25 interesting or outright quirky facts about Google!

SustainabilityAppdrawn Team | Published 4th September 2023
Happy 25th Birthday Google! We thought we’d put together a list of 25 fun and unusual facts you may or may not know about the tech giant.

Happy 25th Birthday Google! Or is it? Over the years, Google has celebrated its birthday on multiple dates including the 7th, 8th, 27th and 28th September; at least they stick to the same month! According to one employee, ‘the exact date when we celebrate our birthday has moved around over the years, depending on when people feel like having cake.' Google was officially incorporated on 4th September 1998 which is 25 years ago today. In order to celebrate this colossal force of the computing world, we thought we’d put together a list of 25 fun and unusual facts you may or may not know about the tech giant.

  1. The name Google was inspired by the mathematical term “googol” which is the number one followed by a hundred zeroes. The creators landed and settled on this word, as it rather aptly symbolised the vast amount of data they were searching through. The reason they ended up with ‘Google’ as opposed to ‘Googol,’ is purely the result of a misspelling on a company name check that just kind of stuck.
  2. Google Doodles are the fun iterations of the Google logo, that celebrate and acknowledge festive holidays, significant anniversaries or the lives of famous pioneers within the sciences and arts. To date, more than 5,000 Google Doodles have been produced. The first ever 'google doodle' featured a man standing behind the second ‘O,’ depicting the Burning Man Festival of 1998. The reasoning behind this was that the founders - Brin and Page - were due to attend the festival in Nevada and they wanted to let people know why they were out of the office and thus wouldn’t be able to attend to or fix any technical issues that may crop up.
  3. Not that shocking a fact but as of August 2023, Google is the world's most visited website with 93,400,000,000 visits. This is followed by sister company YouTube with 82,800,000,000 visits. Placing 3rd is Facebook with significantly less traffic with 11,400,000,000 visits.
  4. Google’s headquarters - known as the Googleplex - is situated in the heart of the tech capital, Silicon Valley, California. Their premises are huge and boast a lot of greenery. Despite being a tech giant at the forefront of cutting edge design, they have opted for a rather traditional, slightly unconventional method when it comes to lawn maintenance. No automatic lawn mowers here. Google hires goats. Yes - you read that correctly! Every so often, a herder from a local company - California Grazing - brings along a 200 strong herd of goats to the Googleplex to help Google achieve their lawn goals. They will roam around the grounds for a week at a time, not only chomping the grass but fertilising it too, in nature’s way. You may think we are making this up but apparently a border collie by the name of Jen helps herd the goats; her managerial expertise has earned her an official spot on the Google payroll.
  5. Google Headquarters is home to a rather eclectic collection of installations. There is a full scale replica of Paul Allen/Virgin sponsored SpaceShipOne, a flock of pink flamingos of the plastic lawn variety, adult-sized ball pits, Android statues and phone boxes painted in the Google colours (blue, red, yellow, and green). At the Googleplex, you will also be greeted by a giant, bronze statue of a Tyrannosaurus Rex, who goes by the name of Stan. According to the rumour mill, Stan’s presence is to serve as a reminder to the Googlers (Google employees) to stay at the top of the innovation game thus avoiding extinction.
  6. We felt that the android statues mentioned in the previous fact were worthy of their own separate point. Prior to the numerical naming scheme  - Android 10, 11, 12 etc - the different versions of Google’s mobile operating system were originally named after desserts and other sweet treats. Names include Oreo, KitKat and Ice Cream Sandwich! The Android lawn statues were all modelled after these sweet treats. For example,the Android mascot representing the operating system Lollipop, is holding a giant lollipop!
  7. The launch of the Google Image Search was inspired by the iconic green Versace dress that Jennifer Lopez wore to the 2000 Grammy Awards ceremony. Jenny from the Block’s outfit caused quite the stir, quickly becoming the most popular search query on Google. However, there was no way to actually see the dress! As a result, Google thought ‘let’s get loud’ and on 12th July 2001, the Google Image Search launched with a bang, dropping 250 million images for users to browse to their heart's content.
  8. Of all the calendar days to choose from, Google decided to announce its then new email service G-mail, on April Fool's Day in 2004. Unsurprisingly, many thought it was a joke!
  9. To google, or not to google? Like the Bard himself - who is credited with the invention and introduction of over 1,700 words into the English language - Google are also neologists of sorts. In 2006, the verb 'to google' was officially recognised and added to both the Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries, with its definition as follows: "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the World Wide Web". Just call them Google Bard … oh wait…
  10. Following on from our previous point, the first reference of ‘to google’ being used as a verb on TV was in an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on 15th October 2002. Fighting against the vampires, Google is clearly team Jacob!
  11. Back in 2009 a programmer at Google broke the internet. This was 5 years before the phrase ‘broke the internet’ was coined following Kim Kardashian’s viral magazine cover. However, rather than being a viral phenomena, this had quite the opposite effect whereby the internet was literally broken. The Google programmer in question had accidentally added '/' to Google's blocked website registry. Practically every website ever created includes a '/' in its domain name, so nothing online could be accessed.
  12. In 2017, Google became the first company of its size to achieve 100% renewable energy. What is meant by that? Well for every kilowatt hour of electricity they consumed - be it coal or natural gas - they matched it with a purchase or contribution of a kilowatt hour to a renewable energy project (wind or solar). We think the clincher was opting for the goats over the lawn mowers! As the demand for Google products grows and new data centres and offices are being built, so increases Google’s consumption of electricity. They are constantly investing in renewable energy projects and are actively seeking to open up the renewables market in areas that don’t yet have access.
  13. It is clear from this list alone that the folk at Google have a sense of humour. They forever have tricks up their sleeves. For example, if you were to search 'askew' in Google, the results page is crooked. Type in anagram and you are cheekily asked ‘Did you mean: nag a ram.’ A really impressive one is when you type in ‘Do a barrel roll’ and the whole screen rotates!
  14. Before settling on the name Google, the company’s original name was BackRub. It was a name or concept inspired by the system’s analysis of the web's backlinks to understand how important a website was and ranking it accordingly.
  15. For years Google’s unofficial slogan or company motto within their code of conduct was, “Don’t be evil.” It was later replaced with “do the right thing” in 2015. In the early days it was a simple philosophy to operate by: don’t let advertisers buy their way to the highest ranks, don’t charge people for finding information and don't bombard users with ads on the homepage. As Google expanded, thus did the level of scrutiny on their do-good mantra. What started out as a formative guiding principle became a rallying cry for Google’s critics and workforce. Those three words have been the premise upon which many of the inhouse protests have been based on. In 2018, the famous three words were quietly moved to the end of their code of conduct in an amended version “And remember … don’t be evil, and if you see something that you think isn’t right — speak up.”
  16. Google has over 100 language interface options to choose from including Klingon. Yep - the language of the warlike humanoid alien species in Star Trek. Google boldly went where no search engine has gone before and added it back in 2002. May this language option live long and prosper!
  17. Google processes approximately 99,000 search queries every second. In a day, that equates to a whopping 8.5 billion searches! You will be amazed to know that 15% of the queries made every day are completely original.
  18. Google’s first ever tweet on Twitter - now X - consisted mostly of binary code. It read, “I’m 01100110 01100101 01101100 01101001 01101110 01100111 00100000 01101100 01110101 01100011 01101011 01111001 00001010,” which means “I’m feeling lucky.”
  19. Google continues its dominance as the most popular search engine with a 92.82% market share of the global market in 2023.
  20. You may or may not know this but Google is partially blocked in China. Despite being the most popular search engine on the planet, holding approximately 92.82% of the global SE market, Google is one of many websites that has been partially blocked or heavily censored by the Chinese government. All Google services such as Gmail, Drive and YouTube are inaccessible. If you do a Google Search on google.com or google.cn you would be redirected to google.com.hk. Any search done on the Hong Kong servers are heavily keyword filtered by the Great Firewall, which is China’s nationwide internet censorship system. If you were there on holiday and wanted to look up information or a location, you would have to use an alternate search engine such as Baidu - Google’s rival in China - or get around it by using a VPN.
  21. The founders of Google - Sergey Brin and Larry Page - nearly didn’t meet. Page had recently completed his computer engineering degree at the University of Michigan and was debating whether to attend Stanford University to do his PhD. Brin was  already doing his PhD at the latter. He was assigned to give Page the campus tour. A momentous meeting that changed the course of computing history forever.
  22. From one historic meeting to another, Google negotiated a deal for YouTube over a plate of mozzarella sticks at Denny's. According to YouTube co-founder Steven Chen, "We didn't want to meet at offices, so we were like, where's a place that none of us would go?'" The meeting spot ended up being a Denny's in Palo Alto, California. Whilst munching on some mozzarella sticks, a casual $1.65 billion deal was made.
  23. Current Google employees are Googlers, new employees are Nooglers and Xooglers are people who used to work for Google. The latter is a title bestowed to those who are deemed very experienced within the IT world. As part of your induction as an employee at Google, you are provided with a colourful hat fitted with a propeller, which is compulsory uniform for your first company wide meeting.
  24. Initially, the Google search engine’s indexed data was stored on ten 4GB hard drives encased in some lego. Why? Because it was a storage option that was easily expandable. This original case is now on display at Stanford University.
  25. Since 2010, Google has been acquiring, on average, more than one company per week. Companies under the Google umbrella include Fitbit, Waze and Calico.
Appdrawn Team | Updated 5th September 2023

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