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20 Things You Didn’t Know About Google

We live in the information age. If you don’t know something, you can just Google it. Or Bing it, if you live in some weird, off-brand alternate reality where people actually use Bing. All the world’s knowledge lies at our finger tips, which is pretty chill when you think about it. How often do we really take advantage of that knowledge, however? Do we really know more as a result of the internet, smart phones, and Wikipedia? Well, no. But that’s probably just because you didn’t know to look.

On average every single internet user will access Google’s search engine at least once a day, and yet, most of us don’t know a whole lot about how this website that figures so largely into modern life actually works. What are their business practices? How much do they make in a year? How many people actually use it? And what’s their dog policy?

All of these questions and more shall be answered through these twenty things you didn’t know about Google.

20. They Buy Everything

Youtube

As a reflection of how much they invest, since the start of 2017, Google has, thus far, acquired seventeen companies. It might not be the same frequency they used to buy up companies, but the search engine monolith has a habit of buying up every exciting tech startup it comes across, from relatively small companies that boost their own tech to the likes of Picasa, Android, YouTube and Motorola Mobility.

They also insist employees spend 20% of their work time on their own projects, which they often buy up.

19. Just How Popular It Actually Is

Paramount Pictures

At this very second, there’s something in the region of two million Google searches going on around the world. Overall, the homepage gets 620 million users per day, which is roughly half the population of the world. Which doesn’t mean half the population of the world actually visit the site, but it does mean basically everyone on the internet does.

18. The Homepage Loads Faster Than Any Site

lmgtfy.com

It’s true! That’s why people often use the search engine as a way of testing the speed of their internet connection. Because if it’s struggling with Google, it’ll struggle with everything. All the more impressive when you consider that the sophisticated algorithm takes into account 200 factors to get the best results, all in the fraction of a second.

17. People Freak Out When It’s Down

Channel 4

Google rarely goes down, owing to the reams and reams of servers and hard drive space the company runs on. When it does, though, it can feel catastrophic. That isn’t just hyperbole, however – an outage in 2013 reportedly saw a 40% drop in global web traffic.

That’s not just people trying to access Google, that’s people on the internet period. Nearly half the people using the internet stepped away from their computers as soon as Google stopped working.

16. They’re Dog People

Google

Seriously, it’s in their code of conduct. Whilst Google admit that they like cats as well, they actively encourage people to bring their pet pooches into work and let them roam free amongst the offices, so they warn that feline friends may not be okay with that.

15. And Goats

Google

It’s not just dogs. Google like to talk with the animals, walk with the animals, grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals. That is, they often invite goats over to their offices to feast on the surrounding turf rather than using lawnmowers. Environmentally friendly, and some happy goats!

14. Google Owns A Dinosaur

Google

That’s not a joke. Like, the nerds at Google bought up some really ancient piece of technology or one of the first computers or something and so it’s nicknamed a “dinosaur”. They literally own a dinosaur. The skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was dug up near their building in Mountain View, so they decided to put it on display on campus and named it, erm, Stan.

13. The First Doodle Was A Vacation Note

Google

The Google Doodles have become something of an institution. Nowadays you won’t come to the search engine’s homepage and find the actual logo, but an illustration or animation about a famous event in the day’s history. They have a whole team working on it. And it started with the simple logo variation above in 1998, to let people know founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were off to Burning Man.

12. Street View Doesn’t Just Use Cars

Google

Google Earth was impressive enough as it is, using satellite technology to capture our planet in stunning, interactive detail. Then Street View took things up a notch, letting users wander the roads of the world without leaving their home.

Mostly they’re captured using cameras atop cars, but Google have also used strong-backed hikers to capture mountain trails and, recently, a camel to document the Liwa Desert.

11. Google Pay Mozilla Millions A Year

Giphy

Wait, what? How come Google pays such a huge sum to one of their closest competitors? Mozilla are the producers of open-source browsers like Firefox, but Google considers them partners, not competitors. All of Mozilla’s revenue comes from Google, and in return Firefox uses their search engine as default. The contribution may also protect Google from antitrust complaints.

10. I’m Feeling Lucky Is A Money Sucker

Google

That little button, which nobody really knows the use of – it takes you straight to the first result, instead of to a list of potential results – costs the company $110 million per year in lost ad revenue from people not ending up on the main results page. They keep it on there because users voted unanimously for it to stay, even if they don’t use it. Its presence is just reassuring.

9. But They Make Plenty Besides

Pixabay

In 2017 Google made something like &109.65 billion US dollars. A huge slice of that not insignificant pie came from advertising, which means the ads that turn up on the results pages amount for a great deal of their profits.

8. Yahoo Should’ve Bought Them

Yahoo

Yep, back in the day, Yahoo were offered the chance to buy the fledgling Google. That would’ve kept the former search engine giants at the top of the pile, instead of…wherever they are today. In 1997, the offer stood at $1 million for Yahoo to acquire Google. Today, Yahoo is worth $20 billion, whilst Google (on last count) were worth $200 billion. That’s one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the IT industry.

7. Gogle And Goglr Work Too

Google

Google likes to keep in control of its copyrights. The company has trademarked each letter in their company name (wait, how does that work?), and they’ve also bought up the domains for all the most common misspellings. That means you can reach the search engine by typing in gooogle.comgogle.comgooglr.com or 466453.com. That last one’s Google spelt out on an old phone, obvs.

6. They’re Truly International

Google

Google has the largest network of translators in the world. They’re used by people all over the world. Is there a more internationally-friendly website going? They even added Cherokee as a language in Gmail, which was jolly nice of them. And the homepage is viewable in Klingon, which was jolly nerdy of them.

5. Google Played A Part In The Arab Spring

Wikipedia

Technology and social media, specifically, were celebrated for their key role in political struggles across the Middle East during the revolutionary protests that saw the population fighting back against government oppression. When said oppression took the form of shutting down internet access by protesters, Google teamed up with Twitter to pioneer technology that would let people send tweets by typing messages to a phone number.

4. They’re Going To The Moon

SpaceX

Like, not just to take pictures of it. They’re not making a Google Moon (although how cool would that be?) In early 2004 Google announced plans to build a lunar base, tentatively titled The Googlunaplex. There hasn’t been a whole lot of advancement on that initial announcement, which some have speculated was actually an April Fool’s, but considering the current interest in commercial space travel with stuff like SpaceX? Can’t be far off.

3. And Working On Immortality

Wikipedia

Or at least, Ray Kurzweil is. In 2012 he was hired as a director of engineering at Google, a slightly vague job title which apparently has something to do with the futurist’s attempts to artificially extend his life. Kurzweil is of the opinion that with the right combination of medical science, vitamins, diet and technology, he can live forever. And with Google backing him, he wants everybody to get that chance.

So long as they still use Google in perpetuity, presumably.

2. Their Slogan Is Nice

Orion Pictures

“Don’t be evil.” Simple and sweet. That’s the unofficial slogan, anyway, since it’s probably difficult to translate into an official, Latin one. Google do their best to contribute to good causes, from humanitarian charities to environmental initiatives (their Green program is dedicated to developing renewable energy supplies). Plus the whole feeding goats things is pretty sweet of them, too.

1. Even If It’s Not True

NY Daily News

That’s all well and good, but how about what Google actually do, as opposed to what they say? Some of their strategies are a little worrying, and don’t really fit with the whole non-evil bag. They keep a heck of a lot of private information on file, which was Big Brother-like enough even before all the NSA spying revelations.

Their privacy policy was a little troubling and there was some suggestion that Glass might be bad for your health. Don’t believe it? Google it…

 

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