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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Google Turns Eight

Google is celebrating their 8th year in business with a little cake in the logo, and a bent “g" forming an 8. Now why are there only 5 candles on the cake? Ionut Alex. Chitu has an explanation – the candles are spelling 8 in Latin, VIII.

Google seems to have settled on September 27, 1998, as their birthday, though past celebration logos appeared on other days in September... and Google already existed as a Stanford search engine in 1997. Take a look at the screenshot’s copyright:

Now, Google’s official history tells the story this way (my emphasis):

[Larry Page and Sergey Brin] continued working to perfect their technology through the first half of 1998. (...) [T]hey bought a terabyte of disks at bargain prices and built their own computer housings in Larry’s dorm room, which became Google’s first data center. Meanwhile Sergey set up a business office, and the two began calling on potential partners who might want to license a search technology better than any then available. Despite the dotcom fever of the day, they had little interest in building a company of their own around the technology they had developed.

Among those they called on was friend and Yahoo! founder David Filo. Filo agreed that their technology was solid, but encouraged Larry and Sergey to grow the service themselves by starting a search engine company. “When it’s fully developed and scalable,” he told them, “let’s talk again.” Others were less interested in Google, as it was now known. One portal CEO told them, “As long as we’re 80 percent as good as our competitors, that’s good enough. Our users don’t really care about search.

After angel investor Andy Bechtolsheim (one of the Sun founders) saw the demo of this new search engine he invested $100,000 in Google, clearly thinking more long-term than some of the people of his time. In September 1998 Google Inc. opened its doors in Menlo Park, CA:

The door came with a remote control, as it was attached to the garage of a friend who sublet space to the new corporation’s staff of three. The office offered several big advantages, including a washer and dryer and a hot tub. (...)

Already, still in beta, was answering 10,000 search queries each day.

The discussion started in the forum.

[Hat tip to Haochi, Ionut Alex. Chitu, Donna Bogatin, and Eric LeBeau! Logo images by Google.]


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