Marking 20(ish) years of Google
It’s September 1998. Aerosmith is wailing “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” at the top of the Billboard Top 100. “TRL” debuts on MTV, just in time for the release of “Baby One More Time.” Buffy Summers is staking vampires in platform sandals. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa are trying to out-bash each other for the home run record. “The Avengers” has just bombed at box offices. And sometime this month, Google is born.
The exact date of our company’s founding is up for debate, even for those of us who are in the business of providing answers. Google Inc. was incorporated on September 4, but for more than a decade we’ve celebrated our birthday on September 27—with an annual Doodle, of course.
Twenty years later, the world has changed, online and off. Answers—and high-resolution photos, car rides, commerce, and messages from friends and family—are all on our phones, at our fingertips. “The Avengers,” and strappy platforms, are back.
Google has changed, too. Starting with Search, we now have seven products that are used by more than a billion people every month. Instead of a handful of employees in a Menlo Park garage, we have tens of thousands of employees and offices in nearly 60 countries. And even Google is now part of Alphabet, our parent company created in 2015. We’ve also had our fair share of adventures along the way, like when we lost a snake in our New York office, introduced our new email product on April Fools Day, or—this one's close to my heart—launched a blog during the quiet period leading up to our IPO.
What hasn’t changed is our mission: To organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Walk into any Google office around the world and you're bound to find people debating an ambitious idea that might sound crazy—but also might become the next Android or Maps. We're still pushing the boundaries of available technologies, particularly AI. And we're still dedicated first and foremost to the user—to building products for everyone. To providing people the information they need, wherever they are—whether it’s to help them start a business, learn something new, or connect with each other.
As we mark our 20th birthday this month, we'll be spending some time looking back on what we've accomplished in the past two decades—starting today with the 10th birthday of Chrome—and where we're headed next. We don't have all the answers yet, but you know us: We'll never stop searching.