17 things you didn’t know about Google

Did you remember to send a card?

Google, the internet search giant (and closest the world has yet to come to a real-life Skynet), has turned 17 - an important age in the land of computer programming, given that 17 is considered the least "random" number going.

As the big G applies for its UK driving test, we've collected together 17 facts you might not know about the Californian tech company.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google

    The search for search

    Creators Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up their first search engine in 1996 while studying at Stanford University. 

    The project, nicknamed 'BackRub', looked to link together the structure of the World Wide Web in a giant, explorable graph. It eventually became too large for the Standford internet servers to maintain.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 1

    A dog company

    Google's code of conduct states that it's a Dog company:

    Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 2

    The first homepage

    Google's homepage, first launched in 1998, hasn't changed all that much in its 17 years. 

    When the site first launched its homepage, the 'Google' logo deliberately copied 'Yahoo' with its use of an exclamation mark. This was dropped a year later.

    'Search' and 'I'm feeling lucky' options sat alongside more specific searches, including a search of Stanford University content.

    It's sparse design was in part owed to the fact that Page and Brin weren't skilled in HTML design, so kept the page simple. 

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 3

    All in a name

    The name 'Google' comes from the mathematical term 'googol' - the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 4

    Not just geeks

    Positions within some of Google's offices around the world include "Dance Program Manager", "Fitness Program Manager", "Transportation Program Manager" and "Intergalactic Federation King Almighty and Commander of the Universe".

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 5

    The first doodle

    Google's first doodle (a drawing contained within the logo) served a simple purpose: it was an out-of-office message.

    Less than a week before the company would be officially incorporated, Larry Page and Sergey Brin headed off for some 'relaxation' at the Burning Man festival. Rather than putting up a lengthy notice, they inserted the Burning Man stick figure into the site's logo, placed behind the O. 

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 6

    The first doodle series

    Google's first 'doodle' series arrived in May 2000, featuring a little alien hovering next to the logo.

    It didn't mark any special occasion, nor did it have any particular significance. It was just for fun.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 7

    The one that got away

    Page and Brin tried to sell an early model of their Google search engine to the web service Excite for $1 million in 1999. 

    Excite CEO George Bell rejected Page and Brin’s $1 million price for Google, rebuffing a $750,000 deal as well. 

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 8

    The magic number

    Part of an established Google design is that the homepage will never contain more than 28 words.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 9

    The teapot prank

    You might be familiar with a "404" error message, which displays when a web page can't be found on a server. What you might not have found is a "418" error, which Google created as a hidden Easter Egg

    You can find it by heading to - give it a click.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 10

    The book project

    One of Google's main projects involves scanning every printed work using optical character recognition.

    Estimating that there are some 130 million books in the world (an ever-growing figure), Google hopes to have scanned the majority of the world's books by the end of the century.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 11

    And in third place...

    Google is the third most valuable brand in the world, with Forbes listing their market value as $367 billion.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 12

    Brave new world

    While the "did you mean" function provides insights from common Google searches, Google encounters roughly 500 million "new" search queries every day - 15 per cent of its total traffic.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 13

    A lot of data

    Google's Maps service currently holds a staggering 21 million gigabytes of data.

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 14

    I'm feeling lucky...

    It was calculated back in 2007 that Google's "I'm feeling lucky" service supposedly cost the company some $110 million in lost ad revenue per year, by virtue of the search results returning no advertised material.

    In 2010, Google introduced its 'Google Instant' service, which pulled instant search results while users were typing, helping to claw back some of that lost revenue. 

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 15

    Be nice

    Google's unofficial code of conduct is simply "Don't be evil".

  • 17 things you didn't know about Google 16

    A real verb

    The verb "Google" was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006.

    The addition actually upset the company, promoting this official blog post that outlined why the word should remain a trademarked term.


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