Google is 14 years old today and truly stepping into its teenage years. Who would have thought that we would be celebrating the birthday of a search engine company a decade ago? But here we are, baking multi-color cakes and blowing out candles to celebrate the company that became a verb in almost every civilised language on earth.
Google started its life as the Stanford brainchild of Larry and Sergey. They lovingly called it BackRub because let’s face it, that’s where babies come from. BackRub became Google one late night after too many double espresso’s and some bad math jokes.
Baby steps for Google
SEO expert Richard “Richie, Rich, Dick, Richie Rich, Rick, Ricky” Wojcicki still remembers Google’s first steps. “They (Google) were moving from a garage to their very first office in Palo Alto, California, back in ’99 when I first started taking note of them after reading an article in PC Magazine”. The first steps quickly led to rapid growth.
Google was walking, talking and on solid food so quickly they had to appoint a chef. They taught it Klingon and 72 other languages, made it remember 250 million images and 2 billion web documents. You try remembering the entire Internet. It’s flipping hard!
Outgrowing the sandpit
2004 marked the year that Google got too big for its clothes and had to start wearing a Googleplex outfit that houses more than 800 people. It also started attending school and was progressing faster than all the other search engine kids in the class. It didn’t take long for Google to be the lonely kid in the schoolyard doing long division for fun behind the bike shed. It tried to play nice with its peers, but if you are the smartest kid you know, it’s tough to make friends.
In 5th grade, Google really got into mapping. It was making maps of everything, even the moon. Google’s 5th grade teacher remembers the search engine running around taking pictures of everything. It started with taking pictures from high up. Standing on the jungle gym, the roof, pretty much any high structure. Continuing to dabble in photography, Google started taking 100’s of photos while driven around in a car. Stitching all the photos together Google mumbled on about something called “Street View”. We were all a little bit worried because it seemed more like stalking, but it all worked out in the end.
Double digits, double growth
When Google turned 10 we started seeing the signs. There were very little teenage tendencies in the beginning. A few April Fool’s Day pranks seemed to be the worst of it. We should have been more concerned about the massive video collection that was piling up though.
“We should have seen the signs” says Larry. It started innocently with a mobile device and something called Android. Now Google is on the phone all the time, playing Angry Birds and connecting with its friends on Google +. “We can’t have a normal conversation anymore. We thought we were prepared for the teenage years. We read the books, went to the classes but it just happened so quickly.” laments Sergey.
The teenage tendencies didn’t stop there. Google wanted to start driving, socialising more and going to parties. “We are now in the crazy moods and hormones stage” says Larry. One day Google has a Panda obsession and the next day it has a Penguin obsession. “We can’t really keep up at this point. Nothing seems good enough. One day you are number one, the next day you don’t exist.” said Sergey.
Larry and Sergey hope that things level out over the next few years. Overall Google is extremely intelligent, well behaved, has great ideas and is always trying to be faster and smarter. Happy Birthday Google. We look forward to watching your genius blossom.
Renier van Schalkwyk is a self-professed gadget lover and part-time geek. Working for Drive South Africa Renier is the IT Manager and Scrum Master of the in-house development team. In his spare time Renier is an amateur radio presenter and enjoys volunteering at his local church.