I was thinking about how Google came to be. The company based out of Mountain View doesn’t just dominate the search engines anymore, their long reach is touching many parts of our offline lives. But what made Google? That’s a big question that’s takes more than a blog post to answer, but if you’re to boil down the company in three key decisions, what would they be? Here’s my take:
Google Decision No. 1:
The #1 reason why Google is Google is because back in 1996 Sergey and Larry decided to include external links as a signal to serve more relevant search listings. With better results, internet users flocked to the fledgling search engine while others were still displaying results based off Meta Keywords.
Goodbye Altavista. See ya later Dogpile. Adios Excite! Buh bye Netscape.
Google Decision No. 2:
The creation of AdWords was introduced in 2000 to help monetize their users. This wasn’t a new concept, but the self-service advertiser program distanced themselves due to their relevant listings.
Google Adwords has been the core driver of Google’s revenue from the outset; still generating around 90% of the company’s revenue. Adwords is the reason Google can invest in all the crazy projects and products that they do.
Google Decision No. 3:
The third decision comes later in Google’s timeline, but it’s no less important. When Google bought Android in 2005, no one knew how huge an impact it would ultimately have on the industry. Today we take Android granted, but at the time, everyone was failing to compete with Apple’s hardware and software.
Sure, Android stumbled out of the gate, but Android wasn’t tied to one device and Google gave the operating system away to carriers for free. Over time, Google poured more resources and the Android OS started proliferating.
As Apple popularized the smartphone and apps, and as more and more users are accessing content online, Google was ready. And without Android, they would be years behind trying to catch up with Apple.
Instead, Apple hasn’t innovated as quickly, which allowed Google to polish their core mobile offerings, and Apple is now playing catch up in a couple critical areas of mobile where Google’s search technology has a significant lead on — like maps and Google Now.
No one is concerned about whether Google is going to be around in ten years. You can’t be as certain about Facebook, or Twitter, and you can’t even be sure that Apple will be as big as they are now in a decade. No doubt, Apple will be around, but will the company be more like Samsung, LG or Nokia — just another device manufacturer relying on device releases to remain relevant in the mobile space?