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The Google Story

- CORPORATE HISTORY - Authors - David A. Vise and Mark Malseed.

Google holds an insurmountable reputation in the search engine industry. Google is an American firm based out of Mountain View in California. Google’s founders are two intellectuals of Stanford University who started up this project in January 1996.Their mission to organize world’s information. Larry Page and Sergey Brin started this company on 7 September 1998 at the Silicon Valley boom time for startup companies.

Their business model was quite simple. They hypothesized that a search engine that analyzed the relationships between websites would produce better results than existing techniques, which ranked results according to the number of times the search term appeared on a page. Initially they used the local domain at Stanford University. Later they incorporated Google Inc. at a friend’s garage in Menlo Park, California. Later Andy Bechtolsheim one of the founders of Sun Microsystems helped with initial investment that amounted to dollar 1.1 million and after meeting the Google guys he was so impressed that he simply wrote them a cheque of dollar 100,000.

Innovation at Google comes from its people. Google has a policy to allow its people 20 percent of their time to pursue their independent projects. These independent projects which harnesses employees passion and drive leads to 2.5 x greater productivity. Page and Brin insist that all engineers in the company have one day a week to work on their own pet projects. An ideas mailing list is open to anyone at Google who wants to post a proposal. Orkut is an outcome of one of such big ideas.

Google’s café famously known as “Charlie’s Place”- Charlie Ayers was Google’s executive chef. He joined Google in 1999. He cooked exotic gourmet meal for all the Google employees. Vegan and vegetarian fare is an important part of the menu mix at Google. Dishes like- abbouleh, Baba Ganjou, Hummus, Dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), Tsatsiki Sauce, Stuffed Squash Blossoms, Spinach-Lentil Dahl, Khombi Tartare, Curried Chick-peas and Stuffed Vidalia Onions. It’s a mouth watering experience every time for an employee who is allowed to even carry food home to their spouses or get their families to the café. For all Google employees the company has an in house hair stylist and they have dental van service too.

Google’s Library Project is another innovation. When you click on a search result of a book, you can view snippets, few sentences or key words that show the search term in context. If the book is out of copyright, one may be able to download an entire book or there are links that can take you directly to the libraries or bookstores from where one may purchase these books. Google did face lot of resistance from Author’s guild on violation of copyright’s. But Google’s mission on the ‘library project’ or ‘partner project’ is to organize hard to find information and making it ‘universally accessible and useful’. Publishers do have an opt out option by just sending Google a message.

Click Fraud is a type of internet crime that occurs in pay per click online advertising. This fraud happens when a person, automated script, or computer program imitates a legitimate user of a web browser clicks on an ad, for the purpose of generating a charge per click without having actual interest in the target of the ad’s link. Google paid dollar 90 Million to affected advertisers in attorney’s fees and credit as part of the settlement. The lead plaintiff was Lane’s gift and collectibles which sells items such as dolls, figurines and teddy bears online, over the phone and by mail.

Google Vs Booble was also another hurdle which the company faced. In early 2004 Google Inc. claimed website Booble infringed on their trademark name and logo. They distinctively duplicate the look and overall feel of website. Google asked the web site to disable the website and to disable the domain name. The Google version on ‘I am feeling lucky’ was changed to ‘I am feeling confused’. The logo was also similar to the white screen and colored alphabets. To this date, Booble fought back stating that theirs is a competitor website for an adult search engine. They claimed their site as a parody site and said it’s not confusing at all.

Google’s language toll covers 104 languages, which offers a personalized version to 115 countries. Two types of interface are possible in this tool, by country and by languages.

Google has indeed become a phenomenon, a part of society’s social expression. Google also entered the Oxford dictionary as a verb in Jun 2006.


SURABHI SOOD