50 Fascinating Facts About Google You Probably Don’t Know
Google is the most visited website on the planet, but you already knew that, right? However, do you know that Google does 65k+ searches every second? And it is not the only fascinating fact about Google — it has many less-known facts and secrets that are hardly widely known. Do you want to know? Dive in.
I am surprised by the fact that we use Google to search a ton of information every day, and yet we know so little about it. That is why, in this post, I am going to share my findings with you. I have arranged this post in sections to help you quickly browse or switch to read your favorite facts.
Google and its History
1. Google’s initial name was “BackRub“, referring to its underlying algorithm of checking backlinks when its founders began working on their search engine in 1995. They decided to turn its name to “Google!” in 1997.
2. Google acquires its name from the word “googol“ — a mathematical term representing one followed by 100 zeros. It signifies the search engine’s capacity to offer access to the enormous information over the Internet.
4. Stanford University holds the patent to “PageRank“, the algorithm of Google, which is a method to measure the importance of a site. Google handed it over 1.8 million shares of its company to gain the exclusive rights of the patent.
5. Sun Microsystems co-founder, Andy Bechtolsheim, was the first investor of Google, who initially invested $100k in Google during August 1998.
6. The Original Google Storage, i.e., the first storage of Google, was built of 10 4GB hard drives cased using Legos, totaling to 40GB. It was used to store the search engine’s indexed data during the early days of Google.
7. Google launched its first homepage in 1998 with an exclamation mark like that of “Yahoo!” after a year of registering its domain name “google.com”.
8. Google’s first doodle was a stick figure drawing placed behind the second ‘o’ of “Google” indicating the “out of office” message on the day of “Burning Man Festival”. It was published on August 30, 1998, on Google’s homepage.
9. MentalPlex, the mind reading ability to search, was the Google’s first hoax for April Fools’ Day. It invited users to stare at an animated image and asked them to project a mental picture of what they wish to search on Google.
11. Yahoo! declined Google’s offer for infusion of cash, and later in 2002, Yahoo! wanted to buy it for $3 billion, but this time, Google refused it.
12. Google’s first tweet was “I’m Feeling Lucky” in the binary code, which is the two-symbol (0 and 1) data representation system used in computers.
14. Google’s team of designers and illustrators have produced more than 2000 doodles for Google’s homepage since its first launch in August 1998.
Google and its Parent
15. Alphabet Inc. is the parent company of Google, which was founded in 2015 with the desire to separate its web services business from its other ambitious companies. Its name speaks of “alpha” as “an investment that returns above the benchmark”, suggesting the company as a great opportunity.
16. Alphabet Inc. is a public holding company with “abc.xyz” as its website. Its founders did not have much of a choice because “alphabet.com” was taken, so they ended up with “abc.xyz”. I find it is a good domain name for a company named “Alphabet” as alphabets run from “a, b, c, …” to “x, y, and z”.
17. The company’s unofficial slogan “Don’t be evil” was the motto of its code of conduct until 2015, when it was replaced by “Do the right thing” by its parent company Alphabet, but retained as is in Google’s code of conduct.
18. Alphabet along with its subsidiary company, Google, has done as many as 214 acquisitions since 2001 up to 2017, averaging to a company a month.
19. Alphabet holds various subsidiary companies including Nest Labs, AdMob, DoubleClick, Kaggle, Crashlytics, Dropcam, Xively, and many more.
21. The market value of Alphabet’s share has seen a significant rise from near to $50 to greater than $1000 (in 2018) since August 2004.
22. The total revenue of Alphabet crossed $100 billion ($110 billion) in 2017 — the first time in the company’s history of 20 years.
24. Alphabet spent around $13.9 billion on R&D (Research and Development) activities during the year of 2017, making it rank second to Amazon.
25. Google ranked #1 place to work for six consecutive years from 2012 to 2017 (as well as in 2007 and 2008), meaning eight times in 11 years on the Fortune’s Best Companies to Work For since 2007 up until 2017.
26. foo.bar is a secret hiring tool that Google uses to recruit developers and programmers with superb coding skills. The tool presents itself as a game to its users, asking them to solve coding challenges of growing difficulty.
27. The new employees at Google are known as “Nooglers”, short for “New Googlers”. They are easily recognizable, thanks to their multi-colored hats.
28. Google encourages its employees to work on their side projects — as much as 20% of their time. I cannot say, but it was worth the risk — AdSense, Google News, Gmail, and even Orkut are the results of this policy.
Google and its Empire
29. Google along with its many services rank among the “Top Sites” per Alexa, a third-party web metrics company. That said, YouTube follows Google to rank second, and Google’s Indian version ranks ninth on the list.
30. Google receives and processes over 3.5+ billion search requests per day, which is equivalent to 1.2 trillion searches per year.
31. The word “google” acquired a place in the Oxford Dictionaries English as a verb, meaning “Search for information about (someone or something) on the Internet using the search engine Google“.
32. “Google knows more about you than your mother“, said Kevin Bankston, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in 2009.
33. Google regained its position of being the default search engine for Mozilla Firefox in 2017. It replaced Yahoo, which was paying a heavy sum of $375 million a year, per Bloomberg. Although the exact amount is not yet known, one can easily guess that Google must have offered much more than Yahoo.
34. Google has a technology-driven philanthropic arm, Google.org, that hosts various initiatives and projects (like Khan Academy) to create an impact in the sectors of “Education, Economic Opportunity and Inclusion“.
Google and its Spaces
35. Google’s first office space was a rented garage in Menlo Park, California.
36. Google has more than 70 offices spanning across 50 countries.
37. Google offices host food very near to Googlers, thanks to the announcement by Sergey Brin that “no one should be more than 200 feet away from food“.
38. Google is a pioneer of stylish workspaces with innovative decorations, thus breaking the stereotypic cubic-style office spaces to spark creativity.
39. 100 to 250 of Gbikes go missing from the campus every week. These are the multi-colored bicycles meant for the use of employees at Google.
40. Google officially rented a herd of goats in 2009 to mow grass fields on its campus at its headquarters in Mountain View, California.
42. Google claims itself to be a “dog company” and notifies “cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out“.
43. The skeletal structure of Stan, a T-Rex dinosaur, standing at the Google’s head office is the inspiration behind the “Dino Run” game, which is accessible on Google Chrome when it detects the user is offline.
44. Google’s head office displays various structures painted in Google colorslike a spaceship, a Lego figure, Android statues, phone boxes, etc.
Google and its Services
45. Google services faced global outage for 5 minutes in 2013, which lead to a surprising drop of 40% of the worldwide internet traffic.
47. Google offers its homepage in some geeky languages — “Bork, bork, bork!”, Hacker, Pirate, and more including a secret language — “Pig Latin”. The reason being is to have hidden easter eggs to amuse its users.
48. Google has many easter eggs — comical features or messages — hidden into its products. These are incorporated to provide better engagement to its users. For example, google for “askew”, and you will see the below screen.
49. Google Translate, the language translation tool from Google, supports over 100 languages — more than any other tool.
50. Google Street View, the favorite feature of Google Maps, has panoramic views of many popular streets of the world, for which, its cars have driven more than five million miles (per an announcement made in 2012).