How did Google start

Google search

Today, Google search is generally used almost all over the world to search for content on the web. Since the name was given in 1997, Google search has become a central entry point for many web activities. For Google Inc., web search is only part of the overall portfolio. Today the search engine belongs to the Alphabet group. It is the most important platform for delivering text ads or PLA from customers of the Google AdWords advertising program and is therefore the basis for Google's main source of income.


The Google search was planned by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in the USA since 1995.[1] However, the two founders are said to have not yet been able to agree on the exact direction. Finally, in 1996, the two started the first search engine called Backrub at Stanford University in the USA. The university's own servers are also used for operation. Finally, in 1997, Larry and Sergey found their own name for their search engine: Google. They borrow the name from the mathematical term “Googol”. This denotes a one with 100 zeros. A number that roughly describes the huge amount of web content that a search engine has to process for the two of them.

As early as 1998, Google Search was included in PC Magazine's Top 100 websites for the first time. Until 1999, the Google team consisted of just eight employees. In August of the same year, the first offices in Mountain View, California, are occupied.

In 2000, Google search was available in 15 different language versions and the search engine's index, with one billion URLs, was the largest in the world. Other significant steps are the start of the AdWords advertising network and the introduction of the Google Toolbar. With AdWords, the group will soon have enough resources to improve Google search even further. The search function is spread even more widely via the toolbar. In addition, the cooperation with Yahoo! for making Google search the standard for all Yahoo! products.

2001 is an important year for Google because, on the one hand, the image search is started and, on the other hand, Eric Schmidt joins the management team. At the same time, the first location outside the USA is opened in Tokyo. The search index has now grown to over three billion URLs.

The growth of the Google search index is briefly listed here to demonstrate the rapid growth in the index:[2]

  • January 1998 (company formation) 25,000,000 pages in the index
  • August 20001,060,000,000 pages in the index
  • January 20022,073,000,000 pages in the index
  • February 20033,083,000,000 pages in the index
  • September 2004 4,285,000,000 pages in the index
  • November 2004 8,058,044,651 pages in the index

Today the group no longer publishes the exact number of indexed documents. The search engine itself is able to identify new websites. Therefore, for example, no explicit entry is required.

A year later, in 2002, Google search can be used in 72 different language versions. Typical for Google, whose employees prove their sense of humor not only on April 1st: there is also a language version in Klingon. In 2002 the Google search was expanded to include Google News. With Google Shopping, your own product search starts at the same time.

In 2003 the verb “to google” was chosen publicly for the first time in the USA. Since 2004 the verb “googlen” has also been featured in the German Duden[3]In the same year, Google search is available in over 150 countries. Since 2006 the verb “to google” has also had its own entry in the Oxford English Dictionary.

The further history of Google search shows how the search engine company is growing gradually and can occupy other areas. In short, the most important additions to the Google search with corresponding years are given here:

  • 2004: Google Local, orkut, Google Desktop Search, Google Scholar, Google Books
  • 2005: Google Maps, web search for mobile phones, Google blog search, Google Transit, Google Analytics
  • 2006: Google Finance, Google News for Cell Phones, Google Trends; Google Patents, Google Checkout
  • 2008: Google Chrome browser with Google search as standard via the central search bar
  • 2009: Rich snippets in the SERP
  • 2010: Google Places, Google Voice, Google Instant
  • 2011: Google Offers
  • 2012: Google Play is launched as the central location for downloading Android apps; Google Glass and Google Drive, announced by Google Now
  • 2013: Launch of Google Now, Google Chromecast

The result is that the Google search is no longer just a simple web search, but a complex search engine that can be used across devices to search for documents or content. In addition, Google uses its immense store of data to advance universal search more and more. The fact that the Google search is also geared towards more complex search queries is proven, for example, by the expansion of the Knowledge Graph as part of the Hummingbird update.

Search engines, for example, that do not store an IP address or user data are DuckDuckGo and Ixquick.

How it works [edit]

Like all web searches, Google search is based on its own index. To do this, a bot crawls the World Wide Web and collects content and URLs during its search, which are stored on a server. Google uses various indexes to store the content for its vertical search capabilities. For example, there is a separate index for pictures, for books or for mobile websites.

If a user starts a search query via Google, algorithms compare this with the data stored in the search engine index and deliver this data as search results sorted by relevance.

Since 2016, the mobile index has been the primary index for Google.[4]

The search results [edit]

Today, the result lists or SERPs of a Google search are usually structured in a multilayered manner. The individual search results, called snippets, are made up as follows:

  • Title in blue (if the page has already been clicked, it appears in purple): This is usually the meta page title of the website or the title stored in a directory such as DMOZ. If necessary, Google can also adjust the display of the title in order to achieve an even higher relevance for hits
  • Link in green: Google uses this to refer to the link target
  • Description in gray: here either the meta description stored by the webmaster is used or a compilation of the web content of the target page is used
  • Links for other Google functions in blue
  • directly below the search bar, users have the option of using special searches from Google
  • The total number of results and the time required for the search are displayed above the results

Here is an example of a more complex snippet for the search query "Apple":

The so-called "sitelinks" are particularly recognizable here. These are deep links that are automatically integrated into the search result list by Google so that the user can access the other content directly.

Another example illustrates the extension of the snippet with additional information in the form of a "rich snippet":

In addition to the classic snippets within the SERPs, Google can display other elements. This includes the so-called "Knowledge Graph", which provides additional information. Likewise, today Google is able to answer questions. In the USA in particular, Google is already providing answers to medical questions.

The Google Doodle [edit]

The Google Doodle is an adaptation of the Google logo on the start page of Google Search. The doodle is often used to honor famous personalities or to represent holidays such as Halloween. The changes to the doodle are usually well received by the network community. In many cases, the doodles are also interactive.

The Google app [edit]

The Google search is already preinstalled as an app on Android smartphones. It can be retrofitted as an app on iOS or Microsoft devices. The search query can be started via voice control. The command for this is "OK Google". The search app can also answer questions in a similar way to Apple's virtual assistant "Siri".

Google vertical search engines [edit]

Google search is more than just a simple web search. The user benefits from various vertical search functions that are integrated directly into the SERP for suitable search queries.

  • Google Shopping: This is a price comparison portal that is fed via the so-called Merchant Center and bookings via Google AdWords
  • Google Images: a separate index for images can also be searched here using your own uploaded images or with the help of URLs
  • Blog search: This allows users to search specifically for content that is published on blogs. However, the results are not always genuine blog posts. This special search was discontinued in 2011.
  • Location search: The Google search can also be used to search for locations or shops via Google Maps or directly via the search bar
  • Google Books: To date, Google has had many millions of books scanned and made searchable for the search engine. So many scientific books can be searched with the help of Google. However, the service is quite controversial due to copyrights.
  • Google Scholar: this is a search function for the scientific field. Articles, doctoral theses or even monographs can be searched using this search function
  • Google Videos: Google's own video search includes results from normal websites as well as search results from YouTube or other video platforms
  • Google News: With the help of the news search, users can search the web for current topics
  • Google Patents: Google has indexed many thousands of patents here and made them searchable for users worldwide
  • Google Flights: By taking over the provider ITA, Google has also been offering its own flight search since 2011
  • Google Discussions: With this own vertical search function, specific forums such as Google Groups and blog comments can be searched
  • Google Play: central portal for apps that can be installed on Android-based devices
  • Google Trends: This special search shows search trends on a global or regional level. It is also possible to anticipate search trends retrospectively, for example for 2016 or in advance for 2017 or 2020.

Important search engine updates [edit]

Since Google is the market leader in the field of web search in most countries around the world, updates to the search engine algorithms are given particular attention by SEOs. Google itself changes its algorithms at regular intervals. Usually the optimizations are aimed at combating spam.

The following updates are among the most striking in the history of Google search:

  • Panda: this is a Google search filter that is supposed to penalize poor quality websites
  • Penguin: with the penguin update, Google is increasingly fighting webspam
  • Kolibri: Google wants to be able to answer more complex search queries with it
  • Cassandra: This update was mostly about hidden content
  • Fritz: This algorithm change should put an end to Google Dance by generally making the changes in several stages
  • Caffeine: This change to the Google search infrastructure should ensure that more than half of the search results are more up-to-date. The freshness update carried out later also ensured that even more up-to-date results were delivered for search queries relating to topicality.
  • Jagger: This update was mainly for link farms and sites that offer paid links
  • Florida: This was primarily intended to combat spam techniques such as keyword stuffing
  • Allegra: Penalty for sites with suspicious links

In 2016, Gary Illyes confirmed that the Panda algorithm had become part of Google's core algorithm.[5] In September 2016, the Penguin was also integrated into the core algorithm.[6] Since then, both algorithms have been continuously updated and no longer refreshed in large updates.

Search options [edit]

The search results of the Google search can be filtered according to various criteria, such as:

  • Results from a specific country
  • Results in a specific language
  • Release date
  • Literal search
  • Results close
  • Results from private search history

In addition, the Google search offers other special features that have become generally accepted for search functions on the web:

  • Google Instant: Google suggests additional suitable search terms that the user can click on when entering search terms. In the background, the results lists are always updated based on the most relevant terms.
  • Google Suggest: terms are automatically added when entering text

Search operators [edit]

More complex queries can also be carried out using the Google search. The search bar can be used as a calculator or currency converter, for example. In addition, the search results can be restricted with the help of operators. A popular operator for SEOs is the site query, with the help of which the indexed pages of a website can be queried. Google Help has published a list of all search operators that can be used.

Google Custom Search [edit]

Google also offers its search function for webmasters, who then make their website searchable with the help of Google. The advantage of this method is that the users already know the layout of the Google search and have great confidence in the function. The Google Custom Search service is chargeable and can be used from $ 100 per year. For example, the US city of Boston uses the custom search on

Voice-controlled search functions [edit]

Since 2011, users have been able to use the voice-controlled search function in the Chrome web browser. Google has already equipped its Android operating system with voice control. The company has thus also responded to the "Siri" voice control that Apple uses. For the user, the voice-controlled search has the advantage that he can get to the result without typing. Google itself can benefit from voice-controlled search in order to optimize its voice control in general or the translation service Google Translate. The company's goal here is to expand speech recognition so that automatically translated phone calls are possible between people who do not speak a common language.[7]

Modification of search results [edit]

In order to be included in the Google search index, a website previously had to be registered with Google. This is still possible today, but the bots usually discover new content mostly by themselves by following existing links. Since 2012, webmasters have been able to send individual pages directly to the index using the Google Search Console.[8]

However, there is also the opposite case where webmasters want to remove their websites from the index. It makes sense to use the Google Search Console for this. The following aspects can be regulated in this way:

  • Request to delete websites from the Google index
  • Deletion of sitelinks
  • Clear cache

There is more information on this in the Google blog post “How to get rid of unwanted content”.

In order to influence the display of search results in the SERP, SEOs and webmasters have the option of working with so-called “markups” that are used in the context of rich snippet optimization. More information can be found at

Possible reasons for the success of Google search [edit]

Google search was praised very early on for its speed and the precision of the search result lists. It is also the simplicity of the search function, which does not require any further explanation, which users obviously appreciate. In addition, Google understood early on to integrate its search function into all possible end devices and software such as browsers as a standard. Even in the competing browser "Internet Explorer", Google was used as the standard search engine for a long time.

Today, Google probably has the largest search engine index in the world and can therefore provide its users with the best possible results. The constant adaptation to the search needs of the users and the cross-platform know-how that the group was able to acquire through the takeover of Motorola in 2012 put the competition in the search engine market under massive pressure. Only Yandex in Russia and Baidu can currently compete with Google in web search to a limited regional extent.

Criticism of the Google search [edit]

The Google search as a central entry tool for all possible web activities and for research does not always meet with approval. One of the central points of criticism is that by evaluating the index ‘, Google is exerting too much influence on the search results and is therefore no longer an objective search.[9]

This point of criticism is reinforced by the fact that Google delivers personalized search results and delivers the results based on the logged in user or via the activated web protocol.

Especially the personalized search can prevent websites from being displayed in the top positions in the SERP, because the analysis of the user's search history with the help of algorithms determines this. Google itself usually does not see any need to act in this, since in the eyes of the search engine company it depends on the highest relevance of the results and the user should get the results he needs. The web log and the search history should help.

In addition to the criticism of the lack of objectivity of the search function, the increasing functionality of the Google search is viewed critically in SEO circles. With functions such as the Knowledge Graph or the integration of search results from vertical searches as well as the expansion of the ad spaces with product listing ads or other forms of advertising, there is less and less space for organic search hits. In extreme cases, there are only three places left for organic search results for certain search queries. And these hits are then only visible just above the scroll limit. For search engine optimization, this means that only hits in the top 3 count. Phenomena such as paying attention to search hits in 10th place on the first page are no longer as relevant.

Outlook [edit]

The future of web search is discussed again and again. The Google search plays a central role in this. One of the crucial aspects of this search will be the semantic search, which makes it possible to answer even complex search queries. The Hummingbird Update provides the first evidence of this. Marcus Tandler explained what the future of search could look like in a lecture entitled “The Future of Search” at TEDex Munich.

References Edit]

  1. ↑ Company history in detail. Google. Retrieved on December 18, 2013.
  2. ^ "Google" article. Wikipedia. Retrieved on December 19, 2013.
  3. ↑ Duden entry for the verb “googlen”. Duden. Retrieved on December 18, 2013.
  4. ↑ Google goes a step further: Mobile index becomes the primary index of the search engine Retrieved on January 30, 2017
  5. ↑ Gary Illyes confirms Panda as core algorithm Retrieved on January 30, 2017
  6. ↑ Penguin is now part of our core algorithm Retrieved on January 30, 2017
  7. ↑ This is how Google wants to become a language genius Retrieved on December 19, 2013.
  8. ↑ Send function to the index in the webmaster tools Retrieved on January 30, 2017
  9. ↑ Search neutrality: Google is neither democratic nor neutral. Retrieved on December 18, 2013.

Web links [edit]