Google Commemoration Day
annually on September 7th
History & Culture
Science & Technology
"Okay, Google, when is your birthday?" "September 7 is my birthday and it is known as Google Commemoration Day!" Today we celebrate the multinational technology company Google. Starting out as just a search engine, Google now offers many other services. Google.com is the most-visited website in the world, receiving billions of requests every day.
In January 1996, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Ph.D. students at Stanford University, started a research project where they built a search engine, which put them on the path to the founding of Google. They came up with an algorithm they called PageRank, which analyzed relationships among websites; it determined the relevance of a website based on the number of links to other sites it had. This contrasted with many other search engines of the time, which determined the relevance of a page based on the number of times a search term appeared on it. The original name for the search engine was "BackRub," because it looked at "back links" to determine how important a site was. They eventually changed their name to Google, which is a misspelling of the word "googol," which stands for the number 1 with 100 zeros after it. This was picked to illustrate how Google would provide a lot of information, and how information on the internet is endless.
Page and Brin registered their domain name on September 15, 1997. After raising about $1,000,000 from investors, they incorporated and opened shop in a room attached to a garage in Menlo Park, California, on September 7, 1998. The date has become Google Commemoration Day, although some sources say incorporation actually took place on September 4. At the time, Google was in beta mode, and the search engine was answering about 10,000 search queries a day. That December, PC Magazine named it one of the top website and search engines of the year.
Early in 1999, Google moved its offices to Palo Alto, California. The search engine was answering about 500,000 search queries a day, and the company had upgraded to a staff of eight. Later in the year, investors brought more than $25 million in additional funding. Staff continued to grow and notable people from other leading tech companies were brought in.
In 2003, Google moved its headquarters to Mountain View, California, to a campus that became known as the Googleplex. They originally leased the campus but purchased it in 2006. It became known for its informal atmosphere and inventive style. For example, exercise balls were utilized as chairs, and it had an open concept, without cubicles. By the time they had moved in, Google was answering over 3 million queries a day. Googleplex is still Google's main office, although they now have offices elsewhere around the world as well.
By 2000, Google became the largest search engine in the world. There have been continued improvements and growth in staff since. On August 19, 2004, an initial public offering (IPO) of Google took place. In 2006, the word "google" was added to the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary, with the definition: "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet."
Over time, the company grew from being a search engine (Google Search), to encompass much more, with other services such as Google Docs, Google Slides, Google Sheets, Gmail, Google Photos, Google Calendar, Google Drive, Hangouts, and Google Maps. Google developed the Android mobile operating system, Google Chrome, and Chrome OS. They created hardware such as Nexus, the Google Home smart speaker, and the Google Pixel smartphone. They also bought YouTube. In 2015, corporate restructuring led to the creation of Alphabet Inc., and Google became its largest subsidiary. Throughout the years, Google has faced some criticism for censorship, search neutrality, privacy concerns, tax avoidance, and antitrust violations. Nonetheless, there is much that Google has accomplished and much they have to offer, and we celebrate them today!
How to Observe Google Commemoration Day
Celebrate the day by "googling" things using the Google website, or use some other Google services or products. Some other ideas for the day could be to browse old Google Doodles or to visit Googleplex. You could also read a book about Google.