Google - innovation, disruption and still making the world a better place
In just 12 years two people have revolutionised the world and how we search for information.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford University as students where they started to develope a search engine, the original name was ‘BackRub’, but in September,1998 they incorporated Google, a name that has now crept into the English language.
Why Google? Well, apparently it originated from a misspelling of the word “googol” the mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros.
So, what is Google? The company’s stated aims are “to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” and most people wouldn’t disagree with this as after a very short time (even for silicon valley), it now receives several hundred million queries a day, and to many it is the only source of information from train timetables, how to boil an egg to the best way to split the atom.
Is this a good thing? Well, it’s not a monopoly as there are other rival search engines – Yahoo, Alta Vista and Bing among others – but some people are worried about the dominance of Google. So much so that some have said that they believe that ‘…Google is a deceptive corporation composed of a massive group of technological geniuses on a conspiratorial vocation to take over and destroy the biological world’ and ‘…is destined to soon become the next world power’.
Sounds a little dramatic, especially for a corporation with an unofficial slogan of ‘Don’t be evil’, but clearly any large multinational the size and influence of Google is bound to have its critics and sometimes create controversy. Its Google Books – an attempt to digitalise every book in the world – which has outraged some nations, especially the French government, and its relationship with the Chinese government is often unpredictable.
But Google continues to innovate and acquire with a long list of products that have are now used by millions including gmail, Google Earth, Google Translate, Picasa, Chrome and YouTube as well as the Google Analytics, Adsense and Adwords. Only last week they launched Nexus to rival the iPhone.
So what about the future? Will Google continue to dominate – an unstoppable behemouth in the digital world – with its almost limitedless financial resources?
With the appointment of the steady hand of Eric Schmidt as CEO in 2001 many say the future looks more secure. He is ‘the future’ of Google and is the darling of investors and shareholders alike.
In a recent interview he candidly admitted:
“We suffer [because] we are global, we touch a lot of things, we are disruptive, and we operate in information and people have a lot of opinions on that. I don’t think that will change. I think we have adapted to the role that we now play in the information industry that the role is one of innovation, disruption and still making the world a better place.”
Sounds good. Time to google?