42 thoughts on “Google at 10: Larry, Sergey & Me”

  1. *sniff* This post brings back so many good memories. I worked at Cobalt Networks and was there when we IPO’d. Cobalt was by FAR the best company I have ever worked for — a passionate team of people building a great product that was way ahead of its time.

    If Cobalt had remained independent or had been acquired by a company that actually understood our technology, I firmly believe Cobalt would be the leader in server control panels, which are hugely popular (and profitable) in the web hosting industry. Alas, it was not to be, and the technology died on the vine.

    Cloud computing is interesting and gets more media attention, but control panel companies are quietly minting cash in the background.


  2. Terrific story.

    What made Google so powerful is also because of mis-steps by Yahoo and Microsoft. While Yahoo made the intitial mistakes of trying to become a media company from a search company, they did not try to correct themselves later on when they still had a chance. And Microsoft,so good at copying others ideas, simply ignored the search business until it was too late.

  3. I think we are missing one point here…It is also the greatness of America, that encourages free entrepreneurial spirit of the young minds…Its the whole culture in America…I’m not sure…If someone jogging early in the morning would meet Larry & Sergey on the way and after hearing them out, take them home and give them a 100 thousand check…before even Larry and Sergey having a company name….yeah Andy Bech. did that

    Google would not have born anywhere but in America…..In other countries…All investors have first shown doubts and would have said…..Internet has 100’s of search engines and even meta search engines like Copernic….why would Google be any different..

    Its the great American spirit and culture that makes things happen…there will be million more Google’s to come from America.

    We all seek an opportunity and a break to show our talent..And America gives that…

    (btw im not american im from asia)

  4. Add to that…I’m not sure..why Microsoft & Google is not giving back to the country which has given them all but rather giving all the money to Africa and Malaria :0)

    It is all Good to give money to charity, but forgetting the place from where they all come from is equally bad…I think America and American people deserve much more than what they get from big companies in the form of charity….

    yeah..Google is coming up with venture fund..but why wait…it should have come up couple of years ago..

    Gates…mentions about the bad state of education in America….why not built world class schools and hike the pay of teachers from his charity fund..

    I think 70% of Google and Microsoft money should be invested back into America for achieving American dream and making 100 more Google and Microsoft…Then whole world will be like an American dream…One should invest money in Good minds and places..so that less fortunates can be sucked into the big pond of good guys and places..

    (again im not an American…Its my views from asia)

  5. In another 10 years I wouldn’t be surprised if Google doesn’t enter non IT field. How about owning a football club, Formula 1 team or a Google drink.

  6. Bottom line:
    Information is data in Context.
    Context is organized data.

    So if you use link analysis you are building around the organization of data done by people. Or the hard part. The benefit is that you will get a better index of related data, hence Google was better then Alta Vista with just indexed words.

    The infrastructure picture was and still is well know for everybody working on something best described as:
    Goal oriented none numerical lock free massive parallel system

    While Google has worked on the parallel part, it misses out on the rest. Which might be a problem in the future. Since the rest describes actually how any brain organizes and prioritizes data.

  7. Total sidebar, but actually Sun paid about $2B for Cobalt


    that they pretty much ate in a write off a while later (see editor’s note concerning $2.38b write-off in this interview with McNealy)


    Talk about a lost opportunity. Of course Cobalt’s competitor, Whistle Communications, suffered somewhat the same fate after their acquisition by IBM, but in that case I believe the loss was more in the range of $60-70m (I’m not sure of the exact number but I knew a few folks who worked there and that’s what I recall from the time).

  8. I can’t agree with the author of this article that Google didn’t change the world. At least in a way that steam engine or Internet did. Humanitarian changes are in a different dimension.

    Those two dramatically accelerated the speed of life: we can reach much more places and much more people because of invention of engine and the Internet.

    One can cover just this many square miles of the Earth walking or using a horse or a sail ship. You can cover thousands time more by using an engine.

    One can communicate just with this many people via newspapers or radio. You can reach out to thousands more people over the Internet.

    I insist that Google changed the world in a similar way: it allowed one to find thousands time more information than by using portals or folders. Folders and bookmarks were initial ways of organizing information. It accelerates the search, but only dozens of times. Portal was the next step when one still has to go from a single entry point through multiple “folders” to reach whatever one is searching for. Both those ways of accessing the information also require consumer to put significant effort in organizing information in a way that would make access faster. But you can’t make it faster for everybody since people have different ways of looking for information.

    And that’s why I think that Google revolutionized the world. It used an approach that doesn’t require consumer to spend any effort on organizing the data while allowing everybody quick access to it. And everybody can find thousands time more information than by using older access methods.

  9. Om — this editor let your opinions ride in your stories back in those good old days at Forbes.com because it was your opinions that made you the best read reporter on the staff.

    I’m just annoyed you didn’t introduced me to Brin and Page when they were in the newsroom.

  10. 242 million searches a day does not equal around 4 million per hour, it equals around 10 million searches per hour or over 2750 searches per second. You should update the numbers.

  11. Om, great post, really enjoyed reading it. Also, maybe even more important, thanks for being an inspiration for health & fitness to so many of us in the web/tech community.

    Related to Google at 10, I had a chance to conduct a one-on-one interview with Marissa last year, and in honor of Google’s 10th birthday, I’m publishing excerpts on my blog this week. Here are a few:

    How Google evaluates and screens new ideas and products:

    Google at 10: More from my 1:1 interview with Marissa Mayer:

  12. I just remember how much better Google was at searching when I first started using it, which was probably around 1998. I had always used AltaVista way back then and the search results on Google were just so much more focused on what I wanted than AltaVista. I was an instant convert and so rarely went back to AV that within weeks never used it again. Though I’ve tried several search engines since then it takes a lot more to convince me to use something else permanently. I’ve yet to find any search engine that delivers results as good or as comprehensive. Google’s data set is so huge now it’s very very hard for competitors to come in and beat it. And Google has also stayed simple where most of its current competitor crop has slapped on a lot of candy rather than algorithmic innovation.

  13. It is hard to imagine that Google has only been around for 10 years and just how dependent so many of us are on it.

    I wonder just what the future holds for that company.

    Interesting post.

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