I might not be the best qualified to write this article. I’m a young upstanding man of 28 years, so I was 13 when Google came along.

I haven’t known work, barely known play, and certainly haven’t known facial hair to exist without Google (some say I still don’t know about those things).

Google has done so much, not just ensured we never again have to climb up ladders in libraries, ask strangers for directions or call directory enquiries ever again. 

I’ve been exploring the Google timeline for nuggets of interest on Google’s 15th birthday...


In 1998, Larry and Sergey originally began work on a search engine called BackRub.

Try saying this: “Hang on a sec, I’ll BackRub it".

The Google Doodles

You can find all of them here.

The first celebrated the Burning Man festival, August 30th 1998.


And here’s two that show the variety of doodles over the years.


And here’s the Pac man doodle that’s undoubtedly the most engrossing.

Grateful Dead

An integral part of Google’s history, Charlie Ayers, who previously cooked for the Grateful Dead, became Google’s executive chef in 1999.


First Google Zeitgeist 2001

Google has mapped rises and falls since 2001.

Way back then, Pokemon were on the decline and Jennifer Lopez on the way up.

Froogle launched, December 2002

Sounds like a Jim Henson creation, becomes Google Shopping in 2012.

Orkut launched January 2004

Big social network of its day, still massive in Brazil.

Gmail launched, April Fool’s Day 2004

In 2009, it failed for a short while. And it happened again last week. At Econsultancy we've been faithfully using Gmail for the last three years.

Google Maps launched, February 2005

Over the years it's blasted Apple maps out of the water, as proven by the iPhone 5 fiasco.

October 2005: talks at Google begin

Here are two favourites of mine:

Simon Schama

And Will Self

June 2006, Google added to OED as a verb

See the entry here.

May 2007, Street View debuts in five US cities

And there’s no escape from those cameras..

First Android phone September 2008: the G1 from T-Mobile

Android has gone on to take a majority market share of smartphone operating systems.

Google Chrome launched, December 2009

We were pretty much wrong about it from the start.

Google Wallet launched, May 2011

We think NFC for payment might take a while to take hold, but Google's Wallet will soon become more prevalent on the web, and as a app in store.

Google Glass launched, April 2012

Here's 12 things it might destroy.

I had to wait until August 2013 to inadequately twerk in a pair.

There are lots of events I haven’t included, including self-driving cars, Project Loon, Calico etc. In another 15 years time, I’m sure some of these projects will seem a lot more significant.

Ben Davis

Published 27 September, 2013 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (3)



Google has a fantastic history, which revolutionized the web. It is still contributing to web innovations by developing HTML5 and other languages.

almost 5 years ago


Darragh McCurragh

Interesting timeline indeed, thanks for putting it together. Had forgotten all about the BackRub story. While I was around "back then" and tipping my toes into the Internet waters all I used was the search engine functionality and the other stuff not until much later. And as for search engines we all used Yahoo, Altavista, Lycos and Google was a "runner-up" at the beginning. And for the life of me I can't remember when that changed and it sort of became habitual to try BigG first ...

almost 5 years ago



Timeline of Google looks so good and very impressive. Google has made a very good impact in everyone's life. Tremendous achievement. :)

almost 5 years ago

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