This week marks an important event in the history of the Internet. On September 4, Google turned 20. Yes, the search engine was launched in California by Messrs Brin and Page in this very week 20 years ago, and things have never been the same.
Indeed, the search engine has become such an important part of our daily lives that ‘Google It’ has almost become a synonym for search. Indeed, many may not even remember what was Netscape and Yahoo. Internet Explorer and Netscape have ceased to exist, Chrome is outpacing IE’s successor Microsoft Edge and those still using Yahoo are being looked as somewhat of a dinosaur.
As teen geeks taking over the world, Google has been there way long before Mark Zuckerberg appeared onstage. From a search engine, Google has now its hands in almost all pies with storage (Drive), online streaming (YouTube), email (Gmail), WiFi, mapping, navigation, photos and now even smartphones. This leads us to our next question: Is the company growing too big ‘for its own boots?’
Going by the news, it seems Google is becoming somewhat of a ‘big brother’. As this report by AP succinctly puts it, “Google’s search engine remains entrenched as the Internet’s main gateway, and its digital advertising business is on pace to generate about $110 billion in revenue this year. Much of that revenue flows through Google’s Android operating system, which powers 80 per cent of the world’s smartphones. Google also runs the biggest video site in YouTube, most popular web browser in Chrome, top email service in Gmail and maps that most people use to get around.”
The giant is already in crosshairs of many regulators. It has already been fined by the European Union for unfair use of its search engine and illegal bundling of products in Android, an operating system it has developed and which runs on a majority of smartphones in the world. It has already ticked off the US Senate by refusing to send its CEO to a hearing on alleged Russian manipulation of US presidential polls. Yes, manipulating polls, this is the extent it has come to control us. It will be interesting to see how the company fares in the next 20 years.