Happy 14th Birthday Google

Google celebrates its 14th birthday today. The world's biggest search engine, worth over $200 billion with over 50,000 employees across the globe, is still going strong following its launch in 1998.

So what milestones can we consider on this special day? Well, it was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while the pair attended Stanford University. Google was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998 and its public offering followed on August 19, 2004.

Back in 2000 when the Internet giant was just getting started, Google was available in 10 different languages; it won its first Webby Award and Yahoo! signed up for Google search. Its search index included one billion pages and it introduced Google AdWords and the Google Toolbar.

By 2002 it established a partnership with AOL, created its first Google APIs and launched Google Labs. Google News also came into fruition and the company opened its Australia office. By 2005, the company introduced Google Maps as well as Google Analytics, helping businesses everywhere to better understand where visitors were coming from. Google Reader also came about and Gmail for Mobile was launched into the mainstream. And who could forget Google Earth? Hours of fun spotting naked sunbathers on top of rooftops everywhere.

YouTube was acquired in 2006. That same year, we saw Google Checkout (now know as Google Wallet), Picasa Web Albums and Google Trends. Gmail also became available in 40 different languages. In 2007 the controversial Street View was launched, featured in Google Maps and Google Earth and literally bringing us panoramic views from positions along many streets in the world.

By the time Google turned 10 in 2008 it was active at US political conventions, had brought in the famous Google Suggest tool and introduced the first Android-powered phone.

Today, Google runs an estimated one million servers in data centres around the world, processing over one billion search requests every single day. It is also the most visited website in the United States and certainly in the UK. It is even researching and producing self-driven cars. Due to its huge power and dominant market position, Google has attracted a lot of criticism in recent years mainly over issues such as privacy, copyright and censorship.

As it celebrates its 14th year in the Internet business, can you ever imagine a world without Google? Its initial dream to take over the world and become a prominent feature in all our lives has certainly been realised. Where will the next 10 years take us? Mobile technology will continue, the battle with Apple will go on and more products will enter our lives to cement its place as the world's biggest company. Happy birthday Google!

Katy Cowan

Manchester, England,