Google turns 20 years old

On September 4, 1998, Google was formally incorporated, which is considered as the company’s official “birthdate.” After 20 years, Google’s gone from being a would-be challenger to then-titan Yahoo (the polar opposite of today’s Yahoo situation), to being one of the main tech titans alongside Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Facebook.

Statista created the following infographic about some facets of Google and its history. My comments about each of them follows.

Infographic
Infographic by Statista (CC BY ND)

Google Doodles

Flintstones Google logoGoogle’s had more than 2,000 different Doodles, on a wide variety of topics. They’re also often timed to international or country-specific holidays and historical events, such as Martin Luther King Day or LGBT Pride Month.

On the cartoon side of things, in 2010 Google came up with Doodles for both Scooby-Doo (at Halloween) and the Flintstones’ 50th anniversary. Still, it seems odd that one of the biggest tech titans never created a Doodle for the futuristic Jetsons,¬†versus the “modern Stone Age” family. However, we did get a Doodle for that other major 60s set in the future, “Star Trek.”

Google logos

Google’s gone through seven different logos. I wrote about the most recent change in 2015, when Google switched to a sans-serif font.

Google milestones

Google’s added a lot of services over the years. Since 2003, AdSense has become a fundamental part of the company’s operations. Over the 2000s and 2010s, GMail, YouTube, Android, and Chrome also became fundamental Google features.

On the lesser side, Google+ never did take off as many, including myself, had hoped. Which is too bad, as Google+ fixes some of the major flaws of Twitter and Facebook: no algorithmic timelines; no blocking/throttling post views unless you pay, as Facebook does for Pages; and better organizational features. But since relatively few people use it, it doesn’t work well as a social network.

Barring some massive change, it seems Facebook and Twitter (especially the former) are the be-all and end-all of social media for most people, no matter what happens. Granted, there’s no real alternative that does what Facebook/Twitter does without some downsides or drawbacks (as comics creator Greg Pak outlined on Twitter recently).

Market share

MacBook laptop with Google
Photo by 377053 (Pixabay / CC0)

As for the market share categories…

Search

Google dominates the search engine category to such a degree, its very name’s become a verb for web searching (“Google it”). However, a few alternatives have come to exist, most prominently Microsoft’s Bing and the privacy-minded DuckDuckGo.

Mobile OS

As I wrote in 2016, the mobile OS wars are over, with your choices being Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. The latter, of course, runs on a larger variety of phones; said phones are also usually cheaper than Apple’s iPhone.

Browsers

Chrome’s displaced Internet Explorer (now Edge) and Firefox as the most popular web browser. It’s even a fundamental part of Chrome OS, the operating system that Chromebooks run.

Smart speakers

One area Google doesn’t dominate is the smart speaker category; Amazon’s Echo line is the most popular smart speaker on the market.

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