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Google’s 12th Birthday: Google’s major milestones

Jayesh Shinde 27 Sep 2010
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It’s Google’s birthday today, the company turns 12. Earlier today, Google released a special doodle to mark its 12th anniversary. Made by artist Wayne Thiebaud, the Google birthday cake ‘doodle’ painting isn’t flashy or cool like earlier animated doodles released by Google in recent memory -- mystery HTML5 doodle, buckyball’s 25th anniversary, Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary, to name a few.

As we all know, there’s more to Google than just its doodles -- which project a lighter side of the online behemoth. On Google’s 12th birthday, let’s take a look back at Google’s major milestones over the years.

1998 -- Google named Top Search Engine
If you didn’t know, Google’s birthday -- Sept 27 -- is actually the day when Google was incorporated as a company back in 1998. The domain Google.com was registered on Sept 15, 1997, when Google decided to shed its uncanny name - BackRub. And within no time, in December, Google.com topped PC Magazine’s list of top search engines on the Internet.

1999 -- Google changes its logo
Apart from opening its first Palo Alto office and shifting to new Mountain View offices, Google dropped the exclamation mark from its logo. It also added a permanent link to search U.S. government documents on its Google homepage.

2000 -- Google supports 10 languages
Not just satisfied to serve English-speaking netizens, Google.com expanded its scope and added support for 10 additional languages: French, German, Italian, Swedish, Finnish, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Norwegian and Danish.

2001 -- Google Image Search, Eric Schmidt on board
Apart from Eric Schmidt joining Google’s Board as Chairman on March 26, 2001, Google also began its acquisition binge by acquiring Deja.com’s Usenet Discussion Service. Google later added search and browse features and relaunch it as Google Groups. Google Image Search also began its online journey in 2001.

2002 -- AOL Partnership, Google Labs for public
A major break for Google came in the form of a partnership with AOL to offer Google search and sponsored links to 34 million customers using Netscape and AOL.com. This was also the year when Google launched Google Labs for people to try out Google’s beta technologies.

2003 -- Blogger.com, AdSense launched

This was the year when Google acquired Blogger.com and launched AdSense which allowed websites to access Google’s vast network of advertisers -- earn a share of its revenue.

2004 -- Gmail, Orkut are born
This was an important year for Google, as it started looking beyond its search engine roots. It launched Gmail on April 1, 2004 -- no April Fools joke -- and its own social networking website, Orkut -- currently India’s No. 2 social networking website. Engineering offices also opened in India for the very first time, in Bangalore and Hyderabad.

2005 -- Google Maps, Earth, Talk, and more...
A busy year for Google as it launched Google Maps and Google Earth for navigation. This was also the year when Google Talk, a free downloadable IM chat client was released. Google also released Google Reader for feed addicts amongst us.

2006 -- Google buys YouTube, releases Picasa Web Albums, Docs
Google entered China with Google.cn domain, providing localized search results -- not knowing it would threaten to move out of China in the coming years. 2006 also saw the birth of Google’s Picasa Web Albums initiative which allowed users to upload and host their photos and images online. Google Apps for domain and Google Docs was also flagged off this year.

YouTube -- the online video sensation -- was acquired by Google for $1.65 billion.

2007 -- Gmail for everyone, AdSense for Mobile
This was the year Gmail was finally made available for everyone by Google -- until then Gmail was only an invitation-based email service. You needed an invite to join. Google also announced AdSense support for mobile platforms. Google also acquired Postini, a crucial stepping stone for greater security for cloud-based services. Presentation also came to Google Docs.

2008 -- DoubleClick acquired, Google Sites launched
Google further strengthened its stronghold on online advertising by acquiring DoubleClick to serve context-sensitive ads more precisely and also greatly empower publishers. Google also launched Sites, an initiative to better collaborate and serve videos, documents, and calendars online. Google Chrome Web browser was also publicly released in December, 2008.

2009 -- New Google Favicon, Latitude service

Google launched a brand new favicon this year -- not a big deal but still an exercise to rebrand the company. Google Picasa was also launched for Macs at Macworld 2009. Google Latitude -- a new Maps feature -- also saw the day of light in 2009.

2010 -- Instant Search, Caffeine Web-indexing
In August, Google released a new Web indexing technique called Caffeine. And soon after it was finished revamping the way it indexed the Web, Google unveiled Instant Search -- possibly the biggest refresh to its end-user interface Web page.

So, today on it’s 12th birthday, Google has become an indispensable part of our online lives and looks ready to enter its teenage. Let’s all hope Google gets past its puberty years relatively unscathed, and all for the better. For more in-depth information on Google's timeline since its inception, visit Google 10th birthday.

Read more about Google:
Google Labs' 10 Coolest Experiments
Google on Caffeine for better Web indexing
Google Instant: Meet Google Search on Steroids