Google Turns 15: Google Doodle Lets You Whack a Piñata (Plus: Fun Easter Egg)

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Okay, we have several orders of business to take care of.

First, Google is 15. If you don’t care to learn any more about that, head to, warm up your spacebar and take a whack at Google’s birthday piñata. It’s fun!

Second, the Google-is-15-today thing is a little murky. The company filed for incorporation on September 4, 1998 but officially launched on September 27, 1998.

Easter egg! Search “Google in 1998” on Google.

Some highlights from the timeline of events leading up to the September 27, 1998 launch:

In 1995, Larry Page visits Stanford. He has graduated from the University of Michigan and is considering Stanford for grad school. As fate would have it, Sergey Brin is his campus tour guide. “According to some accounts, they disagree about almost everything during this first meeting,” says Google.

By 1996, Page and Brin are both grad students and they’re collaborating on a search engine called “BackRub” – here’s the archived version of the site. It includes links to Brin’s homepage (which is awesome) and Page’s homepage (which is sparse) as they appeared on Stanford’s servers. Sergey’s cool animated GIF for his profile photo is truly mesmerizing.


Sergey Brin —

An early Google logo, as found on Sergey Brin’s archived Stanford homepage.

In 1997, Page and Brin decide to rename BackRub to something else. “Google” is born. It’s “a play on the word ‘googol,’ a mathematical term for the number represented by the numeral 1 followed by 100 zeros. The use of the term reflects their mission to organize a seemingly infinite amount of information on the web,” says Google.

Can you imagine if they kept the original name? “Let me BackRub that real quick.”

By 1998, Google is building up steam. In August, “Sun co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim writes a check for $100,000″ so Page and Brin can get down to business. The check is written to “Google, Inc.” but Page and Brin don’t officially incorporate until early September. They then open a bank account so they can deposit the check.

Page and Brin begin working out of Susan Wojcicki’s garage in September as well. Today, Wojcicki is a senior vice president at Google. After the check clears, presumably, Craig Silverstein – a computer science grad student Page and Brin know from Stanford — is hired as Google’s first employee. And though there’s no mention of it in the company timeline, Google apparently becomes officially official on September 27, 1998.

The entire timeline is worth a read if you’re interested in Google’s history. And, as mentioned, Sergey Brin’s archived Stanford homepage is pretty fascinating. There are links to some of his personal photos and fun quips such as “My Mom and Dad are on the WWW. My brother’s elementary school is also online.”

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