A few years after you finished asking Jeeves or climbing the Altavista mountain, you (way) more than likely started typing away on the Gateway computer in your family room on a new site with a funny name – Google. While they’ve done a great job commemorating the anniversary with a doodle, you can’t help but look back over the last 20 years to see how they’ve completely changed the marketing industry as a whole. One I’m feeling lucky query at a time.

(Not so) Humble Beginnings

Yes it’s fun to share memes about how Larry Page and Sergey Brin started the site in a garage. But just after the company was officially incorporated, PC magazine recognized Google as the search engine of choice and one of the Top 100 Websites for 1998. Shortly after that, the company received an investment of $25 million an moved into their first office in Palo Alto.

What’s an algorithm?

The term definitely isn’t proprietary to Google, but the company definitely put it on the tip of every marketer’s tongue. Caffine, Panda, Penguin, and Pigeon were all updates that have had SEO experts in a tizzy trying beat the system. Good luck with that. 

Start Making Money

After 18 million people started making searches each day in 2000, it was time to cash in and totally reinvent the way marketers would allocate their budget dollars for digital. While many brands were still spending on banner ads (hey, they actually worked at that point) Google rolled out this little thing called AdWords – little text based ads to the right of the search results. Obviously using AdWords has worked for businesses worldwide. So much so that even in 2014 the companies on the Inc. 5000 spent over $20k per month on trying to get people to click their slightly different colored links. $20k PER MONTH.

Move to Video

You know how we’re always talking about the move to video? Well, way before Facebook rolled out Watch, Google saw it coming by purchasing a little site that 20 somethings watched Reggie Bush’s high school highlight film on. Yep, they bought YouTube in 2006 for a cool $1.6 Billion. While there are still questions as to whether or not YouTube is profitable, there is no denying its usage. User watch over 1 billion hours of YouTube videos a day, more than Netflix and Facebook video combined.

Building the bridge between Physical and Digital

Apple has always been in the product company. So when Google decided to build it’s own platform and challenge Apple, people thought it was crazy. Little did they know that the android platform would actually go on to dominate the market through numerous partnerships with carriers and lower prices. Gartner reported that in the first quarter of 2017, a staggering 86% of smartphones sold worldwide ran on Android.

When all is said and done, the coolest thing that Google wasn’t done by them, but by it’s users. We’ve turned the company name into a verb. Don’t believe me? Google it