Certain brands are synonymous with their functions: you wipe your nose with a Kleenex, you apply Chapstick when your lips are dry, and you Google something when you don’t know an answer. This firmly-held position as the world’s favorite search engine makes Google one of the most powerful global brands.
A New Way to Search
Google is, at its core, a search engine with a rigorously developed method for answering searches that involves prioritizing sites which are mentioned on other sites in addition to those that closely match the search phrase. This is part of the constantly evolving Google algorithm.
The company’s mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” This mission has remained static for the 20 years that Google has existed, and today users all over the world can receive answers to their search queries in just fractions of a second.
Famous for its company culture, Google emphasizes innovation by fostering an open and flexible environment on its campus. This means unusual workspaces, plenty of recreational areas to blow off steam, and an overarching sense of camaraderie, despite being one of the largest companies in the world.
Although Google started out as a search engine, it has expanded to almost every virtual industry imaginable.
Dorm Room Dream to Global Glory
Google was started in 1998 by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, when the two were students at Stanford. When Brin and Page first developed the early version of Google in Page’s dorm room, they did so with the supposition that sites containing more links were likely more reliable than those with very few links.
Because of this, Google became the first search engine to reward heavily linked sites with a higher search engine rating, and therefore more exposure. Brin and Page had raised $1 million to pursue their project by mid-1998; the next year, they received $25 million in venture capital funding.
In 2000, the popular site Yahoo! enlisted Google as its client search engine. This move thrust Google into public consciousness so that by the time Yahoo! ended its working relationship with Google in 2004, Google was receiving 200 million searches a day.
As the search engine’s popularity continued to take on steam throughout the early 2000s, Google began to move beyond simply returning searches. Recognizing the significant power they wielded in terms of information delivery, Google capitalized on business’ increasing reliance upon them with Google Ads. This pay per click system gives companies the opportunity to do things like big on keywords.
Google has also moved into offering more user services. Things like gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, and even Youtube fall under Google’s scope. They have also recently ventured into the hardware arena, with products like its Google Pixel smartphone and Chromebook laptop.
Now, the Google umbrella encompasses such a robust lineup of tools and services that it’s becoming difficult to disentangle Google from the experience of using the Internet at all.
Adrift in A Sea of Almost-Competition
Google’s early search engine competitors like Alta Vista and Yahoo are brands all but forgotten today. Even other email providers, like AOL and hotmail have fallen by the wayside as Google has gained dominance. There are, however, a few strong competitors that Google still has to watch out for—but only in specific aspects of its business.
For example, Apple is an obvious roadblock for Google in its quest to move into the computer and smartphone space. The Google Play Store even comes in direct competition with Apple’s App Store (a division of the company that continues to grow rapidly). However, Google poses a serious threat to Apple’s dominance as the world’s most valuable company, having grown by a whopping 23% in 2018.
Perhaps less obviously, Amazon is another Google competitor. This is because many consumers will search directly on Amazon for products, thus jilting Google’s Shopping feature.
Google Appears Everywhere
Without even realizing it, consumers are constantly utilizing Google services. Whether it’s browsing the Internet with Google Chrome, checking your emails on your Gmail account, or uploading documents to Google Drive, chances are you’ve patronized Google more than a few times in the last week alone. In fact, the average person conducts 3-4 searches every day.
What does this mean in terms of Google’s efforts to maintain visibility in the saturated market of tech? Everything. When you’re utilizing a service everyday, you don’t need reminded how useful it is to you. That’s exactly the position Google finds itself in now.
Can’t Topple This Titan
Like many companies in the tech industry, Google has faced allegations of sexist behavior. This came to a head in 2018 when a woman alleged that a Google executive had behaved inappropriately with unwanted physical advances, and that executive was offered millions to leave the company quietly.
The entire situation spurred walkouts from employees, the fallout from which sent Google reeling for an agreeable solution. Though the company appears to genuinely hope to make amends for its past irreverence, the statistics indicate that the general public isn’t all that worried about how Google handles its scandals—they’ll keep utilizing the company’s services anyway.
Googling Is Second Nature
As the second most valuable company in the world, it should come as no surprise that Google dominates the search engine space with a market share of more than 90%. As growth and innovation continue to be the lifeblood of Google, it’s hard telling just how high this brand will rise.
So pervasive is the practice of searching Google that it has even broken into the lexicon in verb form: googling is one of the most common activities on Earth.
As Google continues to gobble up market share in a number of industries, one thing is clear: if knowledge is power, the service with all the answers must certainly have a lot of it.