Wednesday, 27 February 2013

About Google Inc

Larry Page (left) and Sergey Brin.

American search engine company, founded in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page. About 70 percent of all online search requests are handled by Google, placing it at the heart of most Internet users' experience. The company's headquarters are located in Mountainview, Calif.

Searching for business
Brin and Page, who met as graduate students at Stanford University, were intrigued with the idea of extracting meaning from the mass of data accumulating on the Internet. They began working from Page's dormitory room at Stanford to devise a new type of search technology, which they dubbed BackRub. The key was to leverage Web users' own ranking abilities by tracking each Web site's “backing links”—that is, the number of other pages linked to them. Most search engines simply returned a list of Web sites ranked by how often a search phrase appeared on them. Brin and Page incorporated into the search function the number of links each Web site had—i.e., a Web site with thousands of links would logically be more valuable than one with just a few links, and the search engine thus would place the heavily linked site higher on a list of possibilities. Further, a link from a heavily linked Web site would be a more valuable “vote” than one from a more obscure Web site. Meanwhile, the partners established an idealistic 10-point corporate philosophy that included “Focus on the user and all else will follow,” “Fast is better than slow,” and “You can make money without doing evil.”
In mid-1998 Brin and Page began receiving outside financing (one of their first investors was Andy Bechtolsheim, a cofounder of Sun Microsystems, Inc.). They ultimately raised about $1 million from investors, family, and friends and set up shop in Menlo Park, Calif., under the name Google, which was derived from a misspelling of Page's original planned name, googol (a mathematical term for the number one followed by 100 zeroes). By mid-1999, when Google received a $25 million round of venture capital funding, it was processing 500,000 queries per day. Activity exploded when Google became the client search engine for one of the Web's most popular sites, Yahoo!, and by 2004 users were “googling” 200 million times a day. By 2008 Google was handling some 65 million searches per hour, and the company had become so ubiquitous that it entered the lexicon as a verb, to google being a common expression meaning to search the Internet.
The company's initial public offering (IPO) in 2004 raised $1.66 billion for the company and made Brin and Page instant billionaires, at least on paper, for the shares that they retained in the company. The stock offering also made news because of the unusual way it was handled. Shares were sold in a public auction intended to put the average investor on an equal footing with the professionals of the financial industry. Google was added to Standard and Poor's 500 (S&P 500) stock index in 2006. By 2010 Google's market capitalization made it one of the largest American companies not in the Dow Jones Industrial Average; among technology companies, it ranked alongside giants such as Microsoft Corporation and IBM in market value.
In November 2008 Google introduced three new enhancements to its search service: SearchWiki, Wikitude, and voice recognition. SearchWiki allows users to reshuffle or eliminate search results according to their individual preferences for different Web sources. Registered users of SearchWiki also have the option of adding annotations and ratings to Web sites retrieved in their searches; these user-generated comments are viewable by other registered users. Wikitude, a search service aimed at mobile telephone users, combines Google maps with the online encyclopaediaWikipedia to give individuals detailed information about local destinations. In addition, Google released voice-recognition software for Apple Inc.'s iPhone that enables spoken searches; searches may include information, such as local restaurants, related to the iPhone's current location.

Advertising growth
Google's strong financial results reflected the rapid growth of Internet advertising in general and Google's popularity in particular. Analysts attributed part of that success to a shift in advertising spending toward the Internet and away from traditional media, including newspapers, magazines, and television. Google derives most of its earnings from advertisements that it displays on Web pages returned by its search engine; the advertisements are tailored to correspond to users' search terms.
Google has spent large sums to secure what appeared to be significant Internet marketing advantages. In 2003 Google spent $102 million to acquire Applied Semantics, the makers of AdSense, a service that signs up owners of Web sites to run various types of ads on their Web pages. In 2006 Google paid $102 million for another Web advertisement business, dMarc Broadcasting. That same year in August Google announced that it would pay $900 million over three and a half years for the right to sell ads on In 2007 Google made its largest acquisition to date, buying online advertising firm DoubleClick for $3.1 billion. Two years later the company responded to the explosive growth in the mobile applications market with a $750 million deal to acquire the mobile advertising network AdMob. It was all part of Google's effort to expand from its search engine business into advertising by combining the various firms' databases of information in order to tailor ads to consumers' individual preferences.
Data centres
Exact details on Google's operation are not published, though it is known that the company has at least three dozen data centres around the world, each of them containing several hundred thousand servers (basically, multiprocessor personal computers and hard drives mounted in specially constructed racks). Google's interlinked computers, which probably number several million, are often called the Googleplex. The heart of Google's operation, however, is built around three proprietary pieces of computer code: Google File System (GFS), Bigtable, and MapReduce. GFS handles the storage of data in “chunks” across several machines; Bigtable is the company's database program; and MapReduce is used by Google to generate higher-level data (e.g., putting together an index of Web pages that contain the words “Chicago,” “theatre,” and “participatory”).
In 2007 Google completed the construction of what is possibly its largest data centre, along the Columbia River near The Dalles, Ore. The site takes advantage of the cheap hydroelectric power offered by dams along the river. (The river was also chosen as the site for similar data centres for Microsoft and Yahoo!.)


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