20 years ago on a summer day just like this one, the mega tech corporation that we know today as Google came to be.
With a current market capitalization of $837.67 billion, no one could have foreseen the success of the search engine giant, which launched from a small garage in Menlo Park, California.
Today, we look at some of Google’s most notable achievements in the past 20 years, and compare them with some of Apple’s achievements, which made the news in recent months after reaching a $1 trillion market cap.
Google wasn’t the first search engine, but it was the best
(Google market share. Graph by Statista)
Contrary to popular belief, Google was not the first search engine to hit the web. It was, however, one of its greatest innovators.
According to The Conversation, Google innovated two processes to streamline the web searching experience: “Highly efficient processes for crawling web pages to index their text, and a new way of ranking a page’s relevance based on the number and quality of pages that linked to it.”
An investor, Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim, realized the potential of the young duo’s project, and wrote them a check for $100,000, officially giving birth to Google. This allowed the two young men to escalate their operations: they moved from their dormitory at Stanford University to Susan Wojcicki’s garage (Wojcicki is currently the CEO of YouTube).
From garage, to corporate headquarters
Soon, Google would grow to even greater heights, holding its initial public offering (IPO) in 2004 not long after creating Gmail.
In 2005, the company created Google Maps, cementing the role of digital maps in our daily lives. Again, it wasn’t the first to launch such a service, but it was the first to truly innovate it, incorporating live directions and other useful functions.
2006 saw Google truly adopt a more diversified business approach, on its way to the conglomerate it is today. It was the year when they purchased YouTube for $1.6 billion. Today, YouTube is currently worth $40 billion, according to an analysis released by investment firm Jefferies.
In coming years Google has continued to diversify its activities, investing in self-driving cars through its Waymo project in 2009, in smart glasses Google Glass in the early 2010s, AI in 2017, and many more projects.
Google is on track to become a major driving force in all aspects of our lives.
“One more thing…” – Enter Apple
Similarly to Google, $1 trillion Apple also had humble beginnings. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak and Ronald Wayne founded Apple in 1976.
Apparently a staple of startup tech companies, Apple was also launched from a garage.
Its first forays into the computer market weren’t exactly marked by any resounding success. It continued to release PC models up to 1985 when Jobs left the company amidst a falling sales controversy.
In 1995, Jobs returned to Apple.
The company’s next success came in 1998, with the release of the colorful iMac. Their resounding breakthrough, however, would come 3 years later.
Apple redefines a decade
In 2001, Jobs released the first iPod, promising users back in the CD-player age “1000s of songs in their pockets.”
Two years later, in 2003, iTunes was launched, bringing the world the concept of digital music downloads. The subsequent generations of the iPod dominate the portable music player market.
(Graph by Statista)
2007 saw the entrance of a behemoth: The iPhone. Perhaps unintentionally, the company had made its own iPod line redundant, even marketing the new handheld as “a widescreen iPod with touch controls.”
The following years saw a boom in the touch screen smartphone market, eating up the shares held by major players such as Blackberry and Nokia.
(Graph by Statista)
Not satisfied with breaking expectations and redefining the tech industry, Apple released the iPad in 2010, effectively making the tablet market what is today.
Its latest achievement has been becoming the first American publicly traded company to reach the 1$ trillion market cap mark.
Similarly to Google, Apple is dabbling with several innovations of the future, such as self-driving cars, and pushing the envelope in the continued development of AI software such as their personal assistant Siri.