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Last Updated : Sep 27, 2018 06:39 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Google at 20 | From search engine to self-driving cars: How Google became a pop culture phenomenon

As Google turns 20, here's a look at how the search engine ingratiated itself with people across the world, right up from its conception, to the teenage years, and looming adulthood.

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In modern history, no individual company has had the kind of influence Google has had in shaping every aspect of contemporary life. In its infancy, Google was a conduit for the inquisitive to quench their thirst for information. It went on to dislodge other players in the market for search engines, establishing a monopoly on how people access the internet. After two decades of driving innovation, Google today has a finger in every pie baked in Silicon Valley. Despite foraying into other emerging technologies, Google has remained true to its roots. It continues to tweak its search algorithm to weed out malicious links, fake news, and other disruptive forces lurking in the dark recesses of the internet. As Google turns 20, we take a look at how it ingratiated itself with people all over the world, right up from its conception, to the teenage years, and beyond.
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In modern history, no individual company has had the kind of influence Google has had in shaping every aspect of contemporary life. In its infancy, Google was a conduit for the inquisitive to quench their thirst for information. It went on to dislodge other players in the market for search engines, establishing a monopoly on how people access the internet. After two decades of driving innovation, Google today has a finger in every pie baked in Silicon Valley. Despite foraying into other emerging technologies, Google has remained true to its roots. It continues to tweak its search algorithm to weed out malicious links, fake news, and other disruptive forces lurking in the dark recesses of the internet. As Google turns 20, we take a look at how it ingratiated itself with people all over the world, right up from its conception, to the teenage years, and beyond.

Google Search | Information on any subject is only a few keystrokes away. In common parlance, ‘Google’ is often used as a verb and the term ‘Googling’ has come to represent the act of searching for information. Google’s first product is now synonymous with looking up the internet.
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Google Search | Information on any subject is only a few keystrokes away. In common parlance, ‘Google’ is often used as a verb and the term ‘Googling’ has come to represent the act of searching for information. Google’s first product is now synonymous with looking up the internet.

Gmail | Google started sending out invites to its email offering in 2004. The beta release managed to cope with the concerns of storage space on the internet. It was made available to the public in February 2007. As the Google Apps suite took shape in 2009, Gmail was integrated with it, forming the capstone of the company’s effort at connecting people in the breakout years of electronic communication.
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Gmail | Google started sending out invites to its email offering in 2004. The beta release managed to cope with the concerns of storage space on the internet. It was made available to the public in February 2007. As the Google Apps suite took shape in 2009, Gmail was integrated with it, forming the capstone of the company’s effort at connecting people in the breakout years of electronic communication.

YouTube | The video-sharing service was not developed in-house. Google bought YouTube 18 months after the latter made its debut in 2005. In the intervening decade, YouTube has grown from being a relatively small platform to one that has localized content in 56 countries. Approximately 120 hours of video content is uploaded to the site every minute.
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YouTube | The video-sharing service was not developed in-house. Google bought YouTube 18 months after the latter made its debut in 2005. In the intervening decade, YouTube has grown from being a relatively small platform to one that has localized content in 56 countries. Approximately 120 hours of video content is uploaded to the site every minute.

Google Docs | An integral part of Google’s app suite, Docs, is now ubiquitous in most offices. It allows people sitting in different offices to collaborate on spreadsheets and text documents. The app finds use in board rooms, academia, newsrooms, and other professional environments. The organizers of the Arab Spring, the pro-democracy revolutionary movement, used Google Docs to further their agenda and add maintain a record of sympathizers.
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Google Docs | An integral part of Google’s app suite, Docs, is now ubiquitous in most offices. It allows people sitting in different offices to collaborate on spreadsheets and text documents. The app finds use in board rooms, academia, newsrooms, and other professional environments. The organizers of the Arab Spring, the pro-democracy revolutionary movement, used Google Docs to further their agenda and add maintain a record of sympathizers.

Google Person Finder | By leveraging the wide user base of mobile phones that run on its operating system, Android, Google has been able to lend a helping hand to rescue missions in the aftermath of natural disasters. Google’s Person Finder tool was launched following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.
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Google Person Finder | By leveraging the wide user base of mobile phones that run on its operating system, Android, Google has been able to lend a helping hand to rescue missions in the aftermath of natural disasters. Google’s Person Finder tool was launched following the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

Hangouts | In a world where businesses are spread across disparate geographies, Google Hangouts makes it easy for people to connect using calls and videos. It is also convenient for people who work from home. It is also used to stream live broadcasts and offer webinars. In addition to its benefits to businesses, both large and small, Hangouts is also popular with people looking to catch up with loved ones.
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Hangouts | In a world where businesses are spread across disparate geographies, Google Hangouts makes it easy for people to connect using calls and videos. It is also convenient for people who work from home. It is also used to stream live broadcasts and offer webinars. In addition to its benefits to businesses, both large and small, Hangouts is also popular with people looking to catch up with loved ones.

Google Maps | If you stray into a new neighbourhood a few blocks away from home or find yourself in a country where you don’t speak the local language, Google Maps can prove to be a lifesaver. Subsequent updates to the app have seen the company incorporate traffic data and public transport.
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Google Maps | If you stray into a new neighbourhood a few blocks away from home or find yourself in a country where you don’t speak the local language, Google Maps can prove to be a lifesaver. Subsequent updates to the app have seen the company incorporate traffic data and public transport.

Google Earth | This offering from the Google stable allows users to zoom into almost any location in the world via satellite imagery. Google Earth might seem a superficial gimmick to some, but it has its uses. The app helped a lost boy find his mother in India, a quarter of a century after he disappeared and was adopted by an Australian couple. The movie adaptation of the real-life story was nominated for six Oscars.
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Google Earth | This offering from the Google stable allows users to zoom into almost any location in the world via satellite imagery. Google Earth might seem a superficial gimmick to some, but it has its uses. The app helped a lost boy find his mother in India, a quarter of a century after he disappeared and was adopted by an Australian couple. The movie adaptation of the real-life story was nominated for six Oscars.

Android | Google’s Android is the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. In spite of competition from Apple’s iOS and Blackberry, which were early movers in the field, Android manage to wrest around 80 percent of the market after its launch.
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Android | Google’s Android is the most widely used mobile operating system in the world. In spite of competition from Apple’s iOS and Blackberry, which were early movers in the field, Android manage to wrest around 80 percent of the market after its launch.

Google News | The news app designed by Google, coupled with the RSS feed, have contributed to a change in the way news is consumed in the digital world. Google News indexes news on all topics from local publishers and gives a compiled list of credible stories for users to peruse.
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Google News | The news app designed by Google, coupled with the RSS feed, have contributed to a change in the way news is consumed in the digital world. Google News indexes news on all topics from local publishers and gives a compiled list of credible stories for users to peruse.

Google Analytics | Google’s analytics platform helps publishers and businesses track traffic to their website. The service was launched by Google in November 2005 after it acquired Urchin. It has a freemium business model, whereby casual users can check engagement with articles for free, and also a premium version that offers in-depth information such as page views, scroll depth, and engagement with target audience according to device and geography.
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Google Analytics | Google’s analytics platform helps publishers and businesses track traffic to their website. The service was launched by Google in November 2005 after it acquired Urchin. It has a freemium business model, whereby casual users can check engagement with articles for free, and also a premium version that offers in-depth information such as page views, scroll depth, and engagement with target audience according to device and geography.

Waymo | Google’s self-driving project operated as a separate entity before it became a subsidiary in 2016. The objective of the ambitious project is to fully integrate artificial intelligence with terrestrial transport, making the roads a safer place. It recently partnered with Jaguar to create the world's first premium electric self-driving vehicle: the Jaguar I-PACE.
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Waymo | Google’s self-driving project operated as a separate entity before it became a subsidiary in 2016. The objective of the ambitious project is to fully integrate artificial intelligence with terrestrial transport, making the roads a safer place. It recently partnered with Jaguar to create the world's first premium electric self-driving vehicle: the Jaguar I-PACE.

Google Glass | Google unveiled a futuristic wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) in July 2012. It was developed in the Project Glass research and development project. Google is working on improving the interface and functionality of its eyewear range. At present, it is able to give viewable mail updates and information ranging from news on crime to the price of cars one spots on the road.
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Google Glass | Google unveiled a futuristic wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) in July 2012. It was developed in the Project Glass research and development project. Google is working on improving the interface and functionality of its eyewear range. At present, it is able to give viewable mail updates and information ranging from news on crime to the price of cars one spots on the road.

Project Loon | It is a misconception that the internet is a digital web of electronic signals blanketing the entirety of the planet. There a blind spots where it is still impossible to grab an electric signal. Google launched its Loon project to connect remote areas around the world with the rest of the internet. Instead of cable-based connections, the company uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere to create a wireless network with speeds comparable with 4G-LTE.
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Project Loon | It is a misconception that the internet is a digital web of electronic signals blanketing the entirety of the planet. There a blind spots where it is still impossible to grab an electric signal. Google launched its Loon project to connect remote areas around the world with the rest of the internet. Instead of cable-based connections, the company uses high-altitude balloons placed in the stratosphere to create a wireless network with speeds comparable with 4G-LTE.

Google Pixel | After struggling with melding hardware and software in the way Apple has successfully done, Google ditched contract manufacturers to go alone in developing hardware. The Nexus range of stock-Android devices were developed by a variety of companies such as LG and Huawei. Google started rolling out its own line of smartphones in 2016 with the launch of the Pixel and Pixel XL. A second generation device was launched in 2017. Other manufacturers have cornered a larger share of the market, but the Pixel range remains the epitome of Google’s vision in shaping the future of the smartphone.
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Google Pixel | After struggling with melding hardware and software in the way Apple has successfully done, Google ditched contract manufacturers to go alone in developing hardware. The Nexus range of stock-Android devices were developed by a variety of companies such as LG and Huawei. Google started rolling out its own line of smartphones in 2016 with the launch of the Pixel and Pixel XL. A second generation device was launched in 2017. Other manufacturers have cornered a larger share of the market, but the Pixel range remains the epitome of Google’s vision in shaping the future of the smartphone.

Google Clips | Google brought out a standalone camera called Clips in 2017. It automatically captures photos throughout the day and stitches together a sequence of the best moments. It uses artificial intelligence to look for smiles, identifies the faces of friends, acquaintances, and pets. Google’s camera can be attached to any object and can also be used as a hand-held device.
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Google Clips | Google brought out a standalone camera called Clips in 2017. It automatically captures photos throughout the day and stitches together a sequence of the best moments. It uses artificial intelligence to look for smiles, identifies the faces of friends, acquaintances, and pets. Google’s camera can be attached to any object and can also be used as a hand-held device.

Google Chromebook |A Chromebook is a latop that runs on the Linux-based Chrome operating system. Laptops made by other companies also run on Chrome OS. The Google Pixelbook Chromebook is the flagship model that the company released in 2017. Low-end Chromebooks are especially popular among students.
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Google Chromebook |A Chromebook is a latop that runs on the Linux-based Chrome operating system. Laptops made by other companies also run on Chrome OS. The Google Pixelbook Chromebook is the flagship model that the company released in 2017. Low-end Chromebooks are especially popular among students.

Google Daydream View and Google Cardboard |Google launched its top-of-the-range virtual reality headset in October 2016. It is built into the Android mobile operating system and allows users with compatible phones to experience videos in virtual reality. The Daydream is Google’s second VR offering after the Cardboard series of headsets, which were launched to incite interest in VR.
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Google Daydream View and Google Cardboard |Google launched its top-of-the-range virtual reality headset in October 2016. It is built into the Android mobile operating system and allows users with compatible phones to experience videos in virtual reality. The Daydream is Google’s second VR offering after the Cardboard series of headsets, which were launched to incite interest in VR.

Google Pixel Buds | This is the first set of wireless Bluetooth speakers made by Google. It notifies users of notifications, reads messages, and provides in-ear translations in real-time. They ship with a wireless charger that can power the headset for up to 24 hours of use.
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Google Pixel Buds | This is the first set of wireless Bluetooth speakers made by Google. It notifies users of notifications, reads messages, and provides in-ear translations in real-time. They ship with a wireless charger that can power the headset for up to 24 hours of use.

Google Home | Google launched its first smart speaker in 2016 to unseat Amazon’s dominance in the market for smart speakers. Google Home speakers lets users interact with its services using its artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant. The device, when coupled with a smartphone or a computer, can be used to play music, video, read out entire web pages, and make calls remotely.
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Google Home | Google launched its first smart speaker in 2016 to unseat Amazon’s dominance in the market for smart speakers. Google Home speakers lets users interact with its services using its artificial intelligence-powered personal assistant. The device, when coupled with a smartphone or a computer, can be used to play music, video, read out entire web pages, and make calls remotely.

First Published on Sep 27, 2018 04:47 pm
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