Friday, December 5, 2008

how one website changed the way people live- getting googled

Google came into existence in '98, when many didn't know about the phenomenon called the Internet. Ten years down the line, the two Stanford-dropouts turned entrepreneurs are among the richest people in the world. And all because of the magic created by a spell called Google. When they started off, the both of them might not have dreamed about the floodgates which Google cut through.

It all started one day when by mere coincidence(or fate), Larry Page met Sergey Brin. Initially they were just acquaintances but soon their common passion for computers brought them together and their love affair with math stimulated them to work together. The both of them were different people, Larry was quiet, reserved and thoughtful. Sergey was loud, open and charismatic. Probably the only thing that bound them together was their love for puzzles and computers.

Google was initially a Ph.D project by Larry, an algorithm on search engines and was called BackRub, referring to the back linking of keywords. Larry actually was trying to download the entire WWW onto his computer when Sergey started to show interest in the project. What began as a simple fascination of trying to get information faster soon grew so popular that everyone on the Stanford campus was using their search engine. And because everyone in Silicon valley at that time was trying to make millions by creating websites, Larry and Sergey wanted to get into business too. They patented their site Google(Googol is the word for 1 followed by a 100 zeroes) and soon converted their dorm rooms into server stations.

The initial usage of the website was pretty low but soon due to word of mouth popularity, Google was one of the most clicked websites. But then the two friends weren't prepared for this and soon Sergey, with his characteristic charisma, was able to attract many a venture capitalists. And soon from a simple algorithm, Google became the most used, popular website in the world and when it went public, all Wall Street first day records were shattered.

Now, this article isn't about how Google came along.(If you want to learn more about that, The Google Story by David Vise is an excellent recommendation). Its about how people were Googled(a dictionary term now used to refer searching on the website Google). During the time Google came along, there were many more young entrepreneurs who were hopeful of making their mark in the Silicon Valley but Google was different. From the very beginning, the work culture at Google has been very relaxed and laidback. Infact, one of the company taglines is, 'You don't have to wear a suit to be serious'. No one worked in Google. People had fun in Google. People loved what they did in Google. Infact, the company still has the '20 percent rule'. Any employee of Google can spend 20% of his week working on whatever he wants to.

Its users connected humanly to Google. The simple, plain white background with coloured display of the name sparked a child-ish charm to it and everyone found it simple and honest. Add to it, the occasional doodles for landmark dates is still waited upon intently. Google soon became the top company to work for. Suddenly, every engineer wanted to work for Google not just for the perks but for the independence given to them. What started as a search engine soon entered all sorts of markets including maps, mail and social networking. Google's still growing fast.

What is so special about Google is that it stands out as a pure and honest part of people's lives. Most of its users are emotionally connected to Google because it gives them some respite in these troubled times. Google signifies the importance of fairplay, love and people over money and the obnoxious pace of life. And many of Google's projects include digitizing all of the world's libraries, DNA analysis and making sure everyone in the world has an access to the Internet. Google is the anchor people turn to to assure themselves that the world is still worth a place to live in. And the company slogan stands true to that spirit-

Don't be evil.

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