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Happy Birthday, Google!
Google turned 25 yesterday.
The search engine is now old enough to rent a car – after Googling to find a rental car company.
The first ever Google search was performed by its founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1998. In a demo of the platform at Stanford University, they searched the name of former college president Gerhard Casper. The leading search engine at the time, AltaVista, pulled up results for Casper the Friendly Ghost. Google on the other hand pulled up results for Gerhard Casper the person.
Google launched online later that year and quickly became the dominant search engine.
What differentiated Google from others was its PageRank algorithm that uses backlinks to rank and organize search results.
While internet users and marketers have spent the last 25 years chasing that algorithm, Google has spent it shaping the modern web experience, from mobile to smart devices to search and email.
From a Connector to a Channel
For more than two decades, Google was akey connector to the entire Internet and the world’s information. Its algorithm is what made Search Engine Optimization the defining framework of online content and a second language to marketers, writers, designers and developers.
Today, Google’s role has shifted to being one of several channels as users and brands have taken to other platforms like Facebook, YouTube and Reddit. TikTok has quickly become the first stop for 10% of U.S. adults’ news consumption.
Along with social media, artificial intelligence and platforms like ChatGPT are accelerating the shift in Google’s influence in yet another direction. AI-assisted tools are now cutting edge, and Google has found itself playing a bit of catch up.
Though the way people consume information on the internet has evolved, Google still remains an all-powerful tool with an incredible reach. Now it acts as another channel in larger digital marketing efforts with paid search and display ads in the mix with paid and organic social and other tactics.