In the 1990s and early 2000s, many Silicon Valley startups began in garages, including Google. The company that’s so universally known you can find them in the dictionary was no exception.
The story of the search engine begins in 1996 with two Stanford University Ph.D. students. In this humble workspace, one of the most important inventions of the 21st century was born.
Now, thanks to our high-tech existence, you can see the iconic workspace for yourself. And you can do it from anywhere.
Let’s check it out!
What is Google?
You’re probably familiar with Google. This tech company created the world’s most popular search engine, which helps millions of folks find information online daily. Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two college student web developers, started it in 1996.
Before earning its current name, the tool was initially called BackRub. Brin and Page chose the name as a nod to the search engine’s ability to check backlinks, which are hyperlinks that connect one website to another. However, they eventually decided to rename it Google, a play on words referring to the large number, Googol.
Brin and Page officially incorporated in 1998. Since then, it’s grown into one of the world’s biggest tech brands. Aside from the well-known original product, they now offer things like computer software, cloud computing, electronics, and even artificial intelligence.
The brand earned its reputation as “the most powerful company in the world” thanks to the search engine’s success. Along with Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, and Meta, it’s considered one of the world’s Big Five tech companies.
Did Google Start in a Garage?
The famous Google garage isn’t just a tech world myth. This super successful company really did start in a humble garage in Silicon Valley.
Larry Page and Sergey Brin rented the Google garage while attending Stanford University. Their landlady, Susan Wojcicki, eventually became the CEO of YouTube. She charged her tenants only $1,700 monthly to lease the room where the tech giant was born.
Page and Brin used this location for just five months, but the story remained essential to their history. The company purchased the house in 2006 and owns it today. For its 20th anniversary in 2018, the staff restored the garage to its 1998 appearance, complete with desks, computers, and even a bicycle.
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Can You Visit the Google Garage?
Interested in visiting the Google garage? You can explore this iconic carport for yourself, but there’s a catch: your visit will be virtual. It’s located on private property, but they’ve recreated its appearance for Google Street View visitors.
The Street View tour takes visitors through a blue side door on the garage. “Walk” through the door, and you’ll see a large table that served as the company’s main workstation. You can even spot a computer monitor displaying the classic search engine homepage.
As Google grew, it hired more workers. Eventually, Brin and Page expanded from the garage into the house, moving into the first-floor bedrooms. These rooms are also staged to resemble their former glory. Check out the workstations, but notice the various break-time toys and games. There’s a ping pong table, a terrarium, and an electric keyboard.
What Are Some Famous Google Products?
We all know Google is responsible for the most famous search engine on the web. But what else does they produce?
Listing all of their products would take forever. This company makes a lot of stuff. Hardware, apps, operating systems, phones, and advertising services are just a few of their areas of expertise.
Google’s Pixel brand is one of its best-known product lines. It includes tablets, phones, earbuds, and other electronic wares. Chromecast, a family of digital media players, is another familiar line. They also manufacture smart home devices under the Nest brand, including in-home thermostats, doorbells, speakers, and more.
The company’s mapping and statistical tools are some of its most widely-used products. Their Maps and Analytics services handle much of the world’s navigation, advertising, and web traffic monitoring. The tech giant even provides online access to books, news, arts and culture, and financial data as part of its web offerings.
You might own or use Google merch and not even know it. For example, if you own a Fitbit fitness tracker or run a Blogger account, you use their products.
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What is the Google Digital Garage?
This massive tech company no longer operates in a humble garage. But the spirit of the first headquarters lives on in the Google Digital Garage.
The Digital Garage launched in 2015. As the name suggests, it’s a place for people to learn, improve, and experiment with digital learning. Whether you want to learn digital marketing, data analysis, or improve your current job skills, there’s something in the Garage for everybody.
Courses cover all kinds of topics. Machine learning, programming, and digital sales are just a few areas you can study. The best part is that every course is free and easy to sign up for. You can earn certain certificates through the Digital Garage for a nominal fee.
Fun Fact, Googol vs. Google
We mentioned before that the name came from a large number. That large number, googol, is large indeed–when written down, it’s a one followed by 100 zeroes.
Page and Brin named their company Google because it’s how many people spell the number on accident. To the creators, that number was the perfect metaphor for how big they wanted their service to be.
Today, the word “Google” is in the dictionary as a transitive verb. Merriam-Webster defines it as using the search engine “to obtain information about (someone or something) on the World Wide Web.”
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Big Things Can Happen in Small Places
The Google garage began as a cheap, messy workspace for two college students. Today it’s known as the site of one of the biggest tech innovations in history.
Although you can’t visit in person, the virtual tour is the next best thing. Who’d have thought this small startup would someday offer digital access to its original headquarters using its own software? Back then, the chances must have seemed like one in a googol. The company’s success is a reminder that just about anything is possible.
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