The story of Google so far is a remarkable one and within it provides many lessons. One of the first lessons to possess is that a powerful corporation can always be disrupted and surpassed if the smaller company can provide a product or service by using a divergent thinking process or by creating a niche. This became apparent with the rise of a 1996 project entitled ‘BackRub’ by two Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin at Stanford University, and the purpose of this project was to search through pages on the world wide web and allocate ranks to them based on the importance of the websites that linked back to those pages.
They registered the website name Google in 1997, and in 1998 worked out of a garage in Menlo Park, California that belonged to Susan Wojcicki, an early employee at Google and currently the CEO of YouTube.
Later that year they received angel investments of $100,000 from Andy Bechtolsheim the co-founder of Sun Microsystems, including investments from Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos, entrepreneur Ram Shiriam, and professor David Cheriton.
In 1999 Google secured $25 million investment from two of the biggest venture capital firms in Silicon Valley, Sequoia Capital, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. This gave Google some time and space to improve their product offering and Eric Schmidt was brought in as CEO to provide ‘adult supervision’ to the young company in 2001 in a combined effort by Kleiner Perkin’s john Doerr and Seqouia’s Michael Moritz to keep a closer eye on their investment.
After a successful interim period Google offered an IPO in 2004, and the founders became billionaires.
Google’s search product became phenomenally successful and the term ‘Google’ became known as a verb within the Oxford English Dictionary.
The company diversified into other areas such as phones, storage drives, translation, mapping, social networks, email, browsers, and a number of other avenues. Not all of them were successful, nevertheless that has increased their drive to push technology forward. One area that is being worked on now is the reality of driverless cars, and the possibilities for this reality are both exciting and challenging for the future.
In 2015 a new company was formed to serve as a parent company for Google. It is called Alphabet Inc., and it is currently the 2nd most profitable company in the world with revenues of over $90 billion last year.
The future will tell if the disrupters will become disrupted by other young people starting a company in an enclosed space, or in a part of the world that is completed overlooked.
The Google story: Bloomberg Game Changers