Google is so synonymous with online search that the company's name has been officially listed as a verb in the Oxford English Dictionary since 2006. With a value of $101.8 billion, Google is the second-most valuable brand in the entire world, behind only Apple.
Google's massive network includes platforms like Android, Chrome and Google TV. Its highly profitable advertising products include AdWords, AdSense and Google Local. It also delivers mobile mainstays like Google Maps, cloud services like Google Drive and brands like YouTube that are juggernauts in and of themselves.
The history of Google dates back to 1998 at Stanford University, where the two students who founded Google first met. They are now among the wealthiest people in the world.
Sergey Brin Net Worth: $44.6 Billion
Sergey Brin, who created Google with fellow Stanford doctoral student Larry Page, currently serves as the president of Alphabet, Google's parent company. Brin used to run the company's clandestine Google X division, birthplace of the now-defunct Google Glass .
Not only one of Google's co-founders, Brin is also America's richest immigrant. He fled with his family from Russia to the United States to escape anti-Semitic hostility in his home country. The politically active Brin has been a vocal opponent of the Trump administration's proposed immigration ban.
A self-made man, Brin is divorced, has two children and lives in Los Altos, Calif.
Larry Page Net Worth: $45.9 Billion
Larry Page, the other inventor of Google, currently serves as Alphabet's chief executive officer. According to Forbes, Page is using his own money to fund two secretive startup companies that are believed to be working on flying cars.
Page, a well-known advocate of clean energy, lives by example. He uses geothermal energy and fuel cells to power his homes, according to Forbes.
Also a resident of Northern California, Page is married with one child.
When Page and Brin were at Stanford in the mid-90s, the World Wide Web had emerged as a powerful and exciting new research tool that allowed users to create pages they could link to other pages developed by users. The problem, however, was that the vast collection of links had never been organized or mapped, making it difficult to search the network for individual pages or ideas.
In pursuit of a research dissertation project, the pair developed search bots called spiders that could crawl through a web page, analyze and catalog its content. They started with a single web page, and then turned their bots loose on the entire web.
The end result was a system that allowed users not just to find any page on the web, but a ranking system that allowed them to see what other users thought about that page. Modern search was born.
The word "Google" is synonymous with online search, both literally and figuratively. Google's search engine is still the company's most widely used product. Nearly three-quarters of the world's search goes through Google, which attracts 1.6 billion unique monthly visitors. Bing, its next closest competitor, gets just 400 million .
But the world's most famous search engine is just one part of the Google brand. Here are some of Google's other highly successful products:
- In 2004, Google released a free email platform called Gmail. Eight years later, Gmail surpassed Hotmail as the world's most popular email service.
- Google released Maps one year after it unveiled Gmail. Today, Maps is the most widely used mapping application for both mobile and web users.
- With 44.5 percent of the market share, Google Chrome owns the title of world's most popular web browser.
- Google Docs is a cloud-based word-processing system that provides automatic saving and allows collaborative work.
- Google Analytics revolutionized how businesses, marketers and individuals monitor the traffic on their websites.
In all, Google boasts more than 200 products and brands, including Google News, YouTube, Blogger, Chromecast, Android, Google Hangouts and Waze.
Google as a Giver
Google is among the world's top charitable corporations. It developed an entire philanthropic arm, called Google.org, which is dedicated solely to creating and distributing grants to organizations across the world that are working toward solutions for some of the world's most pressing challenges.
Google is a philanthropic powerhouse domestically, too. In 2017 alone, the company gave more than $11 million to criminal justice reform and $50 million to education nonprofits. The company also developed a comprehensive gift matching and work/volunteer program to encourage philanthropy, charity and community service among its employees.
Google is among the most instantly recognizable and widely used brands in the world. From the dawn of the digital age in 1998, the rise of the internet ran parallel to the rise of Google. The company's trailblazing co-founders watched their fortunes rise right along with it.