Google has only been around for a short while and yet has made a major impact on society and culture. People use it for everything from shopping to researching a paper. Heck, we use it all the time! It’s arguably as indispensable as the internet. But what makes Google so unique and successful as a company? Here are 25 facts about Google you’ll be glad to know.
Their name was originally going to be "Backrub."
The early days of Standford’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin first search engine might have been genius but the title was wanting. Yes, originally, they titled it “Backrub” because the engine searched for “back links.” We’re glad they went with Google because “Backrub it” sounds a little awkward.
"Google Mirror" is a rotated version of Google.
If you want to see what things look like on the other side of Google, search for “Google Mirror” and it’ll take you to a page that is completely flipped.
Google is actually a misspelling of "Googol."
After they decided “Backrub” would be a total trainwreck of a name, Sergey and Brin decided on the name “Google” after the mathematical number “googol” which signifies the number 1 by one hundred zeros.
Google Sky gives you a front row seat to the universe.
Everyone knows about Google Earth, the app that lets you explore almost all aspects of our blue planet. But they also have Google Sky, an app that lets you explore stars, constellations and our universe.
You can play "Atari Breakout" in Google Images.
If you go to Google Images and search “Atari Breakout,” it’ll let you play the game on the browser. Give it a shot!
Google helps prevent suicides.
If someone searches for something that potentially could be a red flag for suicide, Google brings up a suicide prevention hotline to help people out.
Google uses a web tool called foo.bar to recruit people.
Google is constantly recruiting and employing people in their massive corporation. One way they do that is a tool called “foo.bar” which checks for people who search for specific programming terms. If you hit some of their criteria, they might ask you to apply for a job.
Google offices are designed so no one is more than 200 feet away from food.
When Sergey Brin worked with architects on their home offices, he commanded that “no one should be more than 200 feet away from food.” Some thought it was just a clever ploy to keep employees in the office longer but apparently, it was really to help with innovative thinking and bringing different departments together.
Google leads the tech industry in R&D spending.
In 2016, Google spent $14 billion in research and development spending, out pacing many other tech giants like Apple and Microsoft.
They rent goats to mow their lawn.
Despite being a leader in the tech sector, Google still entrusts good old fashioned goats to mow its lawn. They rent a herder and 200 goats to come out, eat the grass, and fertilize it in the process as part of a green initiative.
Google loves dogs.
In its employee handbook, Google has a “Dog Policy” section where they allow employees to bring dogs to work. They have caregivers for the dogs, of course. They find employees who can bring their dogs to work are generally happier.
The first Google computer storage was built with Legos.
Sergey Brin and Larry Page built their first computer storage unit out of multicolored Lego Duplo blocks. The Google logo makes so much more sense now.
Page and Brin's private planes have runways in NASA.
NASA doesn’t allow private planes to land on its runways but they made an exception for Page and Brin. Why? Because they made an exclusive deal to place scientific instruments on Page and Brin’s private planes.
Google has generous employee death benefits.
If an employee at Google dies, their surviving spouse will receive a check for 50% of their salary every year for a decade, and there’s no tenure requirement.
Since 1998, Google has acquired more than 170 companies.
Like an unstoppable blob devouring any other company in its path, Google has acquired an insane amount of companies in its tenure. 170 to be exact.
Google has a T-rex at their California headquarters.
Google has a life-size T-Rex said to be molded from real dinosaur fossils at their California campus. His name is Stan.
Google wanted to sell to Excite for $1 million.
Back in 1999, Page and Brin went to Excite CEO George Bell to sell Google to him for $1 million. Even after they got talked down to $750,000, Bell still decided not to buy. Now, Google is worth somewhere around $167 billion and Excite, well, it looks like it got stuck back in 1999.
Google's first tweet was in binary.
Google decided to launch their first tweet in binary, saying “I’m 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010” It means “I’m Feeling Lucky.”
The first Google Doodle was a Burning Man stick figure.
In 1998, Page and Brin wanted to head out to the Nevada desert to attend the “Burning Man Festival” and as a way to let people know, they made the first Google doodle of a Burning Man stick figure.
The minimalist design was because Brin didn't know HTML.
Google started out with a very minimalist design because they didn’t have a webmaster and Sergey Brin said, “I don’t do HTML.” The result was what we have today as they carried the tradition forward ever since.
Google owns common misspellings of its own name.
Google owns a lot of domains, including many that are common misspellings of its own name so it can redirect people to its site.
New employees are called "Nooglers."
If you work at Google, you’re called a “Googler,” but if you just got hired, you’re called a “Noogler.” Fun.
"Google" was added in the dictionary as a word in 2006.
It didn’t take long for the word “Google” to become a real word in the dictionary. It was added as a verb to the Merriam-Webster dictionary in 2006.
Google offers all employees a free lunch.
When was the last time your boss took you out for a free lunch? If you work at Google, you eat lunch for free every day.
One Google search uses more computing power than it took to send Apollo 11 to the moon.
Technology has come a long way. How far? Well, anytime you do a simple Google search, you’re harnessing more power than NASA had back when they launched the Apollo 11 mission to the moon.
Photo: 25. Joe Goldberg via flickr. CC BY 2.0 24. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain) “23. Yot, Hidro add transparency., Googol, CC BY-SA 3.0“”22. M.t.lifshits, Google Sky, CC BY-SA 3.0“21. Fuyuan Cheng via flickr. CC BY 2.0“20. Manos Bourdakis, Αυτοκτονία με την λήψη φαρμάκου-δηλητηρίου, CC BY-SA 3.0“19. Pixabay.com (Public Domain)”18. Film Crew hired by Wikimania 2012 coordinators, Food at Google Opening Reception, CC BY-SA 3.0“17. Creative-Commons-Images.com (Public Domain)”16. Oast House Archive, Goats at Morley Farm – geograph.org.uk – 1851424, CC BY-SA 2.0“”15. SEO007, Too-cute-doggone-it-video-playlist, CC BY-SA 4.0“”14. Christian Heilmann, The first Google computer at Stanford, CC BY 2.0“13. Wikipedia Common.com (Public Domain)”12. Kotivalo, Sleeping angel child figurine on tombstone, Angelniemi churchyard, Salo, Finland, CC BY-SA 4.0“11. Wikipedia Common.com (Public Domain)”10. Ashstar01, Google Mountain View campus dinosaur skeleton ‘Stan’, CC BY-SA 3.0“9. 1Brent Payne via flickr. CC BY 2.08. Pixabay.com (Public Domain)”7. Jennifer Morrow from San Francisco, Burning Man 2013 Burning Man (10227106273), CC BY 2.0“”6. anonymous, Sergey Brin, Web 2.0 Conference, CC BY 2.0“5. Pixabay.com (Public Domain)4. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain)”3. Noah1806, Collegiate Dictionary, CC BY-SA 4.0“2. Brett Lider via flickr. CC BY 2.0 1. Wikipedia Commons.com (Public Domain)