63.5% of all internet users have selected Google as their preferred search provider. This includes the vast majority of business internet users in the western world. Google remains the undisputed King of the search engines, but, how much do you know about their history? Where did Google begin? How did they get to be number one? How do they provide such a wealth of information so quickly? The answers to these questions and more are included below in our selection of :
20 incredible but little known facts about Google
- The name ‘Google’ itself was an accident. It was the result of a spelling mistake made by the original founders who thought they were going for ‘Googol’. The domain name “Googol.com” was already taken by the time Google was founded. The domain Google.com was registered on 15 September 1997 and its operations began out of this small garage:
- Google (aka Googol) is a mathematical term which means “1 followed by hundred Zeros”. The term ‘Googol’ was coined by Milton Sirotta, a nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasne.
- Google started in January, 1996 as a research project at Stanford University, by Ph.D. candidates Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were aged 24 years and 23 years respectively. The original Google project was named ‘backrub’.
- The primary reason that the Google homepage is so simple is because the founders didn’t know how to write HTML!
- When Google started it had just 25,000 web pages indexed. Today Google indexes billions of web pages and each day it grows by a staggering 10-25%.
- Google’s index of web pages is the largest in the world. Google searches this immense database of web pages in less than half a second.
- Google has over 450,000 servers located in data centres around the world. Google servers receive around 1 billion search requests daily and amazingly between 20% and 25% of Google search queries are new and have never been searched previously.
- Users can restrict their search results to just show content in 35 non-English languages, including Chinese, Greek, Icelandic, Hebrew, Hungarian and Estonian. To date, no requests have been received from beyond the earth’s orbit, but Google has a Klingon interface just in case.
- The biggest break in search came when Google introduced their improved spell checker which displays as “Did you mean?”. This feature doubled their search traffic and soon their developers discovered that the ideal placement for this was at the top and bottom of the search results.
- The basis of Google’s search technology is called PageRank™, and assigns an “importance” value to each page on the web and gives it a rank to determine how useful it is. However, that’s not why it’s called PageRank. It’s actually named after Google co-founder Larry Page. The PageRank algorithm uses more than 200 attributes to determine the rank of any given webpage.
- Google believes in the 20% – 5% philosophy. According to this, if at least 20% of the users use a feature then it will be included. To make it to the advanced search preferences, at least 5 % of the users need to use a particular feature.
- Less than 1% of visitors click on the “I am feeling lucky” button. However, in trials it was found that removing it would somehow reduce the Google experience. Users wanted it to stay – it was seen as a comfort button.
- Google translates billions of HTML web pages into a display format for WAP and Smart phones and other wireless handled devices.
- Atlantis, Shakespeare’s unknown diaries and Mozart’s unreleased album were all found using Google.
- 57% of American children reportedly say ‘Google’ as their first word.
- 620 million visitors visit Google.com daily.
- 97% of Google’s revenue comes from their advertising services including Google Adwords.
- As of December 2009, Google’s assets were valued at US$40.5 billion.
- Google has a world-class staff of more than 2,668 employees known as “Googlers”. The company headquarters is called the “Googleplex”.
- There are no dress code restrictions in the Google office. Staff have appeared for work dressed in pyjamas and even super hero costumes.
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