News, Culture & Society

Google’s 20th birthday: 10 things you didn’t know about company

September 4, 2018 marks the 20th birthday of the biggest search engine in the world, Google.

Twenty years ago, two Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin filed Google, Inc. for incorporation in the garage of their friend Susan Wojcicki, who would go on to become Google’s employee No.16 and later YouTube CEO.

Over the subsequent two decades the search engine became the cornerstone of a digital empire that covers everything from images, maps, translation, video-streaming, tech accessories, smartphones, internet browser, and driverless cars.

Since incorporating in 1998, Google has become one of the world’s biggest companies

Its parent company, Alphabet, is valued at over $800 billion and Google is the most popular search engine in most countries including India, Brazil, the US, the UK, and western European countries such as France, Spain and Italy.

To celebrate Google’s 20th anniversary, here are ten things you didn’t know about the search engine giant.

Google was meant to be Googol

Google was originally going to be called Googol, a mathematical term to describe a number that starts with 1 and is followed by 100 zeroes. 

The rationale behind this was that Page and Brin wanted to create something that could organise vast amounts of data. However, after a misspelling resulted in Google, the new name stuck.

It could have been Yahoo’s for $1m

Google was by no means the first internet search engine, with the likes of AskJeeves and Yahoo predating it. 

In fact, Page and Brin tried to sell the company to Yahoo for $1 million in 1998. Yahoo turned them down. Yahoo turned them down again in 2002, when the asking price was $5 billion. 

The Google Doodle 

The Google Doodle is the company’s way of celebrating culturally significant events and people. 

A relevant image is incorporated into the Google logo on the homepage. Recent doodles include a tribute to the 20th century German artist, Oskar Schlemmer. The very first Google Doodle was of a stick man in 1998 to mark Page and Brin’s trip to that year’s Burning Man Festival.

Klingon Google 

Klingon, the language featured in the Star Trek series, is one of the many Google language interfaces available.

Other interesting options include Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny’s nemesis who can’t pronounce his Rs- this option turns phrases like Google Search into Google Seawch. 

Google’s IPO 

Google went public in 2004, with shares selling at $85 apiece. The company ended up selling 22.5 million shares, raising over $1.9 billion.

Google owns YouTube

The search engine bought YouTube for $1.65 billion in October 2006. 

In 2018, the video-streaming platform is valued at $75 billion, while Morgan Stanley worked out that the company would be worth $160 billion if it were a separate entity.

You can play a game on Google Images 

Google Images was launched in July 2001 and as well as doing for images what it did for text search queries, Google Images also acts as a surprising gaming platform. Simply type Atari Breakout into Google Images and watch the screen turn the image tiles into the iconic retro computer game. 

To anticipate common typos when typing Google, the search engine owns the domain names like, and

Employee benefits

If a Google employee in America dies while working for the company, their surviving partner is paid 50 percent of the employee’s salary for the next ten years.


In 2014, Google leased NASA’s Moffett Airfield for the next 60 years, at a cost of around $1.6 billion. Back in 2007 the search engine giant used the airfield in exchange for NASA using Google’s private planes.