Google is a multinational corporation from the United States of America. It is known for creating and running one of the largest search engines; every day more than a billion people use it. Google’s headquarters (known as the “Googleplex”) are in Mountain View, California. The current motto of Google is “Do the right thing” – it used to be “Don’t be evil”.
Since the 2nd of September 2015, Google has been owned by a holding company called Alphabet Inc, which has controls some of Google’s projects, such as its driverless cars. The company is public and it trades on the NASDAQ under the tickers GOOG and GOOGL.
Google’s search engine can find pictures, videos, news, and enable us to shop online. By June 2004, Google had 4.28 billion web pages on its database, 880 million pictures and 845 million Usenet messages — six billion things. It is so widely known that people sometimes use the word “google” as a verb that means “to search for something on Google”.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students at Stanford University started BackRub in early 1996. They transformed it into Google Inc., on September 7, 1998 at a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California. In February 1999, the company relocated to 165 University Ave., Palo Alto, California, and then moved to another place called the Googleplex.
In September 2001, Google’s rating system (PageRank, for saying which information is more helpful) got a U.S. Patent. The patent was to Stanford University, with Lawrence (Larry) Page as the inventor (the person who first had the idea).
Google makes money by advertising. People or companies who want people to buy their product, service, or ideas give Google money, and Google shows an advertisement to people Google thinks will click on the advertisement. Google only gets money when people click on the link, so it tries to know as much about people as possible to only show the advertisement to the “right people”. It does this with Google Analytics, which sends data back to Google whenever someone visits a web site. From this and other data, Google makes a profile about the person, which it then uses to figure out which advertisements to target them with.
As per its 2017 Annual report, Google generates most of its revenues from advertising. This includes sales of apps, purchases made in-app, digital content products on google and YouTube, android and licensing and service fees, including fees received for Google Cloud offerings. 46% of this was from clicks (cost per clicks), amounting to US$109,652 million in 2017. This includes three principal methods, namely AdMob, AdSense (such as AdSense for Content, AdSense for Search, etc.) and DoubleClick AdExchange.
For the 2006 fiscal year, the company reported $10.492 billion in total advertising revenues and only $112 million in licensing and other revenues. In 2011, 96% 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’s main service is its search engine, which is the most used search engine of the world. This service works as it follows: Google indexes billions of web pages to allow users to search for the information they desire through the use of keywords and operators. According to comScore market research from November 2009, Google Search is the dominant search engine in the United States market, with a market share of 65.6%. In May 2017, Google enabled a new “Personal” tab in Google Search, letting users search for content in their Google accounts’ various services, including email messages from other services such as Gmail and photos from Google Photos.
To complement its search engine, Google has been launching a whole array of complementary services. For example, 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 Ads allows advertisers to display their advertisements in the Google content network, through a cost-per-click 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 program 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. Google Search Console (rebranded from Google Webmaster Tools in May 2015) allows webmasters to check the sitemap, crawl rate, and for security issues of their websites, as well as optimize their website’s visibility.
Similarly, Google offers Gmail for email, Google Calendar for time-management and scheduling, Google Maps for mapping, navigation and satellite imagery, Google Drive for cloud storage of files, Google Docs, Sheets and Slides for productivity, Google Photos for photo storage and sharing, Google Keep for note-taking, Google Translate for language translation, YouTube for video viewing and sharing, Google My Business for managing public business information, and Duo for social interaction. In March 2019, Google unveiled a cloud gaming service named Stadia.
As a software developer, Google develops the Android mobile operating system, as well as its smartwatch, television, car, and Internet of things-enabled smart devices variations. It also develops the Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome OS, an operating system based on Chrome.
Possibly more than any other big company, Google work to open doors in developing countries, in order to give people there access to information on as much a free a basis as possible.
The company has offices in over 60 countries worldwide, and the majority of its search results are served to non-US customers.
Google Search is accessible in over 130 different languages, while Google Translate translations can be manually advanced by global readers to give a better version of the text than would be possible through automated translation.
This is making sure every web page – despite its original language – is accessible to web users worldwide, enabling all countries and nationalities to access knowledge and information.
The web has often been described as the opponent of traditional journalism. Print news publications found it difficult to compete with real-time ‘news’ via social networks and to compete with bloggers who do not face the same harsh editorial guidelines.
A few years ago, Google took some serious steps towards overcoming that through its journalism scheme. 8 students out of 2,300 applicants were picked for fellowships at seven different organisations with links to journalism: research centres, training facilities, or action groups that strive to protect investigative journalists while they carry out real-world investigations.
The scheme was so popular, Google had to lengthen the application review period by a week, and received an application every two minutes on the last day of the deadline; the accepted students will also spend a week working at Google, and learn about how the worlds of journalism and technology can overlap in the years to come.
Google’s self-driving cars still need to be perfected; there have been accidents involving them, so it is going to take more time. However, the technology is out there and it is being improved as we speak.
One can see that Google is not just a search engine; it is a very innovative company that is making real world impact.
Some of the practices used by Google have become a reason for controversy, such as the unclear way of obtaining and storing data on individual users or the allegation of supporting censorship on the Internet.
In the People’s Republic of China, Google, along with other large IT companies, complied with restrictions imposed by the government in exchange for market access. These restrictions include blocking access to undesirable websites for Chinese citizens (e.g. related to the protests at the Heavenly Peace Square in 1989, websites supporting independence movements in Tibet or Taiwan). These actions were interpreted by some activists as grossly contrary to the principle of don’t be evil. On January 12, 2010, the company announced on its official blog that it no longer intends to censor search results in the Chinese version of its search engine.
In 2007, the Christian Institute accused Google of discriminating against Christian organizations and the principles of ideological freedom expressed in the British Act of 2006 for refusing to place paid advertisements on its pro-life websites. The ads would appear after entering “abortion”. Google argued that its policy prohibits advertising and promoting websites that link religion with issues such as abortion. The case ended in September 2008 with the settlement and withdrawal of Google from the position held.
Dining out and technology solutions platform Dineout announced on the 1st of October 2019 that it has partnered with Google to elevate user experiences by adding more features to their navigation engine – Google maps. Dineout said with search, users now have more actions to explore within Google Maps by discovering dining out options near them, choosing from the available offers at restaurants and also reserve a table for their preferred time and date.
“Our association with Google maps is a milestone for us and brings us one step closer to providing seamless dining out experience along with empowering restaurants to be tech-enabled in India. With their help, we are co-creating an ecosystem which will help two of our biggest stakeholders- consumers and restaurants at multiple levels. Understanding the demand of visual representation and easy accessibility, we plan to offer a seamless, more convenient and enjoyable experience to our consumers. Keeping our stakeholders on the forefront of this partnership, we plan to integrate this seamlessly into Google maps on desktop and mobile”, said Ankit Mehrotra, CEO and co-founder, Dineout.