September 27, 2013 5:40 pm
Updated: September 27, 2013 6:29 pm

15 facts about Google on the search-engine giant’s 15th birthday

Watch: A North Vancouver company believes there’s no limitation to the technology behind Google Glass. Ted Chernecki has more on this innovative product.

Google turned 15 Friday, celebrating the anniversary with a piñata doodle on its home page.

Users hit the space bar to whack a swinging piñata with a stick, releasing sweets and earning points.

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The internet search company also announced on its birthday a new search algorithm to better optimize user requests.

In less than two decades Google has grown from a small start-up founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin to become the most ubiquitous internet firm in the world.

To celebrate, here’s a list of 15 facts about Google:

1. Google got its name from the misspelling of the word “googol” – a one followed by 100 zeros.

2. The search engine giant was originally called BackRub, designed as a  “web crawler….to traverse the web.”

3. The first Google Doodle was of a burning man symbol. Founders Page and Brin went to the Burning Man music festival in 1998 and commemorated the event with a small picture on their homepage.

The first of the Google Doodles, the Burning Man Festival symbol.

Imgur

4. On April 1, 2004, Google launched a beta version of Gmail, initially offering 1GB of web email storage. Now Gmail gives you 15GB of storage and is offered in more than 50 languages, including Welsh, Telugu, Basque, and Cherokee.

5. Google Maps debuted in 2005, with maps for the US, Canada and the UK.  Google Maps has undergone several redesigns and now includes a map inside Canada’s House of Commons, and bike directions in several European countries.

The Google Maps app is seen on an Apple iPhone 4S on December 13, 2012 in Fairfax, California.

6. In 2006, Google purchased  video sharing platform YouTube for over $1.6 billion. Sharing cat videos has never been easier.

7.  Also in 2006, “Google” entered English language dictionaries as a transitive verb, meaning “to use the Google search engine to obtain information about (as a person) on the World Wide Web.”

8.  In 2007, Google introduced the world to its new enhanced mapping system “Street View,” which takes users to a real-time view of streets around the world.

The Google street view mapping and camera charts the streets of Brasília, Brazil’s capital, on September 6, 2011. AFP PHOTO/Pedro LADEIRA

9.  Google’s first tweet – posted in February, 2009 – was the words “I’m feeling lucky” spelled out in binary code.

10.  In 2011, the number of unique monthly visitors to Google passed one billion.

11.  In 2013 Google unveiled Google Glass, Internet-connected glasses that offers users access to the company’s web tools from the comfort of your own face.

12. In a poll published this past summer, more than half of Canadians surveyed about their tendencies to self-diagnose an ailment used Google to researched a health-related issue in the past month.

13. A teenager from Victoria made an impression at the Google science fair this year, winning top honours for her human-powered flashlight. 15-year-old Ann Makosinski won in the 15-16 category and was the only Canadian selected to attend the event.

14. Google is experimenting with helium filled balloons that beam the internet from the sky. Google says the balloons could provide faster, cheaper, and more widely distributed Internet than traditional underground fibre cables.

15.  Google is now used in medical procedures. In June 2013, Dr. Rafael Grossman, a surgeon and telemedicine innovator, used a Google Hangout( a video chat service) to record a feeding tube being inserted into a patient via Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy (PEG) surgery.

© Shaw Media, 2013

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