Was there really a time before Google? It’s hard to fathom an age when phone books, encyclopedias and local librarians helped us with our searches. But ever since Google launched with the mission to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” we need travel no further than the blue search box on our computer screen and type our query – 0.25 seconds later, the great oracle replies. More often than not, rather profusely.

The remarkable part is that Google is just a teen, a mere 14 years old this Sept. 7, the date that marks Google Commemoration Day. Although the domain name google.com was registered on Sept. 15, 1997, and the company incorporated on Sept. 4, 1998, the default day to commemorate the site has become Sept. 7.

How is the birthday celebrated? Usually with a festive Google Doodle and a host of Google queries asking “what is google commemoration day?”

10 Google Facts You Might Not Know

To show our appreciation for the ultimate answerer of all, here are 10 of our favorite facts about the big guy who has put all other search sources to shame.

1. There are more than 1 billion searches each day on Google.

2. 20 percent of unique queries are new to the site every day.

3. Since 2003, Google has replied to 450 billion new unique queries — searches they have never seen before.

4. Every query has to travel on average 1,500 miles to get the answer back to the user.

5. The first decorated Google logo, now known as a Google Doodle, was created as kind of cryptic, comical “out of office” message in 1998 when Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin played with the corporate logo to indicate they were going to the Burning Man festival. Since then, the Google doodlers team has created more than 300 doodles for the United States Google site, and more than 700 have been designed internationally.

6. Google’s first tweet: I'm 01100110 01100101 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010. “I’m feeling lucky” in binary code may very well go down in history along with Morse’s first telegraph and Bell’s first phone call.

7. Google rents goats to graze the lawn at headquarters instead of using mechanical mowers. The company get its goats from a company called California Grazing, an operation that involves 200 goats plus a herder and a border collie.

8. To search with an image instead of text go to images.google.com and click the camera icon in the search box. Paste an image URL, drag and drop it into the search box, or upload a picture from your computer to get associated results.

9. You can read the complete texts of public domain books (like "Moby Dick"!) for free by selecting "books" in the left box of your search results.

10. It’s been noted that, like some of the world’s best inventions, the name "Google" was an accident, the result of a spelling mistake made by the original founders who thought they were going for Googol — the digit 1 followed by 100 zeros. Apparently, they weren't able to google it.

Related Google stories on MNN: