Google at 20: Understanding Its Background, It’s Success and Failures on Some Products
Yesterday, September 5, 2018, Google was 20 years old. This time frame is extensive for the technology world, and there are not many surviving companies with the same name and structure for such a long period. Google, however, still exists and although its growth has been almost uncontrolled, this has not stopped the structure from becoming just one of the companies of a new company even bigger: Alphabet.
20 years also means that few of our readers were born in a world where Google has always existed. But what are the most famous and most successful products of Google? You probably know the names all of them, but we still want to pay homage to them by going a bit to dig into their history.
Google at 20: Success
The most famous product of Google is Google itself, which is the most famous search engine in the world and that for many are similarity of the Internet itself. There is not much we could tell of the Google search engine you probably do not already know. It was born in 1998 from the intuition that indexation of the World Wide Web based on links between the sites could be better than a more classical one where all the sites on the internet were merely catalogued as if it were a simple index. Thanks to the correlation and the links it was therefore possible for Google to draw up research results that were consistent with the real importance of a particular website.
Since then Google has changed: you can search for images, get answers without leaving the site, be protected from dangerous sites thanks to alerts and much more. The birthday of Google is celebrated on September 27, the date of the first record of views by Google, since the opening of September 4.
Gmail, formerly Google Mail, was founded in 2004 with 1 GB of available space. At that time it was a large quantity, and a year later it was doubled, up to the current 15 GB (shared with Google Drive). Initially, Gmail was by invitation only, and users had only six invitations available. Then the available invitations became 100. It was therefore not difficult to register, but registration by invitation still allowed to check the records and also remained a certain level of exclusivity. In Nigeria, it has been possible to register in normal mode only since 2007. It is just in 2009 that Gmail comes out of the Beta phase, becoming one of the software with the longest Beta status ever. To date, GMail is a real quality standard. There are now many companies and universities that use the G Suite for Business, placing their emails right on GMail servers.
YouTube is probably the most famous product among those we talk about in this article. YouTube was founded in early 2005 just a month after the creation of Google Video, the first true service for amateur and non-Google videos. YouTube’s success was not immediately overwhelming, mainly due to the scarcity of quality content and the speed of user networks. The most successful compared to Google Video, however, pushed Google to acquire YouTube at the end of 2006, then going to close its first service a few years later. YouTube has radically changed the world of news and entertainment, shifting a lot of attention, especially the younger ones, away from the TV and other forms of diffusion, making video content a simple thing, available on request and providing quality content directly in the own smartphone or computer. Over the years, YouTube has introduced features such as live streaming and the Gaming section of the portal, going to conquer more and more significant market segments.
Google Maps launched in early 2005. It has undoubtedly been the service, along with Google Earth whose maps are integrated since 2006, to have attracted more users right away to the Google world. The service has been gradually launched in various countries, and it’s available in Nigeria thanks to Moriwo offering a panoramic street view of Lagos. The integration of the Street View service, which includes real images taken from different sources, has then made even more futuristic and innovative the service offered by Google.
To date, Google Maps is a much larger software than a simple roadmap, which includes site reviews, traffic information, traffic accident notifications, and much more.
Many could not even imagine it, but Android as a company was born before all the services mentioned above (except for Google itself). Founded in 2003 by Andy Rubin (Founder and lead, Essential Phone ) to create mobile phones more aware of our position and our preferences. In 2005 it was bought by Google, and the Android operating system will be officially announced just in 2007, four years after the company was founded. The first commercially available smartphone running Android was the HTC Dream, also known as T-Mobile G1, announced on September 23, 2008
Google at 20: Not everything was a success.
To get to where we are now, Google has launched a myriad of products and not everyone can define themselves as a success. The one that most upset the cards at the table and that still agonizes is Google+. The social network of Google was launched with arrogance so that it had become mandatory and integrated into many Google services. Especially YouTube heavily influences Google+, forcing users to switch from the social network even just to comment. Even today there are traces in the creation of the channels but fortunately, the constraints are less stringent. Still talking about social networks, few users will remember Orkut, a social network founded in 2004 and closed in 2014. People were joining the community, a bit like today’s Facebook groups (or those of Google+). The service had a 53% user base from Brazil and the rest mainly made up of US and Indian users.
One of the most innovative services was then Google Wave, a collaborative production software, which could almost be considered a second life of productivity, where users “met” virtually in the software to work collaboratively. A project that was probably too ambitious, but which at that time had once again demonstrated how Google could push the bar of integration between different services even higher.
Then we close with Google Reader: a service so essential and straightforward that its closure has led to particularly long mourning in the online community. The service had no competitors and did not seem to be in decline, but Google still chose to close the most famous RSS feed reader on the web.
Belated Happy Birthday Google. Please let us know in the comments which were the most important Google services for you.