Google is the world's most popular search engine. It began as a search project in 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who were two Ph.D. students at Stanford University. They developed a search engine algorithm that ranked Web pages not just by content and keywords, but by how many other Web pages linked to each page. This strategy produced more useful results than other search engines, and led to a rapid increase in Google's Web search marketshare. The Google ranking algorithm was later named "PageRank" and was patented in September of 2001. In only a short time, Google became the number one search engine in the world.
According to Google's website, the company's mission is to "organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." While the Web search remains Google's primary tool for helping users access information, the company offers several other services as well. Some of these include:
- Froogle - price comparison shopping
- Image Search - search for images on the Web
- Google Groups - online discussion forums
- Google Answers - answers to questions based on a bidding system
- Google Maps - maps and directions
- Google Toolbar - a downloadable search tool
- Blogger - a free blogging service
- Gmail - Web-based e-mail with several gigabytes of storage
- AdWords - Advertising services for advertisers
- AdSense - Advertising services for Web publishers
Google has become such a popular search engine that the term "Google" is now often used as a verb, synonymous with "search." For example, if you are looking for information about someone, you can Google that person using Google's search engine.
To Google your own term or phrase, visit Google's home page.