10 years ago today, two Stanford University students called Larry Page and Sergey Brin applied for incorporation of a company with the odd-sounding name of Google. The application was accepted two days later, on September 7th, 1998. Since then, the pair have become billionaires, and the name Google is one almost everyone in the world will have heard of.
Not only are the co-founders incredibly wealthy from the success of Google, but the company itself is also hugely profitable, with the quarter between April and June of this year seeing a turnover of $5.7bn, $1.25bn of which was net profit.
Google started out as a company wholly dedicated to enabling an easier way for people to search the Web, but is now one of the most successful technology companies, and offers a range of products far beyond engineering the most simple and honest search engine in existence.
Not that the simplicity of the Google search engine should be seen as a bad thing. After all, people now don’t search the Web, they Google it, and the algorithm to search the Internet and organise the results in the most user-friendly way has revolutionised the Web.
Google has had a mightily impressive first 10 years, going from being just the kernel of an idea between two undergraduates to being a company ranking alongside such giants as Microsoft, Yahoo, and Apple. The New York Times has a brilliant set of comparisons between where Google is at now and where Microsoft was at the same age.
Google has come a long way in its first decade, but there is surely much more to come. According to BBC News, the trio in charge of Google, CEO Eric Schmidt, and co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have made a pact to stay together for at least 20 years, meaning the company is likely to go from strength to strength over the course of the next decade or more.
While search is still the backbone of the company’s success, Google is also reaching out to other segments of the technology world. There’s Android, the mobile phone platform, Chrome, its new cloud computing-style Web browser, and a whole range of applications wrapped up in Google Apps which could help revolutionise the way we all organise and share content on the Internet.
Google has had a very short but fruitful past so far, but I, for one, am convinced its future is likely to be long and even more fruitful. I just wish I’d bought shares in the company in 1998.