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What is Google?

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The logo and search page of the multi-facetted internet giant Google is displayed on a computer screen
Scott Barbour/Getty Images News/Getty Images

What Google Does:

Google is one of the five most popular websites in the world. Google is a web search engine that lets you find other sites on the web based on keyword searches. Google also provides specialized searches through blogs, catalogs, videos, news items and more.

Google provides Internet services that let you create blogs, send email, and publish web pages. Google has social networking tools, organization tools, and chat tools, services for mobile devices, and even Google branded merchandise.

How Google Began:

Larry Page and Sergey Brin collaborated at Stanford University on a search engine called "Backrub." The name came from the search engine's use of back-links to determine page relevance. This is a patented algorithm known as PageRank.

Brin and Page left Stanford and founded Google, Inc in September of 1998.

Google was an instant hit, and by the year 2000, Google was the world's largest search engine. By 2001 it did something that eluded most of the dot.com business startups of the time. Google became profitable.

How Google Makes Money:

Most services Google provides are free, meaning that the user does not have to pay money to use them. The way they achieve this while still making money is through unobtrusive, targeted text advertisement links.

Although most of Google's profit comes from Internet advertising revenue, the company also sells some subscription services, such as Google Earth Plus and Google Earth Pro. Google also sells enterprise searching tools, servers, and search technologies for corporations.

The Google Web Search:

The biggest and most popular Google service is the web search. Google's web search engine is well known for providing relevant search results with a clean interface. Google is the largest and most popular web search engine in the world.

Advanced Searching:

Google expanded beyond simply finding websites based on keywords. You can search within printed books with Google Book Search, search for news items with Google News, search for video files with Google Video, or search for products for purchase with Froogle.

Learn about the top ten ways to search with Google.

Communication Tools:

Communication tools include Blogger, Calendar, Gmail, Groups, Hello, and Talk.

Google Downloads:

Desktop software applications include Desktop, Earth, Picasa, and Toolbar.

Mobile Tools:

Tools for mobile devices include the mobile version of Google News, SMS, and Maps for Mobile.

Corporate Environment:

Google has a reputation for a casual atmosphere. As one of the few successful dot.com startups, Google still retains many perks of that era, including free lunch and laundry for employees and parking lot roller hockey games. Google employees are allowed to spend twenty percent of their time on projects of their choosing.

Controversial Behavior:

Google, in order to maintain a worldwide presence, has sometimes had to pull or filter keywords and websites for web searches originating in some countries, such as China, Germany, France, or even the United States. This has lead to charges of corporate censorship, but Google maintains that they filtered results only to comply with the law.

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