Home Big BrandsGoogle Exploring Google’s Origins in 1998 – A Look Back

Exploring Google’s Origins in 1998 – A Look Back

by Marcin Wieclaw
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google in 1998

In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin founded Google, a web-based search engine that would go on to revolutionize the digital world. But before Google became the technology giant it is today, it had humble beginnings in a garage in the city of Mountain View.

Page and Brin, both computer science students at Stanford University, initially developed a search algorithm called “BackRub” in 1996. This algorithm analyzed the relationships between web pages through backlinks, eventually ranking them based on relevance. BackRub later evolved into Google Search, the powerful search engine we know today.

With its innovative approach and rapid growth, Google quickly became a household name. In 2004, the company made its initial public offering, solidifying its presence in the market. Over the years, Google expanded its offerings, introducing products such as Google News, Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Chrome.

However, not all ventures were successful. Google’s foray into the social media space with Google+ in 2011 ended with its closure in 2019. Despite this setback, Google continued to flourish and eventually became a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. in 2015.

Key Takeaways

  • Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
  • The search algorithm “BackRub” evolved into Google Search.
  • Google experienced rapid growth and went public in 2004.
  • Products like Google News, Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Chrome were introduced.
  • Google+ was launched in 2011 but later shut down.
  • In 2015, Google became a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.

The Beginnings of Google

In 1996, Larry Page and Sergey Brin embarked on a research project at Stanford University that would lay the foundation for what would become one of the most influential companies in the digital age. This project, known as “BackRub,” aimed to develop a revolutionary search engine.

Page and Brin created a web crawler that scoured the internet, collecting data on backlinks and web pages. They recognized the importance of backlinks in determining the relevance and importance of web pages, leading them to develop the groundbreaking PageRank algorithm. This algorithm revolutionized search engine results by ranking pages based on both the number and quality of backlinks they had.

The development of BackRub marked the birth of Google’s core technology, which would shape the future of online search. In 1998, Page and Brin released the first version of Google, a search engine that quickly gained popularity for its accuracy and efficiency.

“We chose the name ‘Google’ because it represents a misspelling of ‘googol,’ which refers to the number one followed by a hundred zeros. This name reflects our mission to organize the seemingly infinite amount of information available on the web,” Larry Page once explained.

From its humble beginnings as a research project at Stanford University, Google would evolve into the technology giant that we know today. The innovative spirit and groundbreaking algorithms developed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin set the stage for a revolution in online search and information retrieval.

The PageRank Algorithm

Central to Google’s success was the PageRank algorithm, which played a pivotal role in revolutionizing search engine technology. The algorithm not only considered the relevance of web pages but also took into account the importance of the pages that linked to them. This approach helped deliver more accurate and reliable search results, making Google the go-to search engine for millions of users.

Early Milestones and Partnerships

Throughout its journey, Google has achieved several significant milestones and formed key partnerships that have shaped its growth and impact in the digital world.

In 2002, Google introduced Google News, a platform that aggregates news articles from various sources, providing users with a comprehensive and personalized news experience.

In 2004, the company launched Gmail, an innovative email service that provided users with a generous storage capacity and advanced features, revolutionizing the way people interacted with their emails.

Google continued its expansion in 2005 with the release of Google Maps, a web-based mapping service that brought detailed maps, satellite imagery, and local business information to users worldwide. This tool became invaluable for planning routes, exploring new places, and finding businesses.

The year 2008 marked another milestone for Google with the launch of its web browser Google Chrome. This browser quickly gained popularity for its fast performance, user-friendly interface, and advanced security features.

Recognizing the importance of social networking, Google introduced Google+ in 2011, aiming to provide users with a comprehensive social media platform. Although Google+ was later discontinued, it showcased Google’s commitment to exploring and expanding its presence in various digital domains.

Google has also established partnerships with influential organizations to further enhance its offerings to users. Notable collaborations include NASA, AOL, Sun Microsystems, News Corporation, and Sky UK. These partnerships have allowed Google to leverage expertise and resources from diverse sectors, enabling the company to reach new heights in innovation and user experience.

Additionally, in 2005, Google created Google.org, a philanthropic organization dedicated to using technology to address global challenges. Through Google.org, the company has made substantial contributions to initiatives in education, economic opportunity, and climate change.

Google’s early milestones and partnerships have laid the foundation for its ongoing success in developing innovative products and shaping the digital landscape. With a commitment to collaboration and technological advancement, Google continues to redefine possibilities in the digital age.

Summary of Early Milestones and Partnerships

Year Milestones and Partnerships
2002 Launch of Google News
2004 Introduction of Gmail
2005 Release of Google Maps
2008 Launch of Google Chrome
2011 Creation of Google+
Various Years Partnerships with NASA, AOL, Sun Microsystems, News Corporation, Sky UK
2005 Establishment of Google.org

The Name and Expansion

The name “Google” is derived from the word “googol,” which represents the number 1 followed by 100 zeros. It signifies the company’s goal of providing a vast amount of information. Google has successfully positioned itself as a leading information provider in the digital landscape.

With a robust search engine and a commitment to delivering accurate and relevant results, Google rapidly expanded its services and user base. This rapid expansion allowed the company to move multiple times before finally settling at its current headquarters in Mountain View, known as the Googleplex.


The Googleplex, situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, is a symbol of both innovation and ambition. This sprawling campus serves as a hub for Google’s operations, housing thousands of employees and contributing to its culture of collaboration and creativity.

Over the years, Google has evolved from a humble search engine to one of the largest media companies in the world. Its continued growth and success are a testament to its ability to adapt to the ever-changing digital landscape while providing valuable information to millions of users worldwide.

Evolution of Google Search

Google has consistently updated its search engine to enhance search results and eradicate search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. These updates aim to provide users with improved search results that are more relevant and reliable. Google understands the importance of delivering accurate and valuable information to users, and it continually strives to enhance the search experience.

Google’s commitment to improving search results and eradicating SEO techniques has paved the way for a more trustworthy and user-friendly search engine. Through ongoing updates, Google has been able to refine its algorithms and ensure that high-quality content is prioritized in search rankings.

The Impact of Updates

Over the years, Google’s updates have had a significant impact on the SEO landscape. These updates, such as the Panda and Penguin updates, have focused on penalizing websites that engage in manipulative SEO practices, while rewarding those that provide valuable and relevant content.

  • Panda Update: Introduced in 2011, the Panda update targeted low-quality content and sites with excessive advertising. It aimed to improve the user experience by promoting websites with original, informative, and engaging content.
  • Penguin Update: Launched in 2012, the Penguin update targeted websites that violated Google’s guidelines by engaging in link schemes and spammy practices. It aimed to level the playing field for websites that followed ethical SEO practices.

These updates, along with many others, have reshaped the SEO landscape and incentivized website owners to focus on creating high-quality content that genuinely benefits users.

Improved Search Results

Through continuous updates, Google has been able to improve the search results it delivers to users. By eliminating manipulative tactics used by certain websites, Google ensures that the most relevant and trustworthy information appears at the top of search results.

The focus on providing accurate and reliable search results has benefitted both users and website owners. Users can now find the information they need more efficiently, while website owners have the opportunity to gain visibility based on the quality and relevance of their content.

Benefits of Google’s Search Engine Updates
Promotes high-quality content
Increases user trust in search results
Encourages ethical SEO practices
Provides a better user experience

By constantly evolving its search engine, Google has been able to eradicate unethical SEO practices and improve the overall search experience for users. These continuous updates showcase Google’s commitment to delivering the most relevant and reliable information to its users.


Google’s journey from its inception in 1998 to becoming a technology giant has had a profound impact on the digital world. Through its innovative products and continuous improvements, Google has revolutionized the way we search for information and interact with the internet.

From its early days at Stanford University, Google quickly rose to prominence with its search engine technology and the development of the PageRank algorithm. This laid the foundation for the company’s growth and expansion into various fields.

With the introduction of products like Google News, Gmail, Google Maps, and Google Chrome, as well as ventures like Google+, Google has consistently pushed the boundaries of what is possible in the digital realm. By forming partnerships with organizations like NASA, AOL, and News Corporation, Google has further solidified its position as a leading technology company.

Today, Google continues to shape the digital landscape, constantly striving to provide users with reliable and relevant information. Its impact goes beyond search; it has become an integral part of our lives, both at work and at home. As we navigate the ever-changing digital world, Google remains a beacon of innovation and a driving force behind the technology that shapes our daily lives.


When was Google officially launched?

Google was officially launched in 1998.

Who founded Google?

Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

What was the original name of Google’s search algorithm?

The original name of Google’s search algorithm was “BackRub.”

What products did Google launch over the years?

Google launched various products over the years, including Google News, Gmail, Google Maps, Google Chrome, and Google+ (which was shut down in 2019).

When did Google become a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.?

Google became a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. in 2015.

How did Google get its name?

The name “Google” is derived from the word “googol,” which represents the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.

Where is Google’s current headquarters?

Google’s current headquarters is located in Mountain View.

How has Google evolved its search engine over time?

Google has constantly updated its search engine to improve search results and eliminate search engine optimization tactics.

What has Google’s journey contributed to the digital world?

Google’s journey from its inception in 1998 to becoming a technology giant has revolutionized the way we search for information and interact with the internet.


  • Marcin Wieclaw

    Marcin Wieclaw, the founder and administrator of PC Site since 2019, is a dedicated technology writer and enthusiast. With a passion for the latest developments in the tech world, Marcin has crafted PC Site into a trusted resource for technology insights. His expertise and commitment to demystifying complex technology topics have made the website a favored destination for both tech aficionados and professionals seeking to stay informed.

    View all posts

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