its official birthday. The reason for the choice of September 27 remains unclear, and a dispute with rival search engine Yahoo! Search in 2005 has been suggested as the cause.
The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) was launched in October 2013 and Google is part of the coalition of public and private organisations that additionally includes Facebook, Intel and Microsoft. Led by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the A4AI seeks to make Internet access more affordable so that access is broadened in the developing world, where only thirty-one percent of people are online. Google will help to decrease Internet access prices so that they fall below the UN Broadband Commission's worldwide target of five percent of monthly income.
The corporation's consolidated revenue for the third quarter of 2013 is reported in mid-October 2013 as $14.89 billion, a 12 percent increase compared to the previous quarter. Google's Internet business was responsible for $10.8 billion of this total, with an increase in the number of users' clicks on advertisements.
In November 2013, Google announced plans for a new 1-million-sq-ft (93,000 sq m) office in London, which is due to open in 2016. The new premises will be able to accommodate 4,500 employees and has been identified as one of the biggest ever commercial property acquisitions in Britain.
According to Interbrand's annual Best Global Brands report, Google has been the second most valuable brand in the world (behind Apple Inc.) in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, with a valuation of $133 billion.
In September 2015, Google engineering manager Rachel Potvin revealed details about Google's software code at an engineering conference. She revealed that the entire Google codebase, which spans every single service it develops, consists of over 2 billion lines of code. All that code is stored on a code repository available to all 25,000 Google engineers, and the code is regularly copied and updated on 10 Google data centers. To keep control, Potvin said Google has built its own "version control system", called "Piper", and that "when you start a new project, you have a wealth of libraries already available to you. Almost everything has already been done." Engineers can make a single code change and deploy it on all services at the same time. The only major exceptions are that the PageRank search results algorithm is stored separately with only specific employee access, and the code for the Android operating system and the Google Chrome browser are additionally stored separately as they don't run on the Internet. The "Piper" system spans 85 TB of data, and Google engineers make 25,000 changes to the code each day, and on a weekly basis change approximately 15 million lines of code across 250,000 files. With that much code, automated bots have to help, with Potvin saying, "You need to make a concerted effort to maintain code health. And this isn't just humans maintaining code health, but robots too.” Bots aren't writing code, but generating a lot of the data and configuration files needed to run the company’s software. "Not only is the size of the repository increasing," Potvin explained, "but the rate of change is additionally increasing. This is an exponential curve."
In September 2016, Google released its Google Trips app for Android and iOS. The app, which automatically gathers information about upcoming trips users take based on the user's Gmail messages, offers recommendations for places to go, things to do, and anything interesting to explore throughout the user's travel. Google states that "each trip contains key categories of information, including day plans, reservations, things to do, food & drink, and more" in trip cards in the app, and that offline availability is supported.
Also in September 2016, Google began expanding its Google Station initiative, which was previously a project for public Wi-Fi at railway stations in India. Caesar Sengupta, VP for Google’s next billion users, told The Verge that 15,000 people get online for the first time thanks to Google Station, and that 3.5 million people use the service every month. The expansion meant that Google was looking for partners around the world to further develop the initiative, which promised "high-quality, secure, easily accessible Wi-Fi".
As of October 2016, Google operates 70 offices in more than 40 countries.
Push into hardware
In April 2016, Recode reported that Google had hired Rick Osterloh, Motorola Mobility's former President, to be in charge of Google's new hardware division. Later, in October 2016, The Information reported that David Foster, Amazon.com's former Kindle hardware chief, had joined Google as hardware chief for a new brand of smartphones by Google.
On October 4, 2016, Google held a #MadeByGoogle press event, where it announced its intention to create more hardware, with Rick Osterloh stating that "a lot of the innovation that we want to do now ends up requiring controlling the end-to-end user experience", and introduced:
- The Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones with the Google Assistant, a next-generation contextual voice assistant, built-in.
- Google Home, an Amazon Echo-like voice assistant placed in the house that can answer voice queries, play music, find information from apps (calendar, weather etc.), and control third-party smart home appliances (users can tell it to turn on the lights, for example).
- Daydream View virtual reality headset that lets Android users with compatible Daydream-ready smartphones put their phones in the headset and enjoy VR content.
- Google Wifi, a connected set of Wi-Fi routers to simplify and extend coverage of home Wi-Fi.
Acquisitions and partnerships
Google went through three major periods of acquisitions, spanning 2000–2009, 2010–2012, and 2014–2015.
Since 2001, Google has acquired a large number of companies, primarily small venture capital-funded firms. In 2004, Google acquired Keyhole, Inc. The start-up company developed a product called Earth Viewer that gave a three-dimensional view of the Earth. Google renamed the service to Google Earth in 2005. Google acquired Urchin Software in April 2005, using their 'Urchin on Demand' product (along with ideas from Adaptive Path's 'Measure Map') to create Google Analytics in 2006.
In October 2006, Google announced that it had acquired the video-sharing site YouTube for $1.65 billion in Google stock, and the deal was finalised on November 13, 2006. Google doesn't provide detailed figures for YouTube's running costs, and YouTube's revenues in 2007 were noted as "not material" in a regulatory filing. In June 2008, a Forbes magazine article projected the 2008 YouTube revenue at $200 million, noting progress in advertising sales.
On April 13, 2007, Google reached an agreement to acquire DoubleClick for $3.1 billion, giving Google valuable relationships that DoubleClick had with Web publishers and advertising agencies. Later that same year, Google purchased GrandCentral for $50 million. The site would later be changed over to Google Voice. On August 5, 2009, Google bought out its first public company, purchasing video software maker On2 Technologies for $106.5 million. Google additionally acquired Aardvark, a social network search engine, for $50 million, and commented on its internal blog, "we're looking forward to collaborating to see where we can take it". In April 2010, Google announced it had acquired a hardware startup, Agnilux.
In addition to the a large number of companies Google has purchased, the company has partnered with additional organisations for research, advertising, and additional activities. In 2005, Google partnered with NASA Ames Research Center to build 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of offices. The offices would be used for research projects involving large-scale data management, nanotechnology, distributed computing, and the entrepreneurial space industry. Google entered into a partnership with Sun Microsystems in October 2005 to help share and distribute each other's technologies.
The company additionally partnered with AOL to enhance each other's video search services. Google's 2005 partnerships additionally included financing the new .mobi top-level domain for mobile devices, along with additional companies including Microsoft, Nokia, and Ericsson. Google would later launch "AdSense for Mobile", taking advantage of the emerging mobile advertising market. Increasing its advertising reach even further, Google and Fox Interactive Media of News Corporation entered into a $900 million agreement to provide search and advertising on the then-popular social networking site MySpace.
In 2007, Google began sponsoring NORAD Tracks Santa, displacing former sponsor AOL. NORAD Tracks Santa purports to follow Santa Claus' progress on Christmas Eve, using Google Earth to "track Santa" in 3-D for the first time. Google-owned YouTube gave NORAD Tracks Santa its own channel.
In 2008, Google developed a partnership with GeoEye to launch a satellite providing Google with high-resolution (0.41 m monochrome, 1.65 m color) imagery for Google Earth. The satellite was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base on September 6, 2008. Google additionally announced in 2008 that it was hosting an archive of Life Magazine's photographs. Some images in the archive were never published in the magazine. The photos were watermarked and originally had copyright notices posted on all photos, regardless of public domain status.
In 2010, Google Energy made its first investment in a renewable energy project, putting $38.8 million into two wind farms in North Dakota. The company announced the two locations will generate 169.5 megawatts of power, enough to supply 55,000 homes. The farms, which were developed by NextEra Energy Resources, will reduce fossil fuel use in the region and return profits. NextEra Energy Resources sold Google a twenty-percent stake in the project to get funding for its development. In February 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission FERC granted Google an authorization to buy and sell energy at market rates. The order specifically states that Google Energy—a subsidiary of Google—holds the rights "for the sale of energy, capacity, and ancillary services at market-based rates", but acknowledges that neither Google Energy nor its affiliates "own or control any generation or transmission" facilities. The corporation exercised this authorization in September 2013 when it announced that it will purchase all the electricity produced by the not-yet-built 240-megawatt Happy Hereford wind farm.
Also in 2010, Google purchased Global IP Solutions, a Norway-based company that provides web-based teleconferencing and additional related services. This acquisition enabled Google to add telephone-style services to its list of products. On May 27, 2010, Google announced it had additionally closed the acquisition of the mobile ad network AdMob. This occurred days after the Federal Trade Commission closed its investigation into the purchase. Google acquired the company for an undisclosed amount. In July 2010, Google signed an agreement with an Iowa wind farm to buy 114 megawatts of energy for 20 years.
On August 15, 2011, Google made its largest-ever acquisition to-date when it announced that it would acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion subject to approval from regulators in the United States and Europe. In a post on Google's blog, Google Chief Executive and co-founder Larry Page revealed that the acquisition was a strategic move to strengthen Google's patent portfolio. The company's Android operating system has come under fire in an industry-wide patent battle, as Apple and Microsoft have sued Android device makers such as HTC, Samsung, and Motorola. The merger was completed on May 22, 2012, after the approval of People's Republic of China.
This purchase was made in part to help Google gain Motorola's considerable patent portfolio on mobile phones and wireless technologies to help protect it in its ongoing patent disputes with additional companies, mainly Apple and Microsoft, and to allow it to continue to freely offer Android. After the acquisition closed, Google began to restructure the Motorola business to fit Google's strategy. On August 13, 2012, Google announced plans to lay off 4000 Motorola Mobility employees. On December 10, 2012, Google sold the manufacturing operations of Motorola Mobility to Flextronics for $75 million. As a part of the agreement, Flextronics will manufacture undisclosed Android and additional mobile devices. On December 19, 2012, Google sold the Motorola Home business division of Motorola Mobility to Arris Group for $2.35 billion in a cash-and-stock transaction. As a part of this deal, Google acquired a 15.7% stake in Arris Group valued at $300 million.
On June 5, 2012, Google announced it acquired Quickoffice, a company widely known for their mobile productivity suite for both iOS and Android. Google plans to integrate Quickoffice's technology into its own product suite.
On February 6, 2013, Google announced it had acquired Channel Intelligence for $125 million. Channel Intelligence, a technology company that helps customers buy products online, is active globally in 31 different countries and works with over 850 retailers. Google will use this technology to enhance its e-commerce business.
The official confirmation of Google's acquisition of the Israel-based startup Waze occurred in June 2013. Waze is promoted as a "community-based traffic and navigation app".
Following the acquisition of Waze, Google submitted a "10-Q" filing with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) that revealed that the corporation spent $1.3 billion on acquisitions throughout the first half of 2013. The filing additionally revealed that the Waze acquisition cost Google $966 million, instead of the $1.1 billion figure that was initially presented in media sources.
The 2012 acquisition of WIMM Labs, a company that previously made an Android-powered smartwatch, was confirmed in August 2013. As of August 31, 2013, Google hasn't publicly commented on the news concerning WIMM Labs. The acquisition of Flutter, a creator of hand gesture recognition technology, was confirmed by the corporation in early October 2013. The reported price is $40 million and Google spokesperson stated: "We're really impressed by the Flutter team's ability to design new technology based on cutting-edge research." Flutter's technology allows users to enact hand gestures to control navigation for apps such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, and Winamp.
On January 26, 2014, Google Inc. announced it had agreed to acquire DeepMind Technologies, a privately held artificial intelligence company from London. DeepMind describes itself as having the ability to combine the best techniques from machine learning and systems neuroscience to build general-purpose learning algorithms. DeepMind's first commercial applications were used in simulations, e-commerce and games. As of December 2013, it was reported that DeepMind had roughly 75 employees. The technology news website Re/code reported that the company was purchased for $400 million though it wasn't disclosed where the information came from. A Google spokesman wouldn't comment of the price. The purchase of DeepMind aids in Google's recent growth in the artificial intelligence and robotics community.
On January 29, 2014, Google announced it was selling its Motorola Mobility unit to China-based Lenovo, for $2.91bn. The company kept the extensive patent collection used to develop Android products, considered the most valuable part of the original deal. Nonetheless, the sale price was significantly less than the $12.5 billion Google had bought Motorola Mobility for. The $2.91bn price tag consisted of $660 million in cash, $750 million in Lenovo ordinary shares, and a $1.5 billion 3-year promissory note. In March 2014, Google confirmed it had purchased the remnants of gaming startup, Green Throttle Games, which developed a Bluetooth gaming controller for Android.
In May 2014, Google announced it had purchased Quest Visual, maker of the augmented reality translator app Word Lens. In June 2014, Google purchased satellite imaging firm Skybox Imaging for $500 million. In July 2014, Google purchased the online music service Songza.
On September 10, 2015, Google announced to form strategic partnership with Mobvoi to bring Android Wear to mainland China. In October 2015, Google invested in a China-based artificial intelligence (AI) company, Mobvoi. The funding will enable the Company to further enhance its core AI technologies, and develop new consumer products empowered by AI.
In July 2016, Google announced that it had purchased Moodstocks, a startup which specialises in instant image recognition. In August 2016, Google acquired Orbitera, a startup that developed a platform for buying and selling cloud-based software, for around $100 million.
In October 2016, Google announced it has acquired FameBit, a marketplace that connects video creators with marketers. Also in October 2016, Google acquired eye-tracking startup Eyefluence. Matt Brian of Engadget drew references to Google's Daydream VR platform and Google's effort to create its own VR headsets that need eye-tracking sensors, and that the Eyefluence company, which specialises in turning eye movements into virtual actions, can be helpful in that process.
Google data centers
As of 2014, Google Inc. owned and operated six Google Data Centers across the U.S., one in Chile, one in Finland, one in Ireland, one in Belgium, one in Singapore and one in Taiwan. In 2011, the company had announced plans to build three data centres at a cost of more than $200 million in Asia (Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan) and said they would be operational within two years. In December 2013, Google announced that it had scrapped the plan to build a data centre in Hong Kong.
In October 2013, The Washington Post reported that the U.S. National Security Agency intercepted communications between Google's data centers, as part of a programme named MUSCULAR. This wiretapping was made possible because Google didn't encrypt data passed inside its own network. Google began encrypting data sent between data centres in 2013.
Google’s most efficient data centre runs at 95 °F (35 °C) using only fresh air cooling, requiring no electrically powered air conditioning; the servers run so hot that humans can't go near them for extended periods.
On August 10, 2015, Google announced plans to reorganise its various interests as a holding company, Alphabet Inc., with Google as its leading subsidiary. Google will continue to be the umbrella company for Alphabet's Internet interests. Upon completion of the restructure, Sundar Pichai became CEO of Google.
Products and services
For the 2006 fiscal year, the company reported $10.492 billion in total advertising revenues and only $112 million in licencing and additional revenues. In 2011, 96 percent of Google's revenue was derived from its advertising programs. In addition to its own algorithms for understanding search requests, Google uses technology from the company DoubleClick, to project user interest and target advertising to the search context and the user history.
Google Analytics allows website owners to track where and how people use their website, for example by examining click rates for all the links on a page. Google advertisements can be placed on third-party websites in a two-part program. Google's AdWords allows advertisers to display their advertisements in the Google content network, through either a cost-per-click or cost-per-view scheme. The sister service, Google AdSense, allows website owners to display these advertisements on their website and earn money every time ads are clicked.
One of the criticisms of this programme is the possibility of click fraud, which occurs when a person or automated script clicks on advertisements without being interested in the product, causing the advertiser to pay money to Google unduly. Industry reports in 2006 claimed that approximately 14 to 20 percent of clicks were fraudulent or invalid.
In February 2003, Google stopped showing the advertisements of Oceana, a non-profit organisation protesting a major cruise ship's sewage treatment practices. Google cited its editorial policy at the time, stating "Google doesn't accept advertising if the ad or site advocates against additional individuals, groups, or organizations." The policy was later changed. In June 2008, Google reached an advertising agreement with Yahoo!, which would have allowed Yahoo! to feature Google advertisements on its web pages. The alliance between the two companies was never completely realised because of antitrust concerns by the U.S. Department of Justice. As a result, Google pulled out of the deal in November 2008.
According to market research published by comScore in November 2009, Google Search is the dominant search engine in the United States market, with a market share of 65.6%. Google indexes billions of web pages, so that users can search for the information they desire through the use of keywords and operators.
In 2003, The New York Times complained about Google's indexing, claiming that Google's caching of content on its site infringed its copyright for the content. In this case, the United States District Court of Nevada ruled in favour of Google in Field v. Google and Parker v. Google. The publication 2600: The Hacker Quarterly has compiled a list of words that the web giant's new instant search feature won't search.
Google Watch has criticised Google's PageRank algorithms, saying that they discriminate against new websites and favour established sites. The site has additionally alleged that there are connexions between Google and the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Google additionally hosts Google Books. The company began scanning books and uploading limited previews, and full books where allowed, into its new book search engine. The Authors Guild, a group that represents 8,000 U.S. authors, filed a class action suit in a New York City federal court against Google in 2005 over this service. Google replied that it is in compliance with all existing and historical applications of copyright laws regarding books. Google eventually reached a revised settlement in 2009 to limit its scans to books from the U.S., the UK, Australia, and Canada. Furthermore, the Paris Civil Court ruled against Google in late 2009, asking it to remove the works of La Martinière (Éditions du Seuil) from its database. In competition with Amazon.com, Google sells digital versions of new books.
On July 21, 2010, in response to Bing, Google updated its image search to display a streaming sequence of thumbnails that enlarge when pointed at. Though web searches still appear in a batch per page format, on July 23, 2010, dictionary definitions for certain English words began appearing above the linked results for web searches.
The "Hummingbird" update to the Google search engine was announced in September 2013. The update was introduced over the month prior to the announcement and allows users ask the search engine a question in natural language rather than entering keywords into the search box.
In August 2016, Google announced two major changes related to its mobile search results. The first, removing the "mobile-friendly" label that highlighted pages were easy to read on mobile from its mobile search results page. The second, on January 10, 2017, the company will start punishing mobile pages that show intrusive interstitials when a user first opens a page and they'll rank lower in its search results.
Gmail, a free webmail service provided by Google, was launched as an invitation-only beta program on April 1, 2004, and became available to the public on February 7, 2007. The service was upgraded from beta status on July 7, 2009, at which time it had 146 million users monthly. The service was the first online email service with one gigabyte of storage. It was additionally the first to keep emails from the same conversation together in one thread, similar to an Internet forum. The service offers over 15 GB of free storage, shared with additional Google Apps, with additional storage ranging from 20 GB to 16 TB available for $0.25 per 1 GB per year.
Gmail uses AJAX, a programming technique that allows web pages to be interactive without refreshing the browser. Steve Ballmer (Microsoft's former CEO), Liz Figueroa, Mark Rasch, and the editors of Google Watch have criticised the privacy of Gmail, but Google claims that mail sent to or from Gmail is never read by a human being beyond the account holder and is only used to improve relevance of advertisements.
In 2004, Google started open source software project hosting, called Google Code, which allows developers to download in-development programmes at no charge. Google Drive, another part of Google's productivity suite, allows users to create, edit, and collaborate on documents in an online environment, similar to Microsoft Word. The service was originally called Writely, but was obtained by Google on March 9, 2006, and was released as an invitation-only preview. On June 6 after the acquisition, Google created an experimental spreadsheet editing program, which was combined with Google Docs on October 10.
Google for Work is a service from Google that provides customizable enterprise versions of several Google products using a domain name provided by the customer. It features several Web applications with similar functionality to traditional office suites, including Gmail, Hangouts, Google Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Groups, News, Play, Sites, and Vault. It was the vision of Rajen Sheth, a Google employee who later developed Chromebooks.
Currently, the company is testing a travel app called "Trips".
Google Search Appliance was launched in February 2002, targeted toward providing search technology for larger organizations. Google launched the Mini three years later, which was targeted at smaller organizations. Late in 2006, Google began to sell Custom Search Business Edition, providing customers with an advertising-free window into Google.com's index. The service was renamed Google Site Search in 2008.
Google Apps allows organisations to bring Google's web application offerings, Gmail and Google Docs, into their own domains. The service is available in several editions: a basic free edition (formerly known as Google Apps Standard edition), Google Apps for Business, Google Apps for Education, and Google Apps for Government. In the same year Google Apps was launched, Google acquired Postini and proceeded to integrate the company's security technologies into Google Apps under the name Google Postini Services.
On March 15, 2016, Google announced the introduction of Google Analytics 360 Suite, "a set of integrated data and marketing analytics products, designed specifically for the needs of enterprise-class marketers." Among additional things, the suite is designed to help "enterprise class marketers" see the complete customer journey, generate useful insights, not just more data, and deliver engaging experiences to the right people. Some see the suite as competing with existing marketing cloud offerings by companies like Adobe, Oracle, Salesforce and IBM.
Google Translate is a server-side machine translation service, which can translate between 80 different languages. For a few languages, handwriting recognition, or speech recognition can be used as input, and translated text can be pronounced through speech synthesis. The software uses corpus linguistics techniques, where the programme "learns" from professionally translated documents, specifically UN and European Parliament proceedings.
Google launched its Google News service in 2002, an automated service which summarises news articles from various websites. In March 2005, Agence France Presse (AFP) sued Google for copyright infringement in federal court in the District of Columbia, a case which Google settled for an undisclosed amount in a pact that included a licence of the full text of AFP articles for use on Google News.
Google currently offers free wi-fi access in its hometown of Mountain View, California.
In 2010, Google announced the Google Fiber project, with plans to build an ultra-high-speed broadband network for 50,000 to 500,000 customers in one or more American cities. On March 30, 2011, Google announced that Kansas City, Kansas would be the first community where the new network would be deployed. In July 2012, Google completed the construction of a fiber-optic broadband Internet network infrastructure in Kansas City, and after building an infrastructure, Google announced pricing for Google Fiber. The service will offer three options including a free broadband Internet option, a 1Gbit/s Internet option for $70 per month, and a version that includes television service for $120 per month.
In 2007, reports surfaced that Google was planning the release of its own mobile phone, possibly a competitor to Apple's iPhone. The project, called Android, turned out not to be a phone but an operating system for mobile devices, which Google acquired and then released as an open source project under the Apache 2.0 license. Google provides a software development kit for developers so applications can be created to be run on Android-based phones. In September 2008, T-Mobile released the G1, the first Android-based phone. On January 5, 2010, Google released an Android phone under its own company name called the Nexus One, which spawned a number of phones and tablets under the "Nexus" branding, which a few refer to as "high-quality low-cost" devices.
A report in July 2013 stated that Google's share of the global smartphone market, led by Samsung products, was 64 percent in March 2013.
Other projects Google has worked on include a new collaborative communication service, a web browser, and a mobile operating system. The first of these was first announced on May 27, 2009. The company described Google Wave as a product that helps users communicate and collaborate on the web. The service is Google's "email redesigned", with realtime editing, the ability to embed audio, video, and additional media, and extensions that further enhance the communication experience. Google Wave was initially in a developer's preview, where interested users had to be invited to test the service, but was released to the public on May 19, 2010, at Google's I/O keynote. On September 1, 2008, Google pre-announced the upcoming availability of Google Chrome, an open source web browser, which was then released on September 2, 2008. On July 7, 2009, Google announced Google Chrome OS, an open source Linux-based operating system that includes only a web browser and is designed to log users into their Google account.
Google Goggles is a mobile application available on Android and iOS used for image recognition and non-text-based search. In addition to scanning QR codes, the app can recognise historic landmarks, import business cards, and solve Sudoku puzzles. While Goggles could originally identify people as well, Google has limited that functionality as a privacy protection.
In 2011, Google announced Google Wallet, a mobile application for wireless payments. In late June 2011, Google soft-launched a social networking service called Google+. On July 14, 2011, Google announced that Google+ had reached 10 million users just two weeks after it was launched in this "limited" trial phase. After four weeks in operation, it reached 25 million users.
At a launch event on July 24, 2013, in San Francisco, a newer version of the Nexus 7 Google tablet device was released to the public, alongside the Chromecast dongle that allows users to stream YouTube and Netflix videos via smartphones.
In 2013, Google launched Google Shopping Express, a delivery service initially available only in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
On February 3, 2014, Google released its first Chromecast SDK.
Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google. The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, or blogs—that match the user's search term.
Google Camera is a camera application developed by Google for Android. It is supported on Android 4.4 KitKat and higher versions of Android. It was released on the Google Play Store on April 16, 2014.
Project Fi enables communication across Wi-Fi and cell networks.
In August 2016, a mysterious code post on GitHub revealed that Google was developing a new operating system called "Fuchsia". No official announcement was made, but the code suggests it's a universal OS capable of running on all types of devices, "everything from dash infotainment systems for cars, to embedded devices like traffic lights and digital watches, all the way up to smartphones, tablets and PCs."
In September 2016, Google launched its Daydream virtual reality development tools. The Daydream software development kit allows developers to build VR experiences for Daydream-ready phones and headsets, and supports integration with Unity and Unreal game engines.
Google APIs are a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) developed by Google which allow communication with Google Services and their integration to additional services. Examples of these include Search, Gmail, Translate or Google Maps. Third-party apps can use these APIs to take advantage of or extend the functionality of the existing services.
Google Developers is Google's site for software development tools, APIs, and technical resources. The site contains documentation on using Google developer tools and APIs—including discussion groups and blogs for developers using Google's developer products.
Google Labs was a page created by Google to demonstrate and test new projects.
Google owns the top-level domain 1e100.net which is used for a few servers within Google's network. The name is a reference to the scientific E notation representation for 1 googol, 1E100 = 1 × 10100.
Corporate affairs and culture
On Fortune magazine's list of the best companies to work for, Google ranked first in 2007, 2008 and 2012 and fourth in 2009 and 2010. Google was additionally nominated in 2010 to be the world's most attractive employer to graduating students in the Universum Communications talent attraction index. Google's corporate philosophy includes principles such as "you can make money without doing evil," "you can be serious without a suit," and "work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun."
As of 2013, Google had 47,756 employees (in the fourth quarter, including the Motorola subsidiary), among them more than 10,000 software developers based in more than 40 offices.
After the company's IPO in 2004, founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page and CEO Eric Schmidt requested that their base salary be cut to $1. Subsequent offers by the company to increase their salaries were turned down, primarily because their main compensation continues to come from owning stock in Google. Before 2004, Schmidt made $250,000 per year, and Page and Brin each received an annual salary of $150,000.
In 2007 and early 2008, several top executives left Google. In October 2007, former chief financial officer of YouTube Gideon Yu joined Facebook along with Benjamin Ling, a high-ranking engineer. In March 2008, Sheryl Sandberg, then vice-president of global online sales and operations, began her position as chief operating officer of Facebook. At the same time, Ash ElDifrawi, formerly head of brand advertising, left to become chief marketing officer of Netshops. On April 4, 2011, Larry Page became CEO and Eric Schmidt became Executive Chairman of Google. In July 2012, Google's first female employee, Marissa Mayer, left Google to become Yahoo!'s CEO.
As a motivation technique, Google uses a policy often called Innovation Time Off, where Google engineers are encouraged to spend twenty percent of their work time on projects that interest them. Some of Google's newer services, such as Gmail, Google News, Orkut, and AdSense originated from these independent endeavors. In a talk at Stanford University, Marissa Mayer, Google's Vice President of Search Products and User Experience until July 2012, showed that half of all new product launches in the second half of 2005 had originated from the Innovation Time Off.
Office locations and headquarters
- Mountain View
Google's headquarters in Mountain View, California, is referred to as "the Googleplex", a play on words on the number googolplex and the headquarters itself being a complex of buildings. The lobby is decorated with a piano, lava lamps, old server clusters, and a projection of search queries on the wall. The hallways are full of exercise balls and bicycles. Many employees have access to the corporate recreation center. Recreational amenities are scattered throughout the campus and include a workout room with weights and rowing machines, locker rooms, washers and dryers, a massage room, assorted video games, table football, a baby grand piano, a billiard table, and ping pong. In addition to the recreation room, there are snack rooms stocked with various foods and drinks, with special emphasis placed on nutrition. Free food is available to employees 24/7, with the offerings provided by paid vending machines prorated based on and favouring those of better nutritional value.
Google's extensive amenities aren't available to all of its workers. Temporary workers such as book scanners don't have access to shuttles, Google cafes, or additional perks.
- New York City
In 2006, Google moved into 311,000 square feet (28,900 m2) of office space in New York City, at 111 Eighth Avenue in Manhattan. The office was specially designed and built for Google and houses its largest advertising sales team, which has been instrumental in securing large partnerships. The New York headquarters is similar in design and functionality to its Mountain View headquarters, and includes a game room, micro kitchens, and a video game area. As of February 2012, a significant engineering team is based in New York City. As of September 2013, Google's East Coast office is located at 76 Ninth Ave, New York City, New York.
- Other U.S. cities
By late 2006, Google established a new headquarters for its AdWords division in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In November 2006, Google opened offices on Carnegie Mellon's campus in Pittsburgh, focusing on shopping-related advertisement coding and smartphone applications and programs. Other office locations in the U.S. include Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Boulder, Colorado; Cambridge, Massachusetts; San Francisco, California; Seattle, Washington; Reston, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
In October 2006, the company announced plans to instal thousands of solar panels to provide up to 1.6 megawatts of electricity, enough to satisfy approximately thirty percent of the campus' energy needs. The system will be the largest solar power system constructed on a U.S. corporate campus and one of the largest on any corporate site in the world. In addition, Google announced in 2009 that it was deploying herds of goats to keep grassland around the Googleplex short, helping to prevent the threat from seasonal bush fires while additionally reducing the carbon footprint of mowing the extensive grounds. The idea of trimming lawns using goats originated from Bob Widlar, an engineer who worked for National Semiconductor. In 2008, Google faced accusations in Harper's Magazine of being an "energy glutton". The company was accused of employing its "Don't be evil" motto and its public energy-saving campaigns to cover up or make up for the massive amounts of energy its servers require.
On May 12, 2015, Google announced the setting up of its largest campus outside the United States in Hyderabad, India. The proposed campus can accommodate 6500 employees.
- International locations
Internationally, Google has over 70 offices outside the US, the majority of which are local corporate offices and data centers. Google additionally has regional business and sales headquarters including in Dublin (for Europe) and Singapore (for Asia-Pacific).
Google additionally has product research and development operations in cities around the world, namely Sydney (main development location of Google Maps) and London (part of Android development), as well as numerous others including Zurich, Munich, Tokyo, Tel Aviv and Hyderabad.
Since 1998, Google has been designing special, temporary alternate logos to place on their homepage intended to celebrate holidays, events, achievements and people. The first Google Doodle was in honour of the Burning Man Festival of 1998. The doodle was designed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin to notify users of their absence in case the servers crashed. Subsequent Google Doodles were designed by an outside contractor, until Larry and Sergey asked then-intern Dennis Hwang to design a logo for Bastille Day in 2000. From that point onward, Doodles have been organised and created by a team of employees termed "Doodlers".
Easter eggs and April Fools' Day jokes
Google has a tradition of creating April Fools' Day jokes. On April 1, 2000, Google MentalPlex allegedly featured the use of mental power to search the web. In 2007, Google announced a free Internet service called TiSP, or Toilet Internet Service Provider, where one obtained a connexion by flushing one end of a fiber-optic cable down their toilet. Also in 2007, Google's Gmail page displayed an announcement for Gmail Paper, allowing users to have email messages printed and shipped to them. In 2008, Google announced Gmail Custom time where users could change the time that the email was sent.
In 2010, Google changed its company name to Topeka in honour of Topeka, Kansas, whose mayor changed the city's name to Google for a short amount of time in an attempt to sway Google's decision in its new Google Fiber Project. In 2011, Google announced Gmail Motion, an interactive way of controlling Gmail and the computer with body movements via the user's webcam.
Google's services contain easter eggs, such as the Swedish Chef's "Bork bork bork," Pig Latin, "Hacker" or leetspeak, Elmer Fudd, Pirate, and Klingon as language selections for its search engine. The search engine calculator provides the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. When searching the word "recursion", the spell-checker's result for the properly spelled word is exactly the same word, creating a recursive link.
When searching for the word "anagram," meaning a rearrangement of letters from one word to form additional valid words, Google's suggestion feature displays "Did you mean: nag a ram?" In Google Maps, searching for directions between places separated by large bodies of water, such as Los Angeles and Tokyo, results in instructions to "kayak across the Pacific Ocean." During FIFA World Cup 2010, search queries including "World Cup" and "FIFA" caused the "Goooo...gle" page indicator at the bottom of every result page to read "Goooo...al!" instead.
AtGoogleTalks is a series of presentations by invited speakers sponsored by Google given at various Google offices throughout the world. The series has feature categories such as Authors@Google, Candidates@Google, Women@Google, Musicians@Google and others. For technical topics, there's Google Tech Talks (also known as EngEDU) which is dedicated to exploring areas of technology and science. Guest speakers range from present and past world leaders to little-known poets and artists. Talks range from about 40 to 70 minutes. As of February 2009, there had been over 1700 guest speakers.
Google CodeF is a career event and mentoring programme organised by Google for female undergraduate computer scientists who have foundational coding skills in at least one of C++, Java or Python. It lasts 12 weeks and consists of eight mentoring meetings held in Google's offices and virtually. The initiative aims to develop female computer scientists and increase the number of women working in the technology industry.
In 2004, Google formed the not-for-profit philanthropic Google.org, with a start-up fund of $1 billion. The mission of the organisation is to create awareness about climate change, global public health, and global poverty. One of its first projects was to develop a viable plug-in hybrid electric vehicle that can attain 100 miles per gallon. Google hired Larry Brilliant as the program's executive director in 2004, and the current director is Megan Smith.
In 2008, Google announced its "project 10100" which accepted ideas for how to help the community and then allowed Google users to vote on their favorites. After two years of silence, throughout which a large number of wondered what had happened to the program, Google revealed the winners of the project, giving a total of ten million dollars to various ideas ranging from non-profit organisations that promote education to a website that intends to make all legal documents public and online.
In 2011, Google donated 1 million euros to International Mathematical Olympiad to support the next five annual International Mathematical Olympiads (2011–2015). On July 2012, Google launched a "Legalize Love" campaign in support of gay rights.
Google uses various tax avoidance strategies. Out of the five largest American technology companies, it pays the lowest taxes to the countries of origin of its revenues. The company accomplishes this partly by licencing technology through shell subsidiaries in tax havens such as Ireland, Bermuda, the Bahamas, and the Netherlands. This has reportedly sparked a French investigation into Google's transfer pricing practices.
Following criticism of the amount of corporate taxes that Google paid in the United Kingdom, Chairman Eric Schmidt said, "It's called capitalism. We are proudly capitalistic." During the same December 2012 interview, Schmidt "confirmed that the company had no intention of paying more to the UK exchequer." In 2013, Schmidt responded to questions about taxes paid in the UK by pointing to the advertising fees Google charged UK companies as a source of economic growth.
Google Vice President Matt Brittin testified to the Public Accounts Committee of the UK House of Commons that his UK sales team made no sales and hence owed no sales taxes to the UK. In January 2016, Google reached a settlement with the UK to pay £130m in back taxes plus higher taxes in future.
Since 2007, Google has aimed for carbon neutrality in regard to its operations. Google disclosed in September 2011 that it "continuously uses enough electricity to power 200,000 homes", almost 260 million watts or about a quarter of the output of a nuclear power plant. Total carbon emissions for 2010 were just under 1.5 million metric tons, most due to fossil fuels that provide electricity for the data centers. Google said that 25 percent of its energy was supplied by renewable fuels in 2010. An average search uses only 0.3 watt-hours of electricity, so all global searches are only 12.5 million watts or five percent of the total electricity consumption by Google.
In 2007, Google launched a project centred on developing renewable energy, titled the "Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal (RE<C)" project. Notwithstanding the project was cancelled in 2014, after engineers Ross Koningstein and David Fork understood, after years of study, that "best-case scenario, which was based on our most optimistic forecasts for renewable energy, would still result in severe climate change", writing that they "came to the conclusion that even if Google and others had led the way toward a wholesale adoption of renewable energy, that switch wouldn't have resulted in significant reductions of carbon dioxide emissions".
In June 2013, The Washington Post reported that Google had donated $50,000 to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a libertarian think tank that calls human carbon emissions a positive factor in the environment and argues that global warming isn't a concern.
In July 2013, it was reported that Google had hosted a fundraising event for Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe, who has called climate change a "hoax". In 2014 Google cut ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) after pressure from the Sierra Club, major unions and Google's own scientists because of ALEC's stance on climate change and opposition to renewable energy.
In 2013, Google ranked fifth in lobbying spending, up from 213th in 2003. In 2012, the company ranked second in campaign donations of technology and Internet sections.
Google has been involved in a number of lawsuits including the High-Tech Employee Antitrust Litigation which resulted in Google being one of four companies to pay a $415 million settlement to employees.
Criticism and controversy
Google's market dominance has led to prominent media coverage, including criticism of the company over issues such as aggressive tax avoidance, search neutrality, copyright, censorship of search results and content, and privacy. Other criticisms include alleged misuse and manipulation of search results, its use of others' intellectual property, concerns that its compilation of data might violate people's privacy, and the energy consumption of its servers, as well as concerns over traditional business issues such as monopoly, restraint of trade, anti-competitive practices, and patent infringement.
Google's stated mission "to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", and the means employed to achieve it, have raised concerns among the company's critics. Much of the criticism pertains to issues that haven't yet been addressed by cyber law.
- Comparison of web search engines
- Don't Be Evil
- Google (verb)
- Google Balloon Internet
- Google Catalogs
- Google China
- Google Chrome Experiments
- Google Get Your Business Online
- Google logo
- Google Maps
- Google platform
- Google Street View
- Google tax
- Google Ventures – venture capital fund
- Google X
- Life sciences division of Google X
- Googlebot – web crawler
- List of Google apps for Android
- List of Google domains
- List of mergers and acquisitions by Google
- Apple, Inc.
- Outline of Google