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Google’s 18th Birthday (google.com)
149 points by ForFreedom on Sept 27, 2016 | hide | past | web | favorite | 83 comments



Okay, for the most part, most of us alive today are older than Google and remember it began around 1998, but someday... everyone alive is going to be younger than Google, and there's going to be no one alive that even remembers when Google was founded, and everyone alive is going to use Google as like its Skynet.


Heck, a lot of kids today don't know what the world was like without smartphones and tablets, and it seems like it was just yesterday that these were adopted en masse.


Yep, they're called the 'after Googlers': https://youtu.be/ozYez0I0Xs8?t=1m25s


15 years ago, we could spend a lot of times thinking about 'after microsofters", and today we can laugh a lot.


Why are we laughing?


I'm 25 and I don't know of an internet that isn't Google.


I'd argue it should be every responsible person's goal to ensure that doesn't happen. Or that as a monopoly, it gets nationalized and turned into a public service. Or broken into chunks.


Who else remembers the first time they visited google.com?

I was on a 56k dial up connection, but the page loaded so quickly.

This was during a period I was used to pages taking 20+ seconds to load, and the google homepage loaded almost instantly.

In fact, just for fun, I went to google.com on my new laptop with ssd and 16 gig of ram using the latest version of chrome, and maybe it is through rose tinted glasses, but it seems like the first time I visited google using my dial up connection it loaded a lot "snappier" than it does today.


Most if not all the ISP companies in my home country used to ask you to access google.com while troubleshooting connectivity issues. They would eventually assume your Internet was working as expected if at least Google loaded. Recently they changed the strategy and now use Internet speed tester which come with the requirement to have Flash installed and enabled.

Many people in my country still believe that Google == Internet so I am pretty sure that if Google stops serving for whatever reason here the majority of people will get cut out of the Internet because they don't understand how to use the address bar. I have even seen people accessing google.com just to put facebook.com in the search form instead of simply typing that domain in the address bar, I cringe every time.


A little off-topic but in 2011 I had an Asus Eee PC with a super slow processor and like 2GB of RAM (later 4). While the tiny screen sucked, I used to chat on Facebook, watch YouTube, post on Tumblr, etc with no problem.

Now plenty of websites make my Macbook's fans start.


remember this?

http://aautar.digital-radiation.com/blog/uploaded_images/goo...

I think google's backend is starting to look like yahoo's front-end. IME, their sites are getting slow and bloated.


I was in 7th grade when my teacher recommended a few search engines to our class. I had been using Alta Vista up until that time, and I noticed right away that Google's results were somehow better...

Anyway, Google's pretty snappy for me just now, and I'm on a so-so connection.


I remember when I discovered Google. Suddenly class research papers became so much easier. Google results were just so good and so fast. I remember almost having a hipster sense of superiority when I learned that someone was using Yahoo or Alta Vista and had never heard of Google. I felt like it was my secret weapon.


I don't have a clear memory of when I first visited Google, but I do remember using going from Alta Vista to Metacrawler, until gradually (still rather quickly) Google ended up consistently yielding good enough results that Metacrawler became redundant.


I still recall switching from AltaVista :D


Fireball for me. I remember the icq chat with a friend who told me to try this cool new thing without ads!


And now Google push all possible ads to us :(


A couple of ads (clearly marked as such) at the top of the results page are "all possible ads"? Come on.


In a new Safari window (private browsing, 1920x1080 screen), for the search query "holiday cottages Wales", I don't get any organic results above the fold. The first one is at 1380px down the page.


Very OT, but if you're actually looking for one, I can recommend https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/12448783 . My partner and I stayed there a few months ago and it was wonderful!


Interesting. I see the same thing on safari. Another interesting thing is most of the ads are also in the top 10 of the organic results.


1. I replied comment that said without ad in the past 2. Google product is not only Google Search 3. Wherever you surf you will see ads provided by Google. Most of the time.


Android is full of ads. Thats a google product.


Anybody remember Dogpile? That was what I used. The aggregating of results from different engines was super useful.

Hilariously enough, the site is up and running now and still offers pretty good results.


The AltaVista search engine most powerful operator was NEAR, it helped you to rank the results until Google came to the scene. Google much later added the * and proximity operators [1].

[1] http://www.hbagency.com/every-google-search-operator-youll-e...


Hotbot for me. I even had email with them.


I'd never really considered it before, but Google is pretty old now in internet terms. It's been around twice along as some of its fellow giants like Facebook (2004), YouTube (2005), Twitter (2006) and the like - although not nearly as long as Yahoo! (1994) and AOL (1991).


What's impressive is not that that it's one of the oldest internet companies around, but that it's still relevant today! The vast majority of large internet companies usually fade into obscurity in less than ten years as they fail to change and adapt and are replaced by whatever is new and shiny at the time; Google though, they knew they had to place bold bets beyond what's making money today, and that paid off beautifully.


and their main website is old-style. Well they implemented new fonts etc and they didn't change over to use a bootstrap template. Simple and easy, is what their search engine is actually.


Great to see Google splintering off into single duty compartments instead of spreading itself so thin that nothing gets done with the same amount of focus. Alphabet was a true design decision, and a mature one at that. One thing that crossed my mind recently was the notion of Google and its long relationship with hardware: we have this thing called the Blockchain now, and it could do with some of Google's hardware to run on, instead of independent factions of people spending their pocket money on their own hardware. It kind of makes me jealous and annoyed that so much could be spent for what effectively is sometimes just a data center for storing people's holiday snaps on Google Plus, when it could be used to host micro democracies and change the direction of finance. I suspect all that hardware will eventually be re-purposed many times throughout the course of the Google experiment and probably will eventually be given away at some point to the blockchainers who need it. I can picture the scene: dreadlocked decentralists rejoicing at their new hardware gift from Google, 25+ years from now. The ultimate redemption from their years of slavishly handing their personal information over to Google in exchange for a decent search experience. A true revenge for consumers of Google. Meanwhile Google would have entirely switched to SSDs and are probably using post-quantum chips, but at least we can host multiple different blockchains now without spending our pocket money on them. The blockchainers can start to get rich and blockchain can really flourish.

Also, Google needs to create services which are for a post Snowden world. Allo is cute, but entirely inferior to things like Signal which addresses the problem of encrypted private chat head on. Google needs to create things like its own VPN service, perhaps?


> One thing that crossed my mind recently was the notion of Google and its long relationship with hardware: we have this thing called the Blockchain now, and it could do with some of Google's hardware to run on, instead of independent factions of people spending their pocket money on their own hardware.

I was under the impression that most mining is now done by a few groups using special purpose hardware. Mining using hardware bought with "pocket money" seems like a losing game at this point.

> It kind of makes me jealous and annoyed that so much could be spent for what effectively is sometimes just a data center for storing people's holiday snaps on Google Plus, when it could be used to host micro democracies and change the direction of finance.

It makes me sad that so much energy is wasted computing hashes for mining when it seems to add so little to society. In comparison, I think hosting holiday photos is a more valuable task.

> I suspect all that hardware will eventually be re-purposed many times throughout the course of the Google experiment and probably will eventually be given away at some point to the blockchainers who need it.

I'm not sure why Google would give their hardware to a random group of miners. I'm not sure why the miners would want it either since x86 is not an efficient way to mine. Out of date x86 hardware especially.


> we have this thing called the Blockchain now,

A “blockchain” is a type of distributed data structure, there's not just The Blockchain, unless you're specifically talking about Bitcoin, in which case I don't know why you wouldn't refer to it specifically.

> and it could do with some of Google's hardware to run on, instead of independent factions of people spending their pocket money on their own hardware.

You're either suggesting that Google run Bitcoin nodes in their datacentres (which defeats Bitcoin's decentralisation), or that Google should make hardware specifically for Bitcoin.

Given Google is all about centralised, non-anonymised data they can mine for ad targeting, what exactly would appeal to them about Bitcoin?

> It kind of makes me jealous and annoyed that so much could be spent for what effectively is sometimes just a data center for storing people's holiday snaps on Google Plus, when it could be used to host micro democracies and change the direction of finance.

Sure, there might be better uses for some of Google's servers, arguably, but why would “changing the direction of finance” require that? Aren't proposals like Bitcoin usually based on decentralisation?

> I suspect all that hardware will eventually be re-purposed many times throughout the course of the Google experiment and probably will eventually be given away at some point to the blockchainers who need it.

Why would Google give away free servers to Bitcoin enthusiasts? What possible business incentive could there be? If they're just being nice, then why to Bitcoiners, of all people? Bitcoin (and systems using the same proof-of-work chain design) is an extremely wasteful user of energy and would not put such systems to good use.

> I can picture the scene: dreadlocked decentralists rejoicing at their new hardware gift from Google, 25+ years from now. The ultimate redemption from their years of slavishly handing their personal information over to Google in exchange for a decent search experience. A true revenge for consumers of Google.

Much more likely that Google would simply close its online services on you without a token of gratitude to its users.

> Meanwhile Google would have entirely switched to SSDs and are probably using post-quantum chips, but at least we can host multiple different blockchains now without spending our pocket money on them. The blockchainers can start to get rich and blockchain can really flourish.

You're forgetting the astronomical energy requirements for Bitcoin mining.

> Also, Google needs to create services which are for a post Snowden world. Allo is cute, but entirely inferior to things like Signal which addresses the problem of encrypted private chat head on. Google needs to create things like its own VPN service, perhaps?

Post-Snowden, pro-privacy services are essentially the antithesis of Google's business model. If Google can't read your chats, they can't scan them for keywords.



"stolen" from a danish tv show https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xDZR_8SoD20 :)


Vaguely similar doesn't mean 'stolen'.


That could have been inspiring at best, and not even that IMHO.


I'm in the US: This video contains content from DR, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.


I was hoping it would say Google, Inc. as soon as I saw the removed video graphic loading. Would have been all too perfect.


Almost everything I've ever learned started with a Google search. I'm 30 now - I started using it when I was 15 - and since I didn't have a lot of friends or stuff happening growing up, I spent hours browsing. A lot of porn, but also a lot of random stuff I was curious about. I kind of stopped believing the words of people around me and chose to believe everything I read instead. Over time I did develop a better sense of what's credible and what's not.

By the way I've always had the idea of a credibility plugin to a browser that rates the credibility level of everything you visit.

Sometimes I judge someone based on how they search. If they're typing out a whole question, perfect punctuation: not a good sign.


> Sometimes I judge someone based on how they search. If they're typing out a whole question, perfect punctuation: not a good sign.

You read the Google instructions "How to use Google" about 15 years ago, and you started using Google when they had a 10 word limit, with no substitutions and no stemming.

Nowadays Google is mostly used by people who ask whole questions, complete with punctuation, and websites and Google optimise for those people.

Sometimes it's the best way to get to a good website.


I never knew that. I always just thought those words were parsed out as noise. You're saying that whole questions help?

Also sometimes when I search I don't know exactly what I'm looking for, so it takes a few queries to learn the basic vocabulary of the area I want to learn about. So putting a few keyword guesses into the box seems to work. In other words I never expect to land on a good website on my first try because I don't even know the right vocabulary.

Is there a better way to do it?


> Is there a better way to do it?

Who knows? Google used to tell people how to search. SEO arseholes ruined it for everyone, and now Google has an opaque mechanism.

If I don't kno much abotu something asking a full question seems to get useful introductory pages. If I know a bit about something keywords seems to work. I'm I know a lot about something I have to include "exact" words, and use the - to remove some not relevant terms.

Google went from being a precision tool to good enough most of the time.


There is some parsing.

Try "How far away is the Moon?".

Then try "How big is it?". Google even knows how to handle the pronoun "it".

But I think this mostly works for facts, as opposed to finding websites.


1) "How do I use microsoft sql to do a regex on a table?"

2) "ms sql regex"

I'm sure google is moving towards the first working just fine but for a very long time only the second didn't give you a bunch of garbage.


> Sometimes I judge someone based on how they search. If they're typing out a whole question, perfect punctuation: not a good sign.

I am sure you can do better than that


You meant to say "whole" question, right?


I was a bit late to the Google party. I first heard about it when I was in my CS seminar in undergrad. Someone in class talked about a cool new search engine called "googol" (what I thought it was called). I am not sure when but slowly I ditched Yahoo!, AltaVista, and Ask Jeeves in favor of it and never looked back. Each time I try alt search engines like Bing or DDG I keep coming back.

The second big Google moment I remember was when Gmail first came out. I wanted an invite so bad and eventually got one. I thought how cool is this that you can have a usable email client in the web browser. Not that it was the first one; I remember using Hotmail before that. But it had threaded messages!

Of all the tech companies I've used in the past Google has treated me the best. They've done some unforgivable things like killing Google Reader but for the most part I'm happy with them.


the death of google reader was sad, but at the same time, RSS as a method of reading blogs and news has exited the building. Competing products have failed to provide the same kind of mindshare that reader apparently had. Social media has taken over, for better and worse.

The internet has changed, and reader is one of those things that is solidly in the past.


Heavily disagree. I still use RSS constantly. Sure, I don't think RSS will be here 100 years from now, it'll die someday, but I've yet to see an actual alternative to it.


Here's the issue, yes, you can disagree, and your workflow is different.

But in general, most people get their news from social media now - mostly Facebook as it turns out. That is hardly a disputable fact. RSS is a technical detail of how sites publish, and in the end, people seem to not care about it. They care about end user features, which apparently includes their friends commenting. And that is what Facebook does.

Yeah you could make an argument that Google Reader killed the promising RSS market, but I don't think that argument really holds a lot of water.


The first time I visited Google.com was at a startup called European Artisans in Rome, Italy, using a Flower Power iMac G3. I was reading a book called The Cluetrain Manifesto at the time and remember thinking that Google 'got' what the [internet][1] is and where it was was going. And despite some missteps, they still do!

Looking forward to the next 18 years! Happy birthday, Google!

[1]: http://www.worldofends.com/


Interestingly the top result I get from that query is the following article from UK newspaper, The Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/new...

[Title: When is Google’s birthday? The big thing wrong with the search engine's celebratory doodle]


I think there are always at least five news articles written on any topic that is mentioned in a Google Doodle because those are really the simplest clicks you can get with so much traffic coming from Google. (They often get shown under the "news" segment)


The most pointless exercise of splitting hairs I've seen for a long time.


Then: Don't be evil.

Today: Google is the new MS. XMPP kicked out of Google Talk, RSS put on a hold. If there wasn't Firefox, Chromium would be burried. I'd even wish that Bing would be more successful, let alone DuckDuckGo.


I have some sympathy with this but I think people ignore a lot of the stuff which Google just gives away with some fairly light advertising. Think about navigating with Apple maps, or trying to organise your life with Hotmail or trying to do anything without Google search. Some of their product decisions wind people up but I think they do a lot more good than harm.


>a lot of the stuff which Google just gives away with some fairly light advertising. //

... which furthers their eco-system and cements "vendor lock-in". They kill off too many major projects seemingly for purely financial purposes for the point you make to carry well.


I use apple maps it's great in Montreal. I also use DDG for 70% of my queries.


Then: Don't be evil.

Today: All your data are belong to us.


[flagged]


We've banned this account and the several others that were created together in order to repeatedly violate the commenting guidelines.


Then: Young Jedi

Today: Feel the power of the dark side.

:-)


Choosing not to do everything you consider good does not make one evil. You're going to have to work a little harder to demonstrate that "Google is the new MS".


I think tone of "congratulations" on this site should be really important sign for Google to reconsider their way.


The problem is that Googlers live and work and are friends with other Googlers, and have a massive echo chamber effect. Most of the people who Googlers interact with are either Google employees or Google enthusiasts, so it's easy for them to believe that something like the comments on this article are some sort of concentrated effort by a small group or something, as opposed to a very real, widespread concern.


Most googlers recognize the echo chamber of not just google but silicon valley. Many of the complaints issued here are also issued directly to the top executives as well. Sometimes the issues get resolved, other times its a complicated issue with no good answer (in regards to google itself).


Oh, the sheer irony in this comment.


They already have close to world domination. No need to reconsider anything at this point...


And now Microsoft is trying to get developers' love back with huge efforts.


I remember using Google for the first time in college. It was like a breath of fresh air after using Yahoo, Northern Light or any of the other search engines back in the day.


Google has lost its innocence and is slowly turning into an old voyeur :)


Anyone remember google-watch.org? Unfortunately it's something else now and it's excluded by the wayback machine. Would be interesting to read now.


Is that the guy that set up scroogle?

I suppose DuckDuckGo with !g is a better version of that now anyway but it was always an interesting concept...


I have no idea, I don't know what scroogle is. Google-watch.org was a site that existed in the early 2000s (before Gmail) that was critical of Google and brought up some of the issues with things they were doing.

If I recall correctly.


I think startpage is the more appropriate comparison to scroogle. DDG seems to have greater ambitions.


Then: An epic algorythm

Now: An interner super power

Happy birthday


Should i be seeing anything special on that page, other than a list of "news" articles discussing when Google's birthday should be?


I'm part of the Google economy now for 12 years, so well thank you Google, kinda.

My story for all who are interested:

In 2004 the director of the Austria Press Agency (APA) came to me and said "Hey, our PR customers wan't to find their press releases in Google, do that!" I was in web business development then, a fancy name for a one man team of developer, coder, hacker, sysadmin, product development, cooperations, conceptionist, designer, data analyst, external contributors coordinator for www.ots.at, the public relations branch of APA.

I did, and it worked. As a matter of fact it worked so good, that for some time the press releases of the companies showed up before the actual websites of the companies. (I used such advanced and then highly controversial strategies like internal interlinking and title-tags) Traffic and soon later revenue exploded.

As I was frustrated with web development at that time (IE6 had a market share of 90% plus, FF (firebird or phoenix at that time) wasn't ready yet, no competition anywhere near). Web 2.0. was just starting at that time, we saw what was possible, but we could not do it, as the IE6 bugs were crashing all innovation.

I could code since I was a child, then I made code my work, now I swore to myself that I will always ever code for fun (or projects that are 100% owned by me and therefore fun) again, but earn money in another way.

I followed the money and started my first company "Search Engine Optimized distribution of PR and Corporate Information via Blog and Web 2.0. Networks" in 2006 i think. Today we would call it a "Corporate Blog"!

I created a piece of software that was from the front end better than WordPress of that time, faster, bug free HTML, W3C valid, beautiful tag clouds, just awesome. The backend and the actual getting content in there was a complete mess, so what, I had a product!!!! Now I just needed to sell the product, cold calling companies and convince them that they need a corporate blog and that their content needs to get found by Google. Oh yeah, zero sales experience from my side. Lets just say it didn't work.

So I did what any young founder would do: went to a party, jumped over a wall to save entrance fee, broke my knee in a very complicated way and went into hospital for 3 months.

I took a job again: This time as a key account manager to sell websites in the real estate business. I learned a lot, most horrible job ever, too.

Went to the next job, now officially called myself SEO for the first time: becoming the SEO manager of the then world leader in sports-betting, poker and casino. Oh what fun! For the first time I realized what unbelievable esoteric bullshit people started to believe about Google and SEO. High-up management talked about "PageRank Black Holes" whereby I explained to them that "Google being able to crawl us" is kinda a good idea if you want to get found for anything. Also I had months long projects to convince the powers to be, that it just isn't a good idea to run internal links over 16 (internal & external ) redirects (whereby IE which was still around at that time only supported 10...). I had 70 people working on changing the footer links (as they were owned by different departments and country managers). Learned a lot in those years, especially about working with consultants and other third parties brought in by country managers, product heads, other consultants, bought companies, ...

And I learned that the state of SEO, which was a dev driven discipline for a long time became the ultimate bullshit industry. With people selling links that suck, selling tools that nobody needs, telling stuff that could neither verified nor falsified, hurting businesses until the point of bankruptcy. And whenever I though SEO has arrived at a new bottom, it became worse.

Then I did what any employee which was fed up with the status quo did, I joined a startup. Well not one, an incubator which owned the majority of all the startups it incubated. I.e.: I helped scale 123people form about 300 000 monthly to 60 000 000 monthly visits before it was sold. And some others which I'm more proud of. Then joined another startup.

In 2011 I started my second company, my goal is simple: To make all SEO agencies, including my own, redundant. I'm doing great, it's still lots of fun.

So anyway, thx Google. You gave me a career. I work in the world/economy you created.


> So anyway, thx Google. You gave me a career.

Interesting story. But in that last line you make it sound like without Google you didn't have a career :)


Well, you never know the paths not travelled.


I don't quite like Google, but happy birthday Google :)

20+ years of being online. Google was a welcome change when they launched, but they've been on a path of slow credibility erosion for much of the last decade. IMHO.


Happy birthday!


Making Internet a worse place day after day. Congratulations, Google!


Barely legal Google.




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