The Internet’s favorite way of finding things you shouldn’t be doing at work has turned 13 today. My, they grow up so fast, don’t they? In a few more years, it’s going to get a driver’s license and want to move into an apartment with Bing and Yahoo. While we still have Google under our roof, I used it to find a list of “Betcha Didn’t Know” facts:
- Google’s home page is very plain for a reason. When its founders started the site, they didn’t know how to use HTML…so they really had no idea how to create a website. The stripped down theme became a hit because the page loads very quickly and is used today.
- A footer with Google’s copyright info had to be added to the bottom of their page because users initially would sit and stare at the site, thinking it was still loading. The footer information basically let them know “This is it!”
- The name “Google” was accidental. The original founders actually wanted to use “Googol”, which is a mathematical term for 1 followed by 100 zeros, but they misspelled it.
- In an ironic twist, Google’s search really started to take off when automatic spell checking was added. The “Did You Mean…” suggestion is designed to be helpful yet non-insulting to people’s spelling skills. This feature made searching exponentially more accurate.
- Google employees are urged to use 20% of their time working on personal projects. Features such as Orkut and Google News, and others came out of these projects.
- Google employs the largest group of translators in the world.
- Google uses a 20/5 formula for introducing features. If 20% of people use a feature, it will be included into the product. If only 5% use a feature, it will be included as an “advanced option.”
- The Google Doodle has become a popular feature, usually paying homage to an innovator or historical event. The first Google Doodle appeared in 1998 as an “out of the office” message. The Google engineers took off to the Burning Man Feastival and placed a special logo on the page letting people know they weren’t around for maintenance:
- Back in 1996 when Google was still being developed, it’s researchers needed a way to easily house ten 4GB hard drives (considered a huge amount of storage back then). The group decided to make a case out of Legos. Some state that the primary colors of the Legos were the inspiration for Google’s multi-color logo:
- Google allows employees to bring their dogs to work. Not so much with cats. Their company policy states “Google’s affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture. We like cats, but we’re a dog company, so as a general rule we feel cats visiting our offices would be fairly stressed out.”
- Outside of Google’s main campus is their pet dinosaur “Stan”. It’s an actual T-Rex that was found nearby.
- There are various Easter Eggs you can find on Google’s site. Here are a few:
– Google has special language sites that transform your search results. Elmer Fudd, Klingon, Swedish Chef are a few favorites.
– Google’s built in calculator gives some interesting results. Search for the loneliest number, you’ll get “1”, search for the “Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything,” and you’ll get “42” (a Douglas Adams reference). Someone printed an extensive list here.
-Google can also “psychically determine what you are searching for” with their MentalPlex portal.
– Don’t ever search for Chuck Norris and click the “I Feel Lucky” button:
- Google is famous for it’s April Fools Day pranks. This year they “invented” Google Translate for Animals. In the past, they’ve claimed they changed their name to Topeka, claimed to create an Internet network that runs through the sewer systems (Tisp- Toilet Internet Service Provider), and GMail Paper– a service that lets you get all of your email shipped to you on hard copy.
- One of the top search terms on Google? “Google”. Yes, a large percentage of our Internet population actually searches Google for Google.