Last updated: September 27, 2019
Google & Alphabet: 26 Extraordinary Facts
Disclosure: Your support helps keep the site running! We earn a referral fee for some of the services we recommend on this page. Learn more
Think you’re a Google expert?
Maybe your Google-fu skills allow you to find any bit of information that’s ever graced the World Wide Web. You know all the right search tricks, which Boolean operators are allowed, the shortcuts, the easter eggs, the games. Your friends and family know you’re the go-to person for any trivia questions or obscure facts they’re burning to know. With Google at your fingertips, nothing can stop you from seeking out any truth.
But having Google search savvy doesn’t make you a Google expert. There’s a lot more to Google itself than even the savviest searchers know.
Google has grown and changed a lot since its founding in 1998, and there’s a lot of history packed in those years, some of which might surprise you.
You may know that co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin met as graduate students at Stanford, but did you know that Stanford still holds the patent to certain Google algorithms? And that the first search engine Page and Brin created, to be later developed into Google, was named “BackRub”? (“Google” has recently been added to the dictionary, so it’s a good thing they changed it — otherwise talking about Internet searches would be a bit more awkward.)
From its humble beginnings, processing just a few pages per second and taking up just a few 4GB hard drives, Google has expanded to be able to process millions of pages and now has over 100 million gigabytes of data. Even the Google logo has also gone through many changes, including over 2000 Google doodles designed by a team of designers and illustrators, from the very first one in 1998 that featuring Burning Man stick figure.
Fact is, Google has been a unique and unconventional company from the beginning. Here are some weird and crazy facts you never would have guessed about this iconic company.
Transcript: 26 Facts About Google
Do you remember what it was like before you could “Google” something? From it’s revolutionary inception to its commonplace use, Google continues to be an online giant with secrets and idiosyncrasies.
- One of the early versions of Google could process 30-50 pages per second.
- Now Google can process millions of pages per second.
- Google was first stored on ten 4 GB hard drives in a Lego casing, now showcased by Stanford University.
- The Lego design would let the founders expand storage capacity easily.
- The index now has over 100 million GB of data.
- Google’s original name was Backrub, based on the system finding and ranking pages based on back links.
- Since the founders weren’t looking to start their own business, they tried to sell their search engine system.
- Yahoo originally said no, but in 2002 offered to buy Google for $3 billion.
- Google said no, and it’s now valued at $400 billion.
- The name Google was a misspelling.
- One story says investors misspelled the mathematical term “googol” as “google” on a check, and the spelling stuck.
- Another story says that a fellow student misspelled “googol” when looking for an available name for the company.
- Stanford still owns the patent to Google’s algorithm, named PageRank.
- The company’s unofficial motto is “Don’t be evil.”
- In 1998, the Google homepage included a Yahoo-like punctuation mark: the exclamation point!
- The homepage is notoriously sparse because the founders didn’t know HTML to make it fancy, and they wanted a simple user interface.
- At first, you had to press the return key on the keyboard, as they didn’t know how to design a submit button.
- The first Google Doodle was an out-of-office message in 1998 when Brin and Page were traveling to Nevada to attend the Burning Man festival.
- The doodle was a man standing behind the second O.
- They wanted users to know they wouldn’t be available to fix tech issues.
- The first April Fool’s joke was in 2000 when Google announced it’s mind reading ability for searches called “MentalPlex.”
- Until March 2001, the Google homepage was aligned on the right side of the page instead of centered.
- Google added Klingon as a language interface option in 2002.
Google Communications and Apps
- The company’s first tweet was “I’m feeling lucky” in binary code.
- “I’m 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010.”
- In 2006, the Merriam-Webster and Oxford English Dictionaries included the verb “google” in their listings.
- It is a transitive verb, meaning “to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.”
- The Google Street View has about 28 million miles of photographed roads.
- Google’s reCAPTCHA feature uses warped words identified by users for the computers to learn what words are in scanned books.
- Google’s reCAPTCHA helps their computers learn how to read text.
- The computers are able to identify words scanned from books, even if they are warped.
- Google rents 200 goats to “mow” the weeds and brush around headquarters.
- Dogs with strong bladders and friendly dispositions are welcomed in the offices, but cats are discouraged due to the number of dogs present.
- Known for providing gourmet food and snacks to employees, the first Google snack in 1999 was Swedish Fish, a chewy candy.
- Headquarters is full of odd decorations, such as a T-Rex nicknamed Stan, a space ship, pink flamingos, a Lego figure, adult-sized ball pits, Android statues and phone boxes painted in Google colors.
- As employees are called Googlers, new employees are called Nooglers.
The Founders and their Company
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford when Brin was tasked to show Page around the school as a new student.
- Larry Page’s brother was a co-founder of a eGroups, a dot-com company that Yahoo bought for about $500 million in 2000.
- Google acquired YouTube via meetings at Denny’s.
- Google has averaged a new company acquisition each week since 2010.
Since the outset, Google has worked hard to be unconventional and innovative. As an archetype for the modern tech company, Google continues to set the bar for the interesting, offbeat, and creative.
- 10 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Google – mashable.com
- 10 Unusual Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Google – businessinsider.com
- Is Google Redefining ‘Don’t Be Evil’? – cnn.com
- 65 Interesting Facts About Google – businessinsider.com
- 10 Mind-Blowing Facts About Google – businessweek.com
- Google at $400 Billion: A New No. 2 in Market Cap – telegraph.co.uk
- Google’s 15th Birthday: 15 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know – facts.randomhistory.com
- 10 Most Interesting Facts About Google – themost10.com
- The Story of Google Maps – telegraph.co.uk
- Tour Google’s Luxurious ‘Googleplex’ Campus In California – businessinsider.com