Google LLC is a multinational company which provides internet products and services, such as a search engine, online advertising technologies, cloud computing, hardware and software. Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are considered the big four technology companies
Google was founded by two Stanford University PH.D students, Sergey Brin and Larry Page in September 1998. About 14 percent of Google’s shares are owned by these two. Later on in October 2002, Delware reincorporated Google. Google moved to its HQ in California after an IPO (initial public offering) took place on August, 2004. Larry Page was later replaced by Sundar Pichai as the leading CEO of Google.
Google has experienced rapid expansion and growth since its incorporations and provides different products beyond its search engine. Different products are designed by Google for different purposes, such as productivity and work ( Google Slides, Google Sheets, and Google Docs), time management and scheduling (Google calendar), email (Gmail), photo editing and organizing (Google Photos), video chat and instant messaging (Meet,Hangouts, and Duo), note-taking (Google Jamboard, and Google Keep), language translation (Google Translate), blog publishing (Blogger), navigation and mapping (Street View, Waze, Google Maps, and Google Earth), video sharing (Youtube), and podcast hosting (Google podcasts).
Google has shifted its focus towards hardware production; it has produced its Nexus devices by partnering with electronic manufacturers, from 2010 to 2015. In October 2016, Google released various hardware products, including Google Daydream virtual reality headset, Google Wifi mesh wireless router, Google Pixel smartphone, Google Home smart speaker. Several Google services/websites including Google.com, Blogger and Youtube are among the top 100 most visited websites in the world, with Google.com ranking at first place. Google was surpassed by Amazon as being the most expensive brand of the world in 2017. Search security, tax avoidance, privacy concerns, censorship, and antitrust are some issues over which Google has received criticism.
Services and Products:
Billions of web pages are indexed by Google which allow users to use operators and keywords to search for content they desire. A report in 2009 stated that Google Search has a market share of 65.6%, and is the most popular search engine in the US. Google News service and Google Books are some other services which are launched by google.
Advertising is the largest source through which Google generates its revenue. These include purchase made in-app, sales of apps, digital content products on Youtube and Google, fees received for Google Cloud offerings, and licensing fees. Cost per clicks generated 46% of this revenue, with an estimated figure of US$ 109,652 Million in 2017. Adsense (like Adsense for search, and Adsense for content), AdMod, and DoubleClick AdExchange are three major methods used for this task. To take advantage of the emerging mobile market, Google launched “Adsense for mobile” in 2007. According to 2006 report, Google generated $10.492 billion revenue from advertising and only $112 million from other revenues. In 2011, advertising programs generated 96% of Google’s revenue. Google algorithms are designed to understand users search requests DoubleClick technology aids Google in targeting ads to specific web users based on their user history and search context.
Site owners can track user who visit their websites using Google Analytics, for instance by observing the clicks on the provided site links. Third party websites can place Google advertisements in a two-part system. Google Ads use a cost-per-click scheme to display various ads in Google content network. Website owners place ads on their sites through Google Adsense and earn money when a visitor clicks on the ad. Google Adsense has been criticized due to click frauds, which account for 14 to 20 percent of clicks. Click frauds happen when someone clicks an ad he/she is not interested in, causing the advertiser to pay Google for the click. Webmasters use Google Search Console to check the crawl rate, security issues and sitemaps of their site, as well as enhance their site’s visibility.
Android mobile operating system, car, smartwatch and television are developed by Google. Google Chrome and Chrome OS are also developed by Google.
Google offers Google Maps for navigation, mapping and satellite imagery, Gmail for email, Google Drive for cloud storage of data, Google calendar for scheduling and time-management, Google Photos for photo sharing and storage, Google Docs, Slides and Sheets for productivity, Google Translate for translating languages, Google Keep for taking notes, Youtube for video sharing and viewing, Duo for social interaction, and Google My Business for management of business information. Stadia, a cloud gaming server was unveiled by Google in March 2019.
Google released Nexus One, its first Android phone in Jaunary 2010. Under its brand “Nexus”, Google continued to release numerous tablets and phones, until Pixel replaced “Nexus” and further smartphone and tablet release discontinued.
In 2011, Google released Chromebook, an operating system running Chrome OS. In 2013, Chromecast dongle was released, that allow content to stream on TV from a user’s smartphone. In 2014, Google unveiled Google Cardboard, which allow users to view virtual reality (VR) media by placing their smartphone in the front compartment of cardboard viewer. In 2018, Google unveiled Pixel 3, after its predecessors Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. And in May 2019, Pixel 3a was introduced at Google I/O. In October 2019, Google introduced Pixel 4 and second generation Pixel Buds, wireless earbuds with built-in Google Assistant that can support Google Translate.
Controversy and Criticism:
Google being a tech giant has received a lot of media coverage, including criticism over issues like censorship of search content and result, copyright, tax avoidance, censorship, privacy, and search neutrality. Other criticisms are regarding manipulation and misuse of search result, user’s privacy violation through data compilation, unlawful use of intellectual property, its server’s energy consumptions, and various traditional business issues like anti-competitive practices, patent infringement, monopoly, and restraint of trade.
In July 2020, the big four tech companies Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook were accused of practicing anti-competitive and harmful strategies to reduce competition in the market. Each firms CEO appeared before US Congress lawmakers in a teleconference.