Google’s 25-Year Journey From Dorm To Internet Dominance

In 2010, Google tested out its first self-driving 2010 vehicles with a small fleet of Toyota Prius cars in California.


More than 25 years ago, two students at Stanford University brainstormed in their dormitory and came up with an idea – to create an internet search engine that would organize web pages and rank them.

Initially called BackRub, the startup grew into one of the world’s most valuable and influential companies, Google.

Google’s products, including Gmail and Search, are now used by billions, and its co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, rank among the richest people in the world.

Here are some milestones in the history of the tech giant, whose parent is now known as Alphabet:


1995-1996- Page and Brin meet at Stanford University and create a search engine named BackRub.

1998– The startup, now renamed Google, gets $100,000 in funding from Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim.

1999– Google announces $25 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins in its very first press release, and officially announces the term “Googlers” to the world.

June 2000-Google becomes the default search engine provider for Yahoo, one of the most popular websites at the time.

October Launches AdWords, the online advertising 2000 platform that would become core to Google’s business.

2001– Eric Schmidt is named Google’s chief executive officer and chairman of the board of directors.

April 2004– Google announces it is testing the release of Gmail, with up to 1GB of storage capacity.

August Launches an initial public offering of roughly 2004 19.6 million shares, at an opening price of $85 per share.

February Launches Google Maps for desktop.

2005– August Acquires mobile startup Android.

2005– Launches Google Talk instant messaging service.   

2006– Buys online video service YouTube for $1.65 billion.

April 2007– Announces acquisition of web ad supplier DoubleClick for $3.1 billion.

May 2007– Introduces universal search that lets users access search results across all content types, like images, videos, and news, at once.

September– Debuts first Android phone, the T-Mobile G1 or 2008 HTC Dream. Launches Google Chrome web browser.

January Launches smartphone, Nexus One, co-developed in 2010 with HTC.

March 2010– Stops censoring search results in China, leading to its banning in the country.

October– Google tests out its first self-driving 2010 vehicles with a small fleet of Toyota Prius cars in California.

June 2011– Launches Google+ social networking service, which was shut down in 2018.

August– Announces acquisition of Motorola Mobility, 2011 which includes Motorola’s cellphone and TV set-top box businesses, for $12.5 billion.

2012– Launches Google Glass.

2013– Announces acquisition of Israeli mapping startup Waze for about $1 billion.

2014– Announces in January that it will acquire AI firm DeepMind.

In the same month, it announces a $3.2 billion deal to buy smart thermostat and smoke alarm maker Nest Labs.

2015– Google Announces plans to create a new publicly listed company, Alphabet, which will house Google and other units, including YouTube and research and venture capital businesses.

Sundar Pichai named CEO of Google. October Launches the first Pixel smartphone.

2016– November Launches Google Home smart speaker.

June 2017– The European Commission fines Google 2.42 billion euros for violating the neutrality of its search.

February Google reports full-year sales of over $100

2018– Billion a year for the first time.

July 2018– The European Commission fines Google 4.34 billion euros for anti-competitive practices with respect to its Android operating system.

March 2019– The European Commission imposes a 1.49 billion euro fine for anti-competitive practices with respect to the company’s online advertising business.

June 2019– Google announces acquisition of analytics startup Looker for $2.6 billion. November Announces acquisition of Fitbit for $2.1 2019 billion.

December– Co-founders Page and Brin announce they are 2019 stepping down as CEO and president, respectively; Pichai becomes CEO of Alphabet.

2020– Alphabet hits $1 trillion in market capitalisation.

January– The company cuts 12,000 jobs or 6% of its 2023 workforce.

February– Google announces Bard, a generative AI-powered 2023 chatbot that can produce text content and fetch information off the internet. However, a factual error in the AI tool’s demo tanks Alphabet shares, erasing $100 billion from the company’s market capitalization.

Susan Wojcicki, one of Google’s first employees, steps down as YouTube CEO; Neal Mohan replaces her.

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