According to Alexa , a company that monitors website traffic, Google is the most visited website in the world. This is absolutely true! There is hardly a day that passes that I don’t visit Google. I know this is also the case with many people. We live in a world where there is a huge craving for new information and search engines like Yahoo, AOL, Ask, Bing, Baidu and Google make it even easier to find new information at the comfort of our homes.
According to Forbes, in May 2018, Google has a net worth of $132.1 Billion and it is listed as the world’s second most valuable brand in the world after Apple.
How Google rose from a website formed at the dorm room of two PhD students at Stanford University in 1998 to become one of the world’s most significant companies offering a wide variety of products is simply amazing.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin met in 1995 at Stanford University, Silicon Valley in California, USA were both of them were PhD students of Computer Science.
Both of them grew up in families that had good background in science and technology.
Sergey’s father was a maths lecturer at the University of Maryland and his mother was a scientist at NASA. Larry’s father had a degree in computer science from the University of Michigan while his mother was a database consultant with a master’s degree in computer science.
Therefore, before both of them met, they were already used to computer systems and database management. Previously, search engines ranked results by counting how many times the search terms appeared on the page, however, Larry and Page thought about and then developed a better system that analyzed the relationships among websites which they called Page Rank. Page Rank was a system of determining a website’s relevance by the number of pages, and the importance of those pages that linked back to the original site.
Looking For Funds
Larry Page and Sergey Brin did not actually found Google in order to build a business or a company. Their main drive and inspiration was to build a great PhD thesis. They formed a prototype of their search engine, called Back rub, and later renamed it Google in 1997. The term Google was actually a play on the word googol, a mathematical term for one followed by 100 zeros, which represented the vast amounts of data on the web. While on campus, the founders launched their invention on Stanford University’s intranet. This new search engine soon gained much popularity among the university environment via word-of- mouth recommendations, as users quickly discovered how faster and more relevant its search results were.
The founders attempted to sell this new technology to Yahoo, Excite and Alta Vista which was the most popular search engine as at that time for about $1m. However, each of companies declined the offer. At that time , search for information and Google’s technology to produce search results in split seconds didn’t really present any attractive opportunity to revenue generation to advertisers. But then, the founders were very passionate that they had created a product that people truly needed, they were left with no option but to take the Google to the market themselves.
In August 1998, Larry and Sergey met private investor Andy Bechtolsheim, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems who had earlier sold another business to Cisco for hundreds of millions of dollars. Bechtolsheim was fascinated with this new product that he wrote out a cheque of $100,000 on the spot in favour of Google Inc, compelling Larry and Sergey to incorporate the company. This became the birth of Google.
Google’s states mission is ” to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. After, Bechtolsheim’s endorsement, family members and friends also supported Larry and Sergey and they were able to raise a total of $1m. Their plan was to invest the funds on ICT instead of spending it in advertisement. Their advertising was mainly done by word-of-mouth recommendations and the strength of their products.
They recruited their first staff and moved into an office in Palo Alto in 1999 after running their operations for a while from a garage. Not too long, Google started dealing with over 500,000 searches per day, especially after being mentioned in PC Magazine’s top 100 websites.
Following the increasing number of searches , the founders were propelled to seek further funding in order to step up their IT capacity to meet the growing demands and use of the product. The founders being very efficient in their use of computers, kept searching the internet, downloading, indexing and crawling through web pages using a network of computers which they custom-built and linked themselves and these computers ran the software and algorithms they had also designed.
Google secured a significant deal with Sequoia Capital and Sand Hill Road in 1999. These were among the most renowned venture capitalists which had earlier supported Yahoo and Amazon. Both VCs agreed to invest $12.5m each in Google, even on the condition that Larry and Sergey would be in sole charge of company, even though they had no business model yet.
Securing the deal with the prestigious VCs made Google to experience a significant growth. The founders continued to expand their network of custom-built built servers.
Initially, the company had no business model. But at this stage, they started licensing their search technology to other companies. But this wasn’t yielding substantial revenue and they continued to look for other ways of making their business more profitable.
They got an idea! They decided that whenever someone searched for a subject, they would display small text adverts relevant to the subject of the search along with the normal search engine results. This soon evolved into the current pay – per – click model, whereby Google would earn money from their advertisers whenever a user clicked on one of their sponsored links.
The founders employed Dr Eric Schmidt in 2000 as CEO to supervise the business operations. Dr Eric brought his vast experience into the company and helped the company to become more successful and gain more prominence into the international frontiers. By 2004 Google had started offering other services like Google News, Gmail and Google Images.
Google’s growth also came from its notable program called Adsense, an affiliate marketing scheme which allows other websites to place ads from its advertisers on other websites and the owners of the websites earn part of the fee advertisers pay Google when users click on the contextual ads that Google supplies with the search results.
Stock Exchange Listing
Google went public in 2004 on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange and $1.2bn was raised. The IPO was at $85 per share, but at the end of the first day of trading, the share price rose to $100 per share which increased the company’s value to $23.1bn. The share price has since then continued to rise. As at May 2018, the company’s price per share was $1,183.56
The Company Today
Today, with more 60,000 employees in 50 different countries, Google makes hundreds of products used by billions of people world-wide which includes: YouTube, Android Operating System, Android phones and tablets, Smartbox, , Google Search, Google Maps, Google Earth, Google Chrome browser, Gmail, Google Analytics, Google calendar, Google Finance, Googleplex, Google plus, Google Drive, Google Fibre, Google Play, Google Translate, Google Store, Google Duo, Blogger and many other numerous products.
Most of the things we do on the internet is controlled by Google and recently they started working on a project called the Google Self Driving Cars. In this project, cars will be automatically controlled by a software created by Google.
The company is the world’s second most valuable brand after Apple and has a net worth of $132.1 Billion as at May 2018 and it continues to grow, increase in its innovation and new products and it keeps attracting the best minds in ICT across the world.
Learnings From The Google Success Story
The following can be learnt from the Google success story :
– If you have a dream, don’t relent to work on it, believe in it and pursue it until you achieve success. You will definitely meet with initial set backs and hurdles, but if you keep on keeping on and don’t give up, soon you will achieve a break through.
– Don’t be shy to ask for help and advice from those who have successfully walked the path you are walking. Not everyone will give you the help and support you need, but if you are determined enough, you will find that unique and defining support that you need.
– Learn to partner with others to achieve great things. Larry Page and Sergey Brain used the principle of synergism to harness their vast experience on ICT and computers to create a unique product that was better than what was in existence as at that time.
– Don’t despise the days of little beginning. If you have the funds and see a bright idea, support the idea and invest into it. Investing in new products that would later become very successful is one way of growing your wealth.
– As an entrepreneur, you should learn how to identify and attract experienced staff into your business. Learn to hire people who are better and more knowledge than you, but humble as well.
– To stay relevant in business and to beat your competitors, always be on the lookout for new ideas and products that would add value to your business. Don’t be a one-product entrepreneur. You need innovation and creativity to remain relevant in business.
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