Google (company)

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This article is about company. For other uses of the term Google, please see Google (disambiguation).

Google is a multi-billion dollar, multinational US company operating mainly over the Internet. It was founded as a search engine company in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and currently has the most popular search engine on the Internet.[1] It has spawned a number of other companies and services, some of which have become as ubiquitous as its search engine. For example, Google owns Blogger, YouTube, and DoubleClick and its products include Google Mail (gmail), Google Video, and Google Maps. It is a subsidiary of Alphabet.

Several Google services are architected as cloud computing.

Products and services

Google is best known for its search engine, but also offers a variety of other services.

Google search

The search engine is found at the web site Google and its more specialized companion site Google advanced search. The engine searches for key words and phrases, and finds web links related to the selected terms. Google provides some tips for effective search.


For more information, see: Gmail.

Gmail is a web-based email service. It was first released in a beta testing phase until July 9th, 2009. Beginning with 5GB of free email storage, which was unheard of at that time, it slowly grew to 15GB (shared with other services).

Google maps

Google maps provides maps and satellite pictures of the Earth with zoom-in features that can take the viewer down to a street level and actual images of structures as seen at street level. It also provides driving directions between locations and a route map. Google provides a help site,[2] and a detailed user guide.[3]

Google books

The web site Google books and its more detailed companion Advanced book search searches for books related to key words and phrases. Some tips on using this tool are available,[4] and Google provides a help page.[5]

Some of these book links provide only basic information, such as vendors and libraries where they can be found, and the information normally found in a citation such as isbn, title, and author. Other links provide a "snippet view" that displays a brief phrase within the work that contains the search key words. Still others provide a "preview" that allow full pages and sometimes full sections to be read and searched. To some extent this service overlaps with Amazon's "look inside" feature, but a larger range of titles is available and url’s are provided to the pages exhibiting the searched-for items. Unfortunately, these url’s are not necessarily fixed, and it may occur that pages available on line at one time become inaccessible at another.

Google scholar

The web site Google scholar and its more detailed companion Advanced scholar search search for links to technical and professional journals containing key words or phrases. Many of these works are available on-line only in very limited form without special subscription, but some are completely accessible. Located works also are provided with links (Cited by ...) to other works that use the found source as a citation, and also links to Related articles. Google also provides tips on using this search engine.

Previous services

This section is out-of-date

For more information, see: Google+.

Google+[6] was a social networking service launched in 2011. The site incorporated two existing Google services, Google Profiles and Google Buzz, the latter being Google's previous attempt at developing a social networking site.

Google Knol

Google has a "knowledge" site called Knol , accessible to all, but available for contributions only by those who set up a Google account. A comprehensive introductory video is found on the Knol help page. Although use of real identities is encouraged, it is not rigorously pursued. All articles (called knols) have bylines indicating the supposed authorship, part of an espoused view that "We are deeply convinced that authorship – knowing who wrote what – helps readers trust the content."[7]

Articles cover a huge range, from encyclopedia-like articles (for example, circuit design) to debates, to esoteric articles like Einstein’s Gravity as an Emergent Macro-Quantum Coherent Vacuum Field. Although readers can comment upon articles, the degree of editing permitted to other participants is decided by the original author. Three choices are available: open (anyone can modify), moderated (anyone can proffer suggestions, but the author has veto power; if changes are accepted, the new contributor becomes a co-author) and closed (only co-authors can edit).

Authors earn a share of any income gathered by Google AdSense advertisements that may happen to be hosted through their specific article pages.

Articles list reader ratings by one to five stars, number of views, and last date of editing.

Multiple articles on a topic are allowed, which makes it a project for a reader to track down a particular topic. Readers can use a search box, for which a list of tips is available. One result of this confusion is the creation of knol collections, knols that are simply an index to related knols, for example the index Knols about the global economic crisis and Knols about flowers and gardening. These indices are the creations of individual authors, and there is no guarantee as to quality or comprehensiveness in the selections.

The Public Library of Science (PLoS) uses Knol to present PLoS Currents, and has a number of Knol collections indexing some of the topics PLoS Currents covers.


The history of Google has been detailed.[8]


Brin and Page published their article, "The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual Web search engine", in 1998.[9] Their patent for PageRank was filed in 1998 and issued in 2001.[10]


Over 40 patents related to advertising have been assigned to Google.[11]


AdWords (website)is for sponsors to advertise their products on Google's advertising network. Sponsors pay by bidding on a pay-per-click model. In addition, bids are awarded based on the advertiser's clickthrough rate. Google introduced AdWords in October, 2000.[12]


AdSense is for web publishers to earn income by hosting advertisements on their websites (website). Google's patent for AdSense was filed in 2003 and issued in 2006.[13] Yahoo had a lawsuit against Google for patent infringement that resulted in Yahoo licensing to Google US Patent 6269361 (U.S. Patent 6,269,361, PDF) and other patents.[14]


The Google Book Search Library Project, in which millions of books from libraries will be scanned and made searchable on the Web, has led to controversy and legal action. In support of Google's mission to "organize the world's information," the Google Book Search program is designed to digitize printed book content so that it may be searched and retrieved via Google's search engine. The program has two facets—one that involves publishers, which has not been controversial, and one that involves libraries, which has. The University of Michigan has committed to allowing Google to scan its entire print and journal collection. Publishers are suing Google for copyright infringement, while Google claims their use falls under the fair use privilege of the Copyright Act.[15]

Google agreed to censor results for queries made from China, but decided to do so to stop China from hindering Chinese user searches (blocking Google or substantially slowing down the result display). Google agreed to block content that the Chinese government deems unacceptable. [16].

Google Reader now automatically allows contacts a person has in a Gmail account to what feeds are subscribed.[17].

Google cookies are criticized by the World Privacy Forum and others. They expire automatically after two years, but cookies will not be erased unless a person does not visit any Google sites for two years. [18].


  1. Rated number 1 world wide and in the USA by Alexa: The web information company (2012). Retrieved on 2012-07-20.
  2. Maps help. Retrieved on 2011-09-21.
  3. Maps user guide. Google. Retrieved on 2011-09-21.
  4. Google book search tips. University of Michigan University Library. Retrieved on 2011-09-21.
  5. Using Google books. Google. Retrieved on 2011-09-21.
  6. Pronounced 'Google Plus' and sometimes written as such, as in the site URL.
  7. Cedric DuPont, product manager for Google's Knol
  8. John Battelle (2006). The search: How Google and its rivals rewrote the rules of business and transformed our culture. Penguin. ISBN 1-59184-141-0. 
  9. Brin, Sergey; Lawrence Page (1998-04). "The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual Web search engine". Computer Networks and ISDN Systems 30 (1-7): 107-117. DOI:10.1016/S0169-7552(98)00110-X. ISSN 0169-7552. Retrieved on 2008-12-17. Research Blogging.
  10. Page L. (2001) Method for node ranking in a linked database. United States Patent Office Google Patents U.S. Patent 6,285,999, PDF
  11. Patent Database Search Results: AN/Google AND (TTL/advert$ OR ABST/advert$ OR SPEC/advert$) in US Patent Collection. United States Patent Office. Retrieved on 2009-06-20.
  12. Karp, Scott (May 27th, 2008) Google AdWords: A Brief History Of Online Advertising Innovation Publishing 2.0
  13. Anderson D, et al. (2006) Serving advertisements based on content . United States Patent Office Google Patents U.S. Patent 7,136,875, PDF
  14. Baksik, Corinna. (2006) "Fair Use or Exploitation? The Google Book Search Controversy," Libraries and the Academy- Volume 6, Number 4, October 2006, pp. 399-415 in Project Muse
  15. Fox, "China's Google Search Engine to Be Censored", [Associated Press], January 25, 2006.
  16. Profy, "Don't Be... What Was That Again? We Seem to Have Forgotten", Cyndy Aleo-Carreira, December 27th, 2007.
  17. USA Today, "Google's cookie policy good for privacy?", Anick Jesdanun, July 19, 2007.