Happy Birthday Google! You’ve grown up fast.

From the ‘Where is AltaVista?‘ files:

Today might be Google’s birthday, or at least one of several potential dates for Google’s birthday.

Google itself has a birthday cake image on the main web search page today, though there is some debate (on wikipedia and elsewhere) on the date of Google’s birth. Is it the date the Google domain was first registered? (September 15, 1997), the date the company was incorporated? (September 4, 1998)? Or..? Google own corporate history timeline isn’t all that clear either

Founding myths and actual dates aside, what a massive run Google has had so far. Remember when Google began the world of search was very different and Google got it’s real start (in my view) by being the engine inside of Yahoo.

I personally had been using AltaVista back in 1997/1998, but once Google jumped into the scene it become the only search for me and I’ve remained a loyal and satisfied user ever since.

Google’s expansion beyond just web search is the story of its greatest successes and failure. Yahoo had also expanded beyond core search (to its detriment) and became a portal, Google took a different path — adding services, Gmail, Calendar, Maps and Apps – that are seperate and not delivered via the Yahoo-style portal approach. Gmail with its awesome inbox capacity has changed the game in terms of web-based email. Google Maps changed the game in terms of how we interactively view and use maps.

Yes Google has failed too. Orkut is a marginal service that will always live in Facebook’s shadow, Wave was a good idea but it’s already been terminated, Blogger is neat but also pales in comparison to WordPress.

No, Google is not infallible and they have made mistakes, but I’d argue that their successes have outweighed those errors. Happy Birthday Google – whenever you actually want to call it your birthday – you’ve changed the web and empowered hundreds of millions of people along with it.

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