You don’t have to Search far to find this Invention

This week we celebrate one of the most used inventions of the modern era.  If you are reading this, odds are you probably have used this invention to find us.  That’s right, September 4 is the anniversary of the registering of Google.com as a domain.

As this image shows if you are an internet user in the Western world, odds are that you are pretty reliant on Google.

google map

Courtesy of the Daily Mail

According to the map it is the most visited website in much of the world, and that is not just limited to browsers, as evidenced by the fact that many in Latin America use Facebook more than anything else (side note:  notice how Japan is still loyal to Yahoo).  But obviously, like any invention, Google didn’t just immediately take off.  There of course was a backstory to it.

According to Google itself, the infancy of the company began when co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin first met.  Page, who had already graduated from the University of Michigan, was considering moving on to Stanford and took a visit to school.  Brin was assigned to show him around the campus.  In spite of the fact that both of them recall that their first impression of the other was that they were obnoxious, by 1996 the two had already invented their first server, which they named BackRub.  BackRub lasted for slightly more than a year before the two began to focus their energy on Google.

From there, the company took off rapidly.  After being registered in 1998, it was soon receiving start-up funding and incorporated in California.  However, keep in mind that this time period was still somewhat the infancy of the internet for many people.  In fact, the battle for internet supremacy didn’t even involve Google Chrome, it was between Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and the former king of the browsers, Netscape Navigator (remember them)?

Ten years later Google was still not yet the king of the hill, as this very cool time lapse map indicates (Browser Popularity by Country).  Since then, though, it seems to be all Google all the time.  Want to search for something?  Use Google.  Create a document?  Google.  Get directions?  More Google.  Purchase a driverless car?  Well, not quite yet.

But what, besides simple habit today, was it about Google that made it so popular?  Many believe that the answer is quite simple:  as a search engine, it was better than the alternatives.  This was accomplished by Page and Brin working together to make Google search better.  Page was able to create an algorithm that analyzed the relevance of web pages based on hyperlinks.  In an obviously very complicated process, Page then created a system for ranking the web pages on their relevancy – a system referred to as PageRank (which is a reference both to web pages and Page himself).  At this point Page needed help, so he recruited Brin to help write the software to make it all work (Low End Mac).  

And clearly it did work.  In September of 1998 it was incorporated.  In December of that same year, PC Magazine had already noticed how effective Google was in sorting web results, stating that it “has an uncanny knack for returning extremely relevant results”.  Today, the company has become so successful it has almost become synonymous with doing anything on the computer and has changed much of the way that we view computers today, including the bold idea (not just from Google) that things should be free.

At US Patent Services we can’t quite give all of our stuff away for free, but we do have some free additions that are available with purchases.  Feel free to check them out – you won’t even need Google to find us, as I’ve conveniently hyperlinked our website’s homepage to this blog.  Enjoy your shopping!