Over 25 years ago, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were Stanford PhD students brainstorming in their dorm room when they conceived a novel idea – building an internet search engine that could analyze relationships between websites to better organize and rank results.
What started as a student research project called BackRub would grow into one of the most influential and profitable companies ever – Google. Today, Google’s ubiquitous products like Search and Gmail are used by billions worldwide, and co-founders Page and Brin are among the wealthiest people on earth.
Let’s revisit some pivotal moments that shaped the tech giant we know today.
1995 – BackRub Search Engine Conceived at Stanford
In 1995, Stanford PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin first conceptualized an internet search engine called BackRub.
1998 – Renamed Google Gets First Funding
After renaming the project to Google, Page and Brin secured their first major funding in 1998 – a $100,000 investment from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim.
1999 – $25M Funding Round, Origin of “Googlers” Term
A year later, Google announced a $25 million round from top VC firms, marking a key growth milestone. The announcement also introduced “Googlers” as the term for employees.
2000 – Yahoo Deal Makes Google Default Search Engine
In 2000, Google became Yahoo’s default search engine under a key partnership deal. This exponentially expanded Google’s reach and influenced its path to dominance.
2004 – Gmail Beta Launch, Successful IPO
Google disrupted webmail in 2004 with the invite-only beta test of Gmail, offering an immense 1GB of free storage. Later that year, Google’s IPO at $85 per share valued the company at $23 billion.
2005 – Acquisitions of Android and YouTube
Google acquired mobile OS startup Android in 2005, laying the foundation for its smartphone revolution. In 2006, the $1.65B purchase of YouTube kicked off Google’s pivot to video.
2008 – Chrome Browser, First Android Phone Debut
2008 marked the launch of both the Chrome web browser and Android mobile OS, with the first phone – the T-Mobile G1 – unveiled that year. This marked Google’s expansion beyond just search and ads.
2015 – Alphabet Formed as Parent Company
In 2015, Google restructured by forming parent company Alphabet, which separated core businesses like search from riskier “Other Bets.” Sundar Pichai succeeded Page as Google CEO.
2023 – Chatbot Bard Launches Amid AI Race
After layoffs, Google recently entered the AI chatbot race by previewing Bard to counter ChatGPT hype. However, factual errors in Bard’s demo highlighted challenges in generative AI.
Today, Google remains one of tech’s most influential forces, though faces new scrutiny over its power. But the company’s culture of bold innovation persists from its dorm room beginnings.