Big, powerful Google marks 10th birthday

Online search leader Google.com celebrates its first decade this weekend, with Associated Press calling the US$150-billion company “the world’s most powerful 10-year old”.

The AP reports here and here chronicles the ups and downs of Google as the company forges ahead.

The official Google history remembers the company’s founding in 1998 this way:

In September 1998, Google Inc. opened its door in Menlo Park, California. The door came with a remote control, as it was attached to the garage of a friend who sublet space to the new corporation’s staff of three. The office offered several big advantages, including a washer and dryer and a hot tub. It also provided a parking space for the first employee hired by the new company: Craig Silverstein, now Google’s director of technology.

Already Google.com, still in beta, was answering 10,000 search queries each day. The press began to take notice of the upstart website with the relevant search results, and articles extolling Google appeared in USA TODAY and Le Monde. That December, PC Magazine named Google one of its Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines for 1998. Google was moving up in the world.

Today, Google is at the frontlines of the growing internet.

What I like with Google is the simplicity that marks most of products and services, starting with Google Search and Gmail. I have yet to try out extensively Google’s new browser, Chrome, though I am already encouraged by the praises coming from my friends and online kin.

Whether Google will overtake Yahoo! as the Filipinos’ preferred online search engine, we still do not know. Yahoo!, Yahoo! Mail, Flickr and Yahoo! Groups had a long headstart in the country that cemented Filipinos’ loyalty (I still keep and use my Yahoo! Mail address although I mainly use my Gmail). It would take extra effort to perhaps wean us totally away.

Except for serious questions on how Google uses the enormous amount of personal information, whether through self-censorship (as in China) and cooperating with the mad “terrorism” cause of governments (of the US and other jingoistic regimes), I have no quarrels with Google and in fact have huge praises for the company’s progressive advance.

Google is also the foil to the big companies Microsoft and Apple, and for that I am very grateful. I just hope Google behaves well as a leader and not endanger its generally good standing through violations of the rights of those who avail of its services and products.

To Google, onwards to the next 10 years!

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