Google a small garage company with a handful of employees to the ultimate global business empire. Google Search Engine first went live back in 1998, the company has developed into the most valuable brand in the world. we’re going to look at how Google Evolution happens years and with that gain some insight into how this company managed to topple thousands of tech giants at the turn of the century.
As the company marks 20 years, devoted to the future of online search, and promising a few surprise announcements.
Google was launched in September 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin – two Stanford University students – in a garage rented in the Northern California city of Menlo Park.
First Search Engine Results Page: 1998
The Google online search came into operation in 1998. This was precisely the right time too, as the turn of the century saw an explosion in the number of websites. With such a dramatic influx of information, it became increasingly difficult to find content that was actually useful for users. For this reason, Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed their PageRank algorithm, designed to tackle this problem by ranking websites in the SERPs based on relevance to the search.
Google Page: 1999
Google’s first release version was cut and dry but did have a small news feed at the top of search results that was extremely popular at the time, performing as the first real digital competition against the newspaper industry. This was also the most lightweight version that Google has ever seen, providing incredibly fast search results that the 56k dominated era appreciated.
Google Adwords: 2000
2000 birthed the digital Wild West. The launch of Google Adwords meant that millions of dollars were beginning to flow through the search engine. While that did compromise the previously simple interface, it also means that profound opportunity open for marketers and business people alike.
It was around this time that many companies popped up around that world that specialized in ads. Many big companies still weren’t won over by the idea of digital sponsored links and SEO positioning, tech-savvy people of the era were able to capitalize on a young, relatively unstandardized time for the internet that was completely undersaturated. It was during this time that invasive pop-ups and adware began to flow into the internet like a river. As fast and reliant as Google was, you definitely wanted to be careful what you clicked.
Google Images: 2001
As the biggest subdomain for Google, the launch of Google Images was a monumental release in 2001. Its button was added alongside Groups and Directory, providing insight into the multi-layered direction the search engine industry was moving toward.
Google Quote: “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one”
56k was still the primary internet solution in 2001, meaning that the heavy weight of loading images made the user experience of Google Images quite unremarkable. But it was a huge addition that was ahead of its time and would play a role in Google’s surge of popularity in the coming years as it battled with Yahoo and AOL for the title of the world’s most popular search engine.
Google News: 2002
From 2000 to 2002 millions of Americans added internet to their home (a jump from 51% to 58%~ of households). People were being won over by the accessibility of the digital world, and fast.
Google Guide: Florida Man Googles ‘How To Rob A Bank’ And Then Does It
Google capitalized on this momentum with the release of Google News in 2002, a subdomain that served as a top-down look at trending stories around the internet. You could find world news, sports columns, and more without having to decide exactly what you were looking for. It was a huge addition that was a signal of a serious downturn for newspapers and cable media alike.
Google Autocomplete: 2003
Google Autocomplete was the first of its kind when it released in 2004. It added a fun new way to search the internet, and significantly improved the user experience of search workflow.
It was around this time that broadband became much popular, and with that, the more heavy features of Google (i.e. Google Images) became attractive solutions to a growing number of people. AOL and Yahoo were in trouble.
Google Maps: 2004
It almost sounds funny in hindsight, but up until 1996, most people were using physical paper maps to get around. That changed around 1996 with the release of MapQuest, which would domite the spacial application scene for nearly a decade.
In 2004 its first serious competition emerged: Google Maps. It was rudimentary at the time but was notable for its more user-friendly interface. It would take two years before Google Maps would overtake MapQuest as the world’s most popular digital mapping solution.
Thanks to how slow 56k was, digital video was a rather unimpressive experience for most of the young years of the internet. Random websites rich with adware and P2P solutions like Kazaa served as the primary vehicles of consuming online video.
In early 2005 YouTube changed the game with what was by far the most accessible and comprehensive video website on the internet. Coincidentally, Google released its competitor, Google Video, around the same time. Both were popular, but YouTube’s quickly growing platform was far too much for Google to overcome directly, so it outright bought the website for $1.65 billion in 2006.
Google Weather: 2006
While it was probably a gross oversight, Google’s lack of a weather solution for so many years didn’t seem to hold it back much. That said, when Google Weather debuted in 2006 it was a big deal. No longer did many people rely on weather stations for forecasts. Instead, they could find out how they should dress tomorrow after searching for cat pictures.
2006 was one of Google’s biggest years. YouTube was growing faster than anyone would have imagined. Google Sports Scores and Google Flights released around the same time as the popular Google Weather. With this, Google pushed to become the world’s most popular search engine, defeating the downtrending Yahoo and AOL platforms.
Google Home: 2017
10 years after the inception of Google, this is how it looks.
Here we are 20 years later, and while Google hasn’t changed much, you can see how far we’ve come based on the UI design alone. We now live in a digital age where the biggest brands and names in the world all use Google in one way or another, from Gmail for communication, SEO for marketing, or Google Maps for getting around without worry.
Diversification of Google Evolution
The invention of the vertical search engine and Universal Search is a key factor in explaining how Google was able to become the universal and most used search engine. Some of the most important vertical search functions include:
Users can enter their search term(s) on the vertical search engine and receive targeted results for specific topics or application uses. And certain requests will lead Google to display the vertical search results directly in the central Google SERPs too. Other additional features to the ones mentioned above include instant results for searches for sports results, weather information, flight times, and apps. There’s even a feature for browsing international patent databases.
Google Quote: “Google dress code was: “You must wear something”
Google From Simple Web Search to Universal Search
There’s one central goal that remains the focus of the Universal Search program: Google wants to provide the appropriate search results regardless of the type of content required – the only prerequisite should be that this content can be found somewhere on the World Wide Web. But at the same time, the search should be made as simple and fast as possible for users. Search Engine Google has sped up and simplified the process of web searches several times in the past few years with many new features and functions, including:
- Google Instant (results are displayed during the typing process)
- Google Suggest (search terms prediction in real time)
- Improved interpretation of search queries
- Advanced search
- Alternative suggestions
- Autocorrect for spelling mistakes and typos
- Inclusion of synonyms
- …and many more
Google has always been at the forefront of reinvention. The search engine giant shows no signs of running out of new ideas for improving the optimization. Its search engine results from pages in the future either. So You can expect many more developments and updates in the coming years. For marketers, this means one crucial thing: always keep up with Google.