Google becomes a teenager as it celebrates it’s 13th birthday with a Google doodle. Expect tantrums & arguments followed by long periods of them ignoring you.
Yes, the company that has changed the way we live life and consume information has just become a teenager.
It seems only yesterday that people were asking “what’s Google?”, in fact it was and I had to explain to my mother that the term is a play on the mathematical term googol (1 followed by 100 zeros).
I went on to explain that Google owns the way people find information and has done pretty much since it first officially came to market in 1998/9.
It has made most of it’s money through advertising, but now has it’s fingers in so many segments of the economy that it is practically impossible to avoid them.
Google was officially incorporated in September 1998 by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
Thanks to the Internet Archive, we can revisit those early days as if we had a time machine (which is looking more possible than ever before by the way, see here Einstein we have a problem).
Here is the Google homepage from November 1998, then hosted at google.stanford.edu but pointed to by google.com
At the time it all ran on hardware including, for the techies out there: (quotes captured by the internet archive in 1998, sadly the pictures were not captured so you will have to use your imagination)
“These are both 300 MHz Dual Pentium II Servers with 512MB of RAM. There are 9 9G drives between the two machines. The main search used to run on them. These were donated by Intel.”
This is an IBM donated F50 IBM RS6000 with 4 processors and 512MB of memory. It has 8 9G drives internal.
The left box has 3 9G drives, and there are 6 4G drives on the right (the original storage for Backrub). These are attached to our Sun Ultra II.
This IBM disk expansion box has another 8 9G drives. This was donated by IBM.
This is our faithful Sun Ultra II with dual 200MHz processors, and 256MB of RAM. This was the main machine for the original Backrub system.
This is our homemade disk box which contains 10 9G SCSI drives.
Google’s teenage years may be a it’s most difficult yet as it starts to face anti competitive investigations in Europe. It takes on Facebook in the social arena and Apple in the mobile arena as well as a brewing mobile patent war.
It will be interesting where Google will be for it’s sweet 16 in 3 years time.