A Timeline of Google

Google was launched in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin. It originated from BackRub, a research project at Stanford University that looked into backlinks as a means to determine the quality of a webpage. Rather than having publishers submit their websites to search engines, Google crawled the web with the assumption that pages with many backlinks were high quality pages. People would later attempt to ‘game’ Google’s algorithm by paying for backlinks or commenting links in blog posts, to which Google would have to update their algorithm and penalize websites that engaged in link spam.

But in the late 90s and early 2000s, Google’s technology was a breath of fresh air. Search results were actually beginning to be relevant. In 1999, Excite (another search engine) rejected an offer to buy Google for $750,000. Who knows what would have happened to Google if the deal went through?

By the mid 2000s, Google had launched Gmail, Google Maps and Adsense, an advertising platform that enabled publishers to earn money from their content. In 2006, Google became the most visited website in the world, knocking Yahoo! off from the top spot and also acquired a little know video sharing website called YouTube.

In its continual quest for world domination, Google launched Google+ (or Google Plus) in 2011, hoping to capture social networking market share from Facebook. Despite millions of dollars of resources behind the Google+ push, it didn’t manage to catch on and was shut down in 2019.

In 2015, Google released its mobile-friendly update that boosted the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Many website publishers saw this as the ‘mobilegeddon’, worrying that their ad revenues would take a big hit if their sites weren’t up to scratch.

In 2023, Google.com is still the most visited website in the world and generates $863 billion in annual revenues, most of which comes from advertising revenues. However Google’s position at the top is now being called into question. The capabilities of artificial intelligence are growing and the introduction of AI technologies such as ChatGPT leave many people wondering if AI-based conversation exchange will leave traditional web search redundant.

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