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From Stanford To Chrome: Ten Years Of Google

Sep 10, 2008
Google (depending on where you read) is now ten years old, and has recently released its own version of a web browser to many mixed reviews. Is it world domination or just the demise of Microsoft that Google is trying to achieve?

Let's start by going back in time. In January 1996, co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin began work on a search engine called BackRub. Backrub revolutionised the way that web sites were logged by looking at the number of links into the page. The more links, the greater authority the page would have.

Predecessors (Excite and Mosaic, for example) used statistical analysis of word relationships to generate results. BackRub's new techniques were causing a stir and generating a lot of interest from businesses and the general public alike.

On the hunt for potential partners and somebody to fund their online library, Page and Brin purchased a terabyte of disks to hold the information and moved home from Page's dorm room to a garage in Menlo Park, California.

The search engine quickly took off and started answering around 10,000 search queries a day, all of which were that much more relevant than previous engines such as Yahoo and AltaVista. In 1998, PC Magazine named Google one of its top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines of the year.

By the year 2000, Google had well and truly earned its place in the world of search engines. Taking major players from rival companies and moving to new offices to accommodate them, the company was on the up. By the end of the year, they were answering more than 18 million queries a day and had launched the engine in ten other languages, thus marking the start of world domination.

The next few years saw everything from Google being used on wireless devices to the implementation of various web applications including mail, calendars and video.

In September 2008, Google announced the all new browser set to rival Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox: Google Chrome. Chrome is essentially a browser which shows the pages you are browsing and makes it easier to find your way around the web.

Google Chrome is an open source browser which will allow third party developers to add their spin to the application. This isn't a new feature, Firefox has allowed this for many years, as has apple with appletalk. The difference with Chrome is that it has been built on an entirely new platform, unlike any of its predecessors.

Google spotted a gap in the market and seized it. When the search engine was first coined more than ten years ago, people were only using the internet for retrieving information. Today, there is an abundance of web applications including YouTube and Facebook which are taking up more and more of our time. With these web applications being used by more people, Google decided that there was a need for a new browser that could cope with the increased demand.

Is this all or is there an ulterior motive behind the move? Well, Google CEO, Eric Schmidt has had his fair share of run-ins with computing giants, Microsoft over the years - first with Sun Microsystems and then with Novell. When handed the golden to key to Google, he realised that he had a Microsoft beating firm at his disposal.

Yes, it is true that Microsoft drives most of the public to the internet, but once they are there, Google has them very much in the palm of their hands. And this is where the attack on Microsoft really kicks off. Web applications are the way forward (in Google's eyes) and as a result, the company hope to overtake Microsoft in the world of computing. Google's mindset is thus: if they can convert everyone to use the online applications that are appearing all over the net, there will be little need to use Microsoft's own applications, such as Word and Excel.

A bold and dangerous move, waging war with one of the biggest companies in the world, but Google are in a good position. If Chrome works (and let's face it, most things Google put their hands to, generally do) then they stand on the verge of becoming the biggest company in the world.
About the Author
Samantha is an expert Research and Theatre consultant. Her current interests are UK shortbreaks including Play and Stay and Theme Park Breaks.
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