eWEEK at 30: Google Rises From Search Startup to Web Service Behemoth
eWEEK 30: Google started as a search engine company in 1998 amid a sea of competitors. Today, it is the leading ad revenue machine and it's determined to challenge the likes of Amazon.com in cloud computing.When Google celebrated its 15th birthday in September, it held a media event in the Menlo Park, Calif., garage that was originally rented in 1998 for $1,700 a month as the company's first headquarters. Things have certainly changed for the company in the intervening years since its garage days. The company's history so far has been marked by a rapid succession of remarkable milestones as noted on Google's corporate timeline. When Google first went live, it was a bare bones search engine startup with a starkly simple home page and two young founders with a dream of building a better way to search the Internet. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford University in 1995, and by the following year, they had created a search engine "that used links to determine the importance of individual Web pages," according to the company's Website. That search engine originally was named "BackRub." Later, Page and Brin named it Google, which was a play on the word "googol," the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. In 2000, a watershed event occurred within the small but rapidly growing company when it introduced Google AdWords, which offered a way for advertisers to create and establish online ad campaigns. AdWords were the start of the revenue growth at Google.
The introduction of Google's free email service, Gmail, happened on April Fools' Day in 2004, which was followed that August by Google's Initial Public Offering, when investors snapped up 19.6 million shares of Class A common stock, which was a strikingly small number of shares, especially by today's IPO standards.