Google has long been cloaked in mystery, between its legendary Google X labs (home of the notorious driverless car project) and top-secret search algorithms.
A position at Google is still a dream job for tech and engineering grads around the globe. In fact, the company has a reputation of almost mythic proportions for ingenuity, innovation, and amazing work-life benefits for staff. Once you’ve seen the swim-in-place pools and on-campus hair stylists, it’s easy to see why so many people dream of working for Google.
What’s it really like at Google, though?
You might be surprised at just how little you really know about one of the world’s most creative progressive brands. I know I was, and I’ve been writing about the company’s organic and paid search platforms for years!
WhoIsHostingThis.com put together this fun infographic of crazy facts you probably didn’t know about Google. I’d heard stories about the origins of Google’s name before, but most of these were new to me.
It starts with the early days, which are eye-opening in themselves. Did you know that initially, Google was capable of processing 30 to 50 pages per second–and now processes literally millions per second? Or that the entire search engine was once housed on 10 4GB hard drives in a Lego casing, which is proudly displayed to this day at Stanford University? Can you imagine? Today, Google indexes more than 100 million GB of data. Its growth trajectory has been insane.
Beyond these Google fun facts, you might be surprised to learn that Google actually rents a massive herd of goats on a regular basis, to help manage the weeds on the Mountain View campus property. If you’ve never been to that campus, you probably haven’t met Stan either. He’s just the local T. rex.
On the company itself, I was amazed to learn that it has been scooping up other companies at a rate of one per week since 2010. I mean, I knew Google made a ton of acquisitions, but that’s wild. When he’s considering an acquisition, CEO Larry Page doesn’t even care much about the traditional details like cash flow or earnings. No, he gives it his own “toothbrush test.” Sounds crazy, but it seems to be working.
See how many of these interesting to downright-bizarre facts about everyone’s favorite search engine are new to you:
- 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 4GB 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 backlinks.
- 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.
- The company’s unofficial motto is, “Don’t be evil.”
- Stanford still owns the patent to Google’s algorithm, named PageRank.
- In 1998, the Google homepage included a Yahoo-like punctuation mark: the exclamation point!
- 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. The wanted users to know they wouldn’t be available to fix tech issues.
- 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.
- Until March 2001, the Google homepage was aligned on the right side of the page instead of centered.
- The first April Fool’s joke was in 2000 when Google announced its mind-reading ability for searches called “MentalPlex.”
- 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.
- In 2006, the Merriam-Webster and Oxford English dictionaries included the verb “Google” in their listings. It is a verb meaning “to search for information about (someone or something) on the Internet using the search engine Google.”
- 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.
- The Google Street View has about 28 million miles of photographed roads.
- 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 named Stan, a space ship, pink flamingos, a Lego figure, adult-sized ball pits, Android statues, and phone boxes painted in Google colors.
- While employees are called Googlers, new employees are called Nooglers.
The Founders and Their Company
- Larry Page’s brother was a co-founder of eGroups, a dot-com company that Yahoo bought for about $500 million in 2000.
- Larry Page and Sergey Brin met at Stanford when Brin was asked to show Page, who was a new student, around the school.
- Google has averaged a new company acquisition each week since 2010.
- Google acquired YouTube via meetings at Denny’s.
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