The largest Web search engine and one of the most influential companies in the tech world. In addition to generic Web searching, Google provides a range of specialized search tools and a significant quantity of Web and desktop software that includes office programs, multimedia and social networking. Each of the following Google products is utilized by more than a billion people: Android, YouTube, Chrome browser and Maps navigation. In addition, Google is active in advertising, publishing, software development, security, statistics, language translation and self-driving automobiles. Android is the largest mobile platform globally, and highly secretive Google Labs is studying the future of high tech. In 2015, Google launched Alphabet, a holding company that comprises Google and all of its initiatives and acquisitions. See Alphabet, Google X Lab and Android. It Started With BackRub Search In 1996, Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin created their “BackRub” search engine and unique page ranking (described below) (explained below). With financing from Sun founder Andy Bechtolsheim and others, Google was created in September 1998, and BackRub was introduced as the Google search engine in 1999. The Google moniker originates from “googol,” a quantity so big no one can grasp it. Chosen to signify the vastness of the Web and the great goals of the organization, the choice of name was highly apt. See googol. The Clean Screen Google differentiated itself from competing search sites by debuting a homepage that was almost entirely devoid of content. Instead of being heavy with visuals that took hours to come in over analog modems, the Google page downloaded rapidly, and consumers perceived an instant reaction before they began searching. Even with only one picture, the home page is very devoid of content (see Google Doodle). Having said that, there is an extremely complex infrastructure that underpins everything. The organization optimizes its server setup to provide the greatest amount of search engine power while consuming the least amount of power possible. Using its own self-healing software, the Google indexes are duplicated across the world, and servers may die without disturbance. The Popularity Approach Called “PageRank,” Google established the notion of popularity to rank sites in the search results. The pages having the most connections connecting to them from other sites (“backlinks”) are put higher in the list. The websites’ popularity is examined going back multiple layers, which is why a site scores better if 25 popular sites connect to it rather than 100 non-popular sites. Today, Google evaluates Web sites not only for popularity, but for various qualities.