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Founded in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google is an Internet search and advertising corporation. The company also has a suite of products linked with mobile phone software, social networking, large-scale data management, and e-mail and office productivity. The name Google is derived from “googol,” a term denoting the number one followed by one hundred zeroes.

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Page and Brin were Ph.D students at Stanford University when they came up with the idea of an Internet search engine that would display search results based on the relationship between websites. Initially, Google ran under the Stanford University website as until the domain was registered in September 1997. The company Google was incorporated a year later. In early 1999, Page and Brin felt that development of the search engine was taking time away from their respective academic pursuits. So they decided to sell the technology but there were hardly any buyers. Finally Page and Brin were able to raise more than $25 million, which enabled them to begin their own company. In 2004, Google had its initial public offering (IPO) after which the company had a market capitalization of more than $23 billion.
In 2000, Google began selling advertisements linked with specific search terms. Soon after, it acquired Deja, Pyra Labs, Genius Labs, Picasa and other smaller companies in an attempt to acquire niche technologies. Other companies bought by Google include Keyhole, Inc., YouTube, DoubleClick, GrandCentral, Aardvark and Agnilux. Google has also entered into partnerships with other companies for purposes of research, advertising, education, etc. However, the company's most popular service is its Internet search engine also called Google. Market research claims that it is the most widely used search engine in the United States. In fact, the term "google," now a part of Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and Oxford English Dictionary, denotes "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet."
Google has faced a certain amount of questioning regarding its privacy policy and management of data. Rights group Privacy International rated the company as "hostile" to privacy in a report that ranked web firms by their method of data handling. The massive amount of user data gathered and stored, incomplete privacy policies and poor record of responding to complaints are said to be behind Google's low ranking.
Google's headquarters are located in Mountain View, Calif. In 2007 and 2008, it ranked first on Fortune magazine's list of best companies to work for.
(Text by Lakshmi Jagad)
Photo: Wikipedia

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