A quarter of a century ago today, two young Stanford University students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin created one of the world’s most prominent tech companies in the world, Google.

Between the walls of their dorm rooms, Larry and Sergey built an empire off a tool that that most people nowadays cannot survive without. Google has become a major influence in the way most of the world population uses technology. Apart from being the most popular search engine in the world, Google offers multiple products and services including email, cloud, maps, educational programmes, marketing platforms, translation systems, YouTube, Android and many more.

Larry Page (left) and Sergey Brin (right), founders of Google

In the early days, after changing the name from ‘Backrub’ to Google, it attracted multiple academics and most importantly, Silicon Valley investors. After receiving their first $100,000 investment by Andy Bechtolsheim, Dr Page and Dr Brin launched Google Inc. and shifted their workspace to an “office”, a garage in California that was owned by Susan Wojcicki, who later became CEO of YouTube.

The company grew exponentially and, at the time, it already employed hundreds of people including engineers and sales teams as well as having their company dog, Yoshka. After years of success, in 2005 Google Inc. bought Android and eventually acquired YouTube in 2006. In 2012, Google made its biggest purchase, that of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.

Sexual misconduct, workplace culture and AI threats

Not everything was sunshine and rainbows for Google, especially in recent years. Scandal erupted in the tech-giant’s world after being accused of protecting three executives after being accused of sexual misconduct. These were Amit Singhal, Andy Rubin and Richard DeVaul.

The New York Times exposed Andy Rubin, former creator of Android, that he has been accused of sexual misconduct with a Google employee. When Google investigated, it had found the allegations to be “credible” and he was let go in 2014. Nonetheless, despite not being legally required to do so, Google paid Andy Rubin a $150 million stock grant along with a $90 million exit package.

Following news that Google had payed Mr Rubin an exit package, many employees across the world stormed off in a series of walkouts to protest claims of sexual harassment, gender inequality, equal pay and systematic racism.

Artificial Intelligence has become a serious threat for the tech company. Despite still having a 93 per cent global market share in the internet search industry, many are turning to ChatGPT.

Bard, Google’s own AI chatbot, has not yet managed to have such an impact. Nonethless, it is far too early to write off a company that has had such a deep impact in people’s everyday lives for the past 25 years.

Hey Google, happy birthday!


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