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Google Turns 21: A Look Back At The Popular Search Engine

Raise a glass to Google, it’s finally old enough to drink. The popular search engine celebrated its 21st birthday Friday. In its lifetime, the tech giant has gone from a viral startup that quickly became the best way to look up info online to a behemoth corporation that affects so much of daily life (some say too much.)

It has made its mark on the world’s pop culture, survived financial set backs, and it even had a verb named after it. (Seriously, Google it!)

Here’s a timeline of the firm’s biggest moments as it grew year by year:

Birth: Brilliant geeks Larry Page and Sergey Brin launched the startup in September 1998, armed with $100,000 in startup cash. It’s named after the coding term googol, meaning a 1 followed by 100 zeros. They soon move into their pal Susan Wojcicki’s garage in Menlo Park, California, and snapped up the domain name google.com.

1st year: With more than 16 employees, the company outgrows the garage and moves into a real office in Palo Alto, California, in 1999.

2nd year: No longer in diapers, Google puts on its big-boy pants and becomes the world’s largest search engine in 2000. It begins advertising and launches in roughly a dozen other languages, including French, German and Italian.

3rd year: The now-iconic green Versace dress worn by J Lo to the Grammys, inspires honchos to launch Google Image Search. So many people want a peek at the pop queen’s steamy jungle-print gown, honchos reportedly created the tool, which was released with 250 million images in 2001.

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4th year: Google News hits the web in 2002, helping users to find up-to-date articles worldwide.

Brin, Sergey - Google-Gründer - mit seinem Partner Larry Page (r)

6th year: The company has a major growth spurt as Google goes public, with shares selling for just $85 a pop in 2004. (As of its 21st birthday a share of Google was worth $1,233 — meaning you’re now $114,800 richer if you bought 100 shares back then.)

Gmail also launches on April Fool’s Day the same year, as a free, invitation-only email service.

7th year: Google maps goes live with some glitches in 2005.

8th year: The term “google” officially becomes a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2006.

The same year, Google honchos make a handshake deal to snap up YouTube.com over a plate of mozzarella sticks at Denny’s. “We didn’t want to meet at offices,” YouTube co-founder Steven Chen said, according to Techcrunch.com, “so we were like, ‘Where’s a place that none of us would go?” Google acquired the major video site for $1.65 billion less than a week later.

9th year: In 2007, Google straps massive cameras a fleet of cars and dispatches them into the streets for the launch of Google Street View. It allows users to see storefronts and street-scapes, but sparks some controversy over privacy issues.

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10th year: Google releases the speedy, minimalist web browser Chrome in 2008.

Sundar Pichai, senior vice president of

12th year: Here come the growing pains. The company’s first mobile phone, the Nexus One, hits the shelves in 2010. But, ultimately, it’s no iPhone.

15th year: Google unveils its much-buzzed-about “Google Glass” headset, which features see-through lenses that display everything from text messages to videos and maps in 2013. The beta glasses are released to a test group, but the $1,500 gadget is less popular than a pimple-faced teen. It’s scrapped by the company.

18th year: Google’s voice-activated home assistant, Google Home — a gadget meant to rival Amazon Alexa — hits the shelves in 2016.

19th year: The European Union hits Google with a record $2.9 billion antitrust fine for allegedly giving its own shopping service more play in online searches.

21st year: The company celebrates its big 2-1 with an image of colorful confetti on its homepage and by offering 21% discounts on products in Europe.

Source: Nypost

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