Google’s 20th Anniversary
THE WEB’S FAVOURITE SEARCH ENGINE HAS HITS THE BIG TWO-0– BUT WHERE NEXT FOR SEARCH, AND THE COMPANY?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, BIG guy! Google is 20 years old. Or maybe, depending on your definition, closer to 22. The company formally incorporated in late 1998, although the initial seeds of the search engine were planted in January 1996 when creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin created a research project (then dubbed ‘BackRub’) at Stanford University. From that simple project – which concentrated on ranking pages based on the number of other pages that linked to them – grew the world’s largest search engine, which now (along with the rest of Google’s many side projects) consists of two billion lines of code, all accessible to the company’s 25,000 engineers, and an overall catalogue of somewhere in the region of 130 trillion individual pages – that’s an astonishing number.
THE FUTURE FOR GOOGLE
It’s fair to say that growth of Google revolutionised search, which was based on manually populated indexes and somewhat unreliable search engines before its algorithm came along, and nobody has come close since. Even Microsoft’s own search engine, Bing, hasn’t been able to gain the same kind of traction: as of April 2018, Google maintains an 86% share of the search market, compared to Bing’s 6% Google has also been responsible for advances in security, in web email (Gmail), in online video (YouTube), and its now-parent company, Alphabet, is working on advances in robotics, healthcare, and more.
So what does Google do next? In a word, nothing. Its algorithm – the code that determines how pages are ranked – is constantly being tweaked and improved to sidestep websites that game the system, meaning the quality of its results continues to improve. Disrupting the status quo that has put Google on top of the search world wouldn’t make sense.