Google: The IT Iconoclast

Published: 27 Jan 2010

Google's success story is woven around two simple tenets – question established ways and have a healthy disregard for the impossible. Here is an insight into how Google has consistently challenged convention and succeeded in each of the markets it has entered.

By Subha Rama, Unified Communication & Collaboration Group

When Google began as a student project at Stanford, it was founded on the firm belief that whoever harnessed search would ultimately dominate the Internet. Just two years later, the Internet was already morphing into a phenomenon, growing from a few hundred pages into tens of thousands of web sites and millions of pages, creating the need for search engines that are fast, intuitive and accurate. Existing search engines were more portal-like in character, with search being just one of their features, leaving users disillusioned with their search results. Google, originally called BackRub, reinvented search by using an algorithm that ranked pages by quality (named PageRank after one of its founders, Larry Page), which makes searches highly relevant. The algorithm derives a probability match of a page to a user query by correlating the number of links towards a page and their relevance.

As Google grandly outlined in its first SEC filing, its mission was "to organize the world's information …. and make it universally accessible and useful". Google believed that the most effective, and ultimately the most profitable, way to accomplish this mission was to put the needs of their users first. This has become more or less the governing principle behind almost all its product innovations.

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