The rise of Google

Key dates in the history of Google, the world's No. 1 Web search engine, which filed for an initial public offering Thursday:

March 1995: Google co-founders, Sergey Brin from Moscow and Larry Page from Michigan, meet at a spring gathering of new Stanford University Ph.D. computer science candidates.

January 1996-December 1997: Brin and Page create BackRub, the precursor to the Google search engine.

Sept. 7, 1998: Google is incorporated and takes up residence in a Menlo Park, Calif., garage with four employees, after Brin and Page put their studies on hold and raise $1 million in funding from family, friends and "angel" investors. Google answers 10,000 search queries per day. The company's name is a play on the word googol, which refers to the number 1 followed by one hundred zeros. Brin and Page are 24 and 25 years old, respectively.

February-June 1999: Google receives $25 million in funding from venture capital funds Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Sequoia's Michael Moritz, Kleiner Perkins' John Doerr and angel investor Ram Shriram join Google's board.

May-June 2000: Google, answering 18 million search queries a day, becomes the largest search engine on the Web. Internet media company Yahoo picks Google as its default search results provider.

March-April 2001: Eric Schmidt, CEO of Novell and a former chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems, joins Google as chairman.

July-August 2001: Schmidt is appointed CEO while Page becomes president, products and Brin becomes president, technology.

November-December 2001: Google boosts the size and scope of searchable information through its search engine to 3 billion Web documents.

January-February 2002: Google begins selling its enterprise search appliance, a hardware and software product that helps companies and organizations find information within corporate intranets.

March-April 2002: Google launches a beta version of Google News, which provides news stories from numerous global providers.

May-August 2002: Google opens offices in Paris, adding to operations in London, Toronto, Hamburg and Tokyo. George Reyes, a former Sun Microsystems executive, joins the company as chief financial officer. Google and Time Warner's AOL unit announce search and advertising pact.

September-October 2002: Google rolls out its keyword advertising program worldwide, making it available in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.

November-December 2002: Google launches a beta version of Froogle, a search engine that helps users search for millions of products on the Web.

January-February 2003: Google acquires Pyra Labs, creator of the Web self-publishing tool Blogger.

March-April 2003: The company announces its content-targeted advertising program and the acquisition of Applied Semantics.

May-June 2003: Google launches AdSense, an advertising program that delivers ads based on the content of Web sites.

February 2004: Yahoo begins rolling out its own Web search technology, phasing out Google's offering.

March 31, 2004: Google announces its free e-mail service, Gmail, supported by advertising. The move came amid increasing competition from Yahoo and Microsoft, which have built strong user bases around free e-mail, and are attacking Google's main search business.

April 15, 2004: Online retailer Amazon.com unveils a test version of its own Web search service, dubbed A9, which incorporates Google's search technology.

April 29, 2004: Google files with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to sell as much as $2.7 billion in stock in an initial public offering. The company said it would seek to list on either the Nasdaq or the New York Stock Exchange.

Source: Reuters

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