It has been 15 years since we started “Googling” and the online search giant celebrated its 15th birthday in its own “Googley” style with a doodle. Founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a garage, Google has become a far bigger part of everyone’s life than the co-founders’ original goal of indexing the entire Internet. Google has not only perfected search but has branched out into things as diverse as videos to a smartphone platform to self driving cars to wearable smart glasses to balloons that will beam Internet to remote areas to actually discovering the fountain of youth. Google today not only searches the Internet but also answers queries, is learning to have conversations and is now attempting to predict what you want. And Google is getting close.
Google Search has evolved like no other company before it in its first 15 years. It brought a paradigm shift when it launched its search engine. There were search engines before Google but none were good enough. Here’s a timeline of Google Search since its introduction.
2000: AdWords – still defines Google’s business model.
2001: Image search and search recommendation (Did you mean…) – gives Google a huge lead over competition.
2002: News search and synonyms – news search becomes one of the most important Google search properties.
2003: Stock quotes are added.
2004: Local search and auto-complete are introduced. Local search will become crucial when smartphones go mainstream in a few years.
2005: Video – still heydays of online video, this will take on a new meaning when Google acquires YouTube next year.
2006: Weather, flights and sports scores – again, will gain importance with smartphone adoption when searching for weather and getting weather on the phone’s homescreen will become the world’s favorite pastime.
2007: Universal search and movie timings.
2008: Search app and voice search – still in its infancy, voice search will become a big feature for smartphone users.
2009: Search tools – Google lets users customize how and what to search.
2010: Google Instant – at a time when speed matters, Google makes search even faster by showing search results even while the user is typing the query.
2011: Search by image – now you can not only search for images but also upload images for Google to search relevant content or identify the photograph.
2012: Knowledge Graph – Google launches semantic search that not only shows you the search results by keywords but additional relevant information about your search query. Google also releases Google Now – a personal assistant that can not only answer your queries but also gives you useful information in advance.
2013: Google is now pushing towards making Google Search more intelligent. Over the past 15 years, Google has evolved search from a basic tool that has its use case to a service that we use for almost everything. Google itself has evolved during this period to know much more about its users in order to be able to serve them better. Today Google is not just a search engine. It is an assistant that can take notes, schedule meetings, set reminders, open apps, tell the weather or traffic conditions, remind you about birthdays and anniversaries and so much more. It knows which football teams you support, what stocks you follow and where you go. In a way, it is your lifestyle manager.
And it has just started to get smarter.