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20 Fascinating, Little-Known Facts About Google

20 Fascinating, Little-Known Facts About Google

It’s been 10 years since Google Inc. went public, and a little more than 15 years since Stanford University PhD students Sergey Brin and Larry Page formed the company that has become a universal verb–the “Xerox” of internet search.   But you don’t become a verb, or earn notoriety, without engaging in some eye-opening behavior. From its origins to its future products, from one co-founder interviewing candidates in a cow costume to the company’s attempts to model a genetically perfect human body, here are 20 fascinating facts about Google’s history and company (#19 will blow your mind!)

1. Google’s name is misspelled

The name is a play on the word “googol” (1 followed by 100 zeroes), because Brin and Page wanted to organize a “seemingly infinite amount of information on the web.”

2. Brin and Page are college dropouts (kinda)

Both young men had completed their master’s degrees and were on their way to becoming computer science “doctors” when the matter of a soon-to-be billion-dollar company got in the way.

3. Google’s was once housed in a rented garage

Unlike Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s founder), and Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard (HP’s founders), neither

Brin nor Page, nor their parents, owned the garage that housed the intrepid entrepreneurs. It belonged to their friend Susan Wojcicki (Google employee no. 18); and apparently, even though they has already been a company for two years, they moved into her garage and paid rent in part to help Wojcicki pay her mortgage. google-garage-1

    4. Like prisoners, every Google employee has a number

    It started with Page and Brin (Google Employees nos. 1 and 2) and extends to the 50 000th employee (Google has roughly 55 000 employees). To some, referring to professionals by a number might seem rude, or cult-like. But if you’re a hugely successful company, you can get away with just about anything.

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    5. Is that Sergey Brin in a cow costume stroking his udder?

    That actually happened, during a job interview, according to Doug Edwards, in his book, I’m Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59.

    6. Not every perk at the Googleplex is free.

    The company is famous for treating its employees to the high life at its “Googleplex” headquarters in Mountain View, California: Free lunch (and breakfast, and dinner), free haircuts, free state-of-the-art gym, and the greatest workplace invention ever, the nap pod (see below). But some luxuries come at a cost, like full-body massages and dry cleaning. And some are downright exorbitant: Google once infamously hiked its onsite day care costs from $33,000 per child per year to $57,000.

    Google nap pod

      7. Google’s “do what you want” employee perk may be dead or dying

      That claim is being made by some current and former employees who bemoan the demise of the Innovation Time Off program. That program lets employees tackle undirected pet projects for one day a week (or 20% of their work hours).

      Google denies this charge. And that’s good, because it would be sad to lose a perk that resulted in Gmail, Google News, and AdSense (the pay-per-click ad platform, which accounts for 25% of the company’s revenue).

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      8. Google has lost top talent to its competitors

      Several former executives have bolted Mountain View for competitors like Facebook (Gideon Yu, Sheryl Sandberg), Yahoo (Marissa Mayer), and even the U.S. government (Megan Smith, the nation’s Chief Technology Officer).

      9. Technically, Google is more than 150 companies rolled into one

      The company has acquired nearly 200 technology businesses since its inception, including YouTube, Waze (a GPS navigation app), and GrandCentral, the VoIP platform that now exists as Google Voice.

      10. Google doesn’t make “droids”

      This may come as a surprise to some iPhone users, who are accustomed to Apple’s hands in every aspect of the products they sell. Google’s primary smartphone product is not hardware, but software: the Android mobile operating system. For a brief period, Google owned the smartphone manufacturer Motorola Mobility, whose Android-powered phones (one of them is actually called the Droid) make up less than 6% of the Android market. Google’s own Nexus smartphones and tablets–like the new Nexus 6–are actually manufactured by LG, HTC, or Motorola Mobility.

      11. Google Glass may be coming to an airport near you

      One of Google’s chief hardware plays is Google Glass, the wearable technology that raised eyebrows when it was unveiled (and will soon have competition). Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic, a consistent technology first-adopter,  is the first airline to try Google Glass to scan boarding passengers’ passports.

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      virgin atlantic and google glass

        12. Google has been involved with some spectacular failures

        Anyone remember Knol, Google’s attempt to compete with Wikipedia? Or the messaging apps Google Wave and Google Buzz? What about the social network Orkut? It held on for 10 years, thanks to a large fan base in India and Brazil, but has finally died an honorable death.

        13. Google is assembling an army of robots in its secretive skunkworks lab

        Not just robots, but a driver-less car, which is already legal in California, as well as Google Glass (see #11), and other “moonshot” ideas. The semi-secret lab, called GoogleX, aims to improve technology “by a factor of 10… [and to] develop science-fiction-sounding solutions.”

        14. Google wants the human genetic map to be searchable

        The latest GoogleX project, called Baseline Study, will collect and analyze biological samples from 175 individuals (followed by thousands more) in order to create a molecular database that can be searched for bio-markers (indicators of specific maladies).

        15. The company has one true “don’t be evil” division

        Google.org, the company’s “do good” philanthropic arm, says that it donates every year $100 million in grants and $1 billion worth of products to nonprofit firms and community causes.

        16. Google joins the search to find the root causes of autism

        One of those community causes is MSSNG, a project of the research-funding and advocacy organization Autism Speaks that will use Google’s Cloud platform to store the genomes of people with autism and their families. The goal is create an open-access database for scientists around the world to analyze.

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        17. By their own admission, Google has a diversity problem

        Its first ever diversity report revealed that just 30% of its employees are women and a combined 5% are Black or Hispanic.

        18. Historically, Google has been consistent, if nothing else, with its hiring of women

        Coincidentally (or not),  6 of its first 21 employees (or 29%)  were women–the 21st, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, is probably the most high-profile woman associated with Google.

        19. Google can read your mind

        It’s been doing that since 1 April, 2000.  Don’t believe it? Enter Google’s MentalPlex and find out for yourself. And if you believe that, then you probably haven’t noticed the date on that website.

        20. Google had an internal white board that listed a plan to colonize Mars

        So says Google Employee no. 59 in his book, I’m Feeling Lucky. (A different white board photo, which featured the idea of orbital mind control,” is shown above as the feature image).

        “People would just write anything on [the Google white board], and [outsiders] would come and say, “Is this for real?” said Edwards to Fast Company. “There was everything from Colonize Mars, to Take Over This Industry—all sorts of things that would not have gone over well with the Justice Department. They were all meant in jest,” he adds, “but were just close enough to reality that people would be like, Are they really gonna do that?”

        Featured photo credit: Google Whiteboard/Yoz Grahame via regmedia.co.uk

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        Published on September 20, 2018

        11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

        11 Google Chrome Apps and Features to Help You Get More Done with Less Effort

        In today’s fast-paced and never-ending busy world, we are overwhelmed by tasks that need to be completed by tight deadlines. With so much technology it is difficult to find the right tools to help boost our efficiency. And, many tools get obsolete so its essential to stay up-to-date to know when you will have to make adjustments to these tools. Independently of where you work, there’s a good chance that you have to be working on a PC or a laptop.

        Do you are feel like you do not have enough time, or cannot accomplish much as of late? It is recommended to take a step back and look at the big picture. Also, you want to explore new and innovative ways to improve productivity.

        In this article, I outline 11 features and apps within the Chrome browser that can help you do just that.

        Minimizing Tabs

        Let’s face it we all have more than a dozen tabs opened on our computers. One neat trick to still keep most of them open is to turn them into pinned tabs. On Google Chrome you can right-click the tab and select “Pin Tab” option. This turns the tab into an icon enabling you to continue multitasking.

        Pinning a tab anchors the tabs on the left of your toolbar; a great benefit of the “Pin Tab” feature is that you can’t close these tabs accidentally since the “X” disappears after pinning them.

        Incognito Mode

        Google Chrome is a very easy-to-use and intuitive. But, Google does collect our browsing data; so to remedy this, you can use Incognito Mode. This feature does not keep your browsing or download history. You can enable or access it in three different ways:

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        1. Press Ctrl/Command+shift+N
        2. Select File Menu and choose New Incognito Window
        3. Download extension New Incognito Window

        This feature is very handy if you’d rather not have your browsing history stored and utilized for future advertisement or suggested pages.

        Save Webpages as PDF Files

        Have you ever browsed interesting or important information and then forgot to bookmark or save it in “favorites”, making it impossible to find again? Chances are you have done this on a number of occasions.

        Thankfully, there is an easy solution. You can save webpages as PDF files. On your keyboard, press control/command+p and you will be able to save webpages as PDFs.

        Open Recently-closed Tabs

        Ever had dozens of tabs opened and all of a sudden your browser shuts down? It has probably happened to all of us. You can easily recover all of your tabs using two approaches. Don’t panic if this happens because there is a workaround and solution for it.

        One is by pressing Ctrl/CMD+Shift+T.

        The other approach is to click on the three vertical dots on your browser and hover over “History”.

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        Solve Mathematical Problems

        Google’s Chrome browser doesn’t just search for relevant and updated information. It is also capable of performing some mathematical problems. Within the omnibox (Chrome’s address or URL bar), you can perform mathematical exercises.

        For example, if you are struggling with percentages you can search 20 percent of x amount and it will instantly provide a result. Pretty handy, right?!

        Play Media Files

        Are you frequently met with difficulties when playing or watch a video files? Well, once again Chrome comes to the rescue. You can can listen or play videos from all sorts of movie or music files (mp3, mp4, .mov, .mkv, .ogv, .webm, .wav, etc.) by simply dragging the file into the search bar.

        In addition, you can view images, PDF files and Microsoft Office files, too.

        Navigate Swiftly Between Tabs

        With all of those tabs opened comes great navigation responsibilities. Rather than clicking through every tab, you can use shortcut keys like Ctrl+Tab to navigate all of the different tabs. Also, you are able to navigate to the first tab by pressing Ctrl-1, Ctrl-2, and so on. If you want to switch to the very last tab, press Ctrl-9.

        Stay Focus(e)d

        Computers nowadays have awesome capabilities.

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        Sometimes we like to get work done, but let’s face it, we’re all human. We sometimes procrastinate by visiting a website we really like, or maybe take a break with watching a flick on Netflix, a video on YouTube or browsing Facebook.

        With Chrome’s StayFocusd extension, you can truly stay focused and get more done in less time.

        This extension naturally helps you stay more productive by limiting the amount of time you spend on websites. You can set the time and it will automatically block those sites after a certain period.

        Grammarly for Editing

        Grammarly is a must have, and it’s really a complete powerhouse. Grammarly helps you check your grammar and spelling for everything you write online.

        You can use it professionally or as a student, which will make the editing process much easier and more efficient. Furthermore, it can automatically check for typos when you send an email, type a Tweet, or post a Facebook comment. It’s like having your own personal copyeditor!

        Loom

        There are times that words in an email or written text in a chat app will just not convey the right meaning.

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        There is a saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, the same is true of videos.

        With Loom, you can capture, narrate and immediately share video recordings of your screen, which will help coworkers understand issues you are facing, or to easily convey an explanation on screen. Plus, with video you will be able to easily walk people through a process, and you can use it to create simple how-to videos.

        Chrome Calendar Extension

        No matter what your level of responsibility is at your job, Google Calendar is another essential resource to have at your fingertips.

        Specifically, you can have this extension added as an icon in the toolbar of your browser, which I highly recommend. Once you add the extension to your browser, you can check for upcoming events with a single click without leaving your current page.

        Final Thoughts

        Google Chrome has definitely evolved from its inception. As you can see you have a very powerful tool that comes as a free installation and is loaded with dozens of capabilities. The above listed Chrome apps can resolve some of the most common obstacles to your time management and productivity.

        Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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