This is a timeline primarily based on information found on the Google Milestones page on the company's website and complemented with external information.

1995 - 1997

Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin meet at Stanford University. The two graduate students in the computer science department begin to develop a search engine, hoping to create a better one than those available at the time.

The search engine, called BackRub, progressively earns an excellent reputation among those who use it.


Brin and Page put their academic careers on hold and found Google in September 1998, helped by some early investors. By now,, in beta or test mode, fields 10,000 search queries per day. Newspapers and magazines begin taking notice of the company and its search engine.


By February 1999, Google has eight employees and the service is fielding more than 500,000 queries per day. The first commercial search customer comes on board - Red Hat - and Google raises funding from more investors.

On 21 September, exits its beta phase, as more companies license the search engine for their portals and websites. Google caps off the year by making Time magazine's Top Ten Best Cybertech list for that year.


A particular corporate culture has by now begun to develop. The company, which has about 60 employees, hires its own chef. Roller-hockey games are played in the parking lot. Page and Brin foster an air of informality and encourage the exchange of ideas.

The Google search engine continues to improve with new features such as access to it from mobile devices and availability of the interface in multiple languages. The index grows to 1 billion pages.

Google also starts generating revenue not only from licensing out its technology and service, but also from selling ads relevant to searches with its AdWords program.

The Google Toolbar, a browser plug-in, sees the light in late 2000.

By the end of 2000, the Google search engine handles more than 100 million queries per day.


Google makes progress in mobile access to its search engine in 2001, as it advances the technology and strikes deals with major wireless carriers.

Meanwhile, the index keeps growing, reaching 3 billion web documents.

In 2001, Google buys the assets of to make the Usenet archive searchable from its search engine.

In the fourth quarter, the private company announces it has become profitable.

During the year, Google broadens its operations internationally by opening sales offices in Hamburg, Germany, and Tokyo. It also makes it possible for users to search pages only in a specific language, filtering out all other languages.

Google also launches image search and catalogue search.


Google enters the enterprise search market with the introduction of its Search Appliance, a hardware box loaded with Google search software.

Google makes available APIs (application programming interfaces) so that external programmers can link their applications with Google services, such as the search engine.

Google adopts a pay-per-click model for its paid search program AdWords, so advertisers pay when a user clicks on their ads and not when the ad is served.

In May, AOL chooses Google to power searches and provide paid search ads across its websites and online properties.

Google Labs makes it debut, providing company engineers with a place to display projects with promise, but still in early stages of development.

Also in 2002, Google launches its news search, as well as its comparison shopping service Froogle.


Google buys Pyra Labs, creator of the online journal publishing service Blogger.

The AdSense advertising program debuts, allowing websites not owned by Google to carry the company's paid search ads. Google splits the revenue with its AdSense partners.

The Google Deskbar appears. It is similar to the Google Toolbar, except it doesn't require a browser, because of its location in the Windows taskbar.


Google's web index exceeds 6 billion items, including 4.28 billion web pages, 880 million images and 845 million Usenet messages.

Local search, which lets users find business listings for a specific geographic area, is launched, along with an improvement to the advertising program that lets advertisers target their ads to specific locations.

On April 1, Google rocks the webmail market with its launch of Gmail, whose innovations include a then-unprecedented 1GB of storage and a unique way of grouping related messages into "conversations" based on their subject lines. Gmail also brings Google its first major public relations setback, as privacy advocates criticise the company's decision to serve up ads in the body of messages, based on the content of the messages.

Later in April, Google files with the US Securities and Exchange Commission for an IPO (initial public offering), creating an enormous amount of buzz around the company. The Google IPO is viewed by some as heralding the return of the internet economy, and as a sign that the dot-com bust has been overcome.

In July, Google buys Picasa, makers of a photo-management and -sharing application.

On 19 August, Google launches its IPO on the Nasdaq exchange through an unorthodox Dutch auction process, which the company chooses, it says, to attract a broader range of investors than usual.

In October, Google releases Google Desktop Search, a free downloadable application to index contents of users' hard drives.

That same month, Google SMS (short message service) launches, letting users query the Google search engine from a mobile device using text messaging.

Also in October, Google buys Keyhole, makers of digital and satellite image mapping software. Keyhole's multiterabyte database of digital images of geographic locations, culled from satellite and aerial snapshots, would later become Google Earth.


Google introduces a smaller and less expensive version of the Search Appliance, called the Google Mini.

The company also makes its first - albeit conservative - foray into multimedia search, with the launch of the Google Video service, which, despite its name, in its first version doesn't really deliver any video for playback.

Google's Image Search grows to more than 1 billion images.

Google Desktop Search for the Enterprise, a version of the desktop search tool for organisations, is launched.

Google's local search is enhanced with the addition of a mapping service, Google Maps.

The Personalised Homepage service becomes available on Google Labs, letting users populate the Google home page with items such as news headlines, stock quotes, weather information.

Google Earth, based on Keyhole technology, debuts in June, causing a stir in the digital mapping market. Google Earth is a free, PC-based application that uses satellite images to render maps, and lets users "fly over" the planet from location to location, and zoom in and out of places.

In July, Google announces the opening of a research and development center in China, to be led by Kai-Fu Lee. The move prompts Microsoft to sue Google and Lee for alleged breach of the employee confidentiality and noncompete agreement Lee signed when he became corporate vice president of Microsoft's Natural Interactive Services Division.

In August, Google finally makes its long-rumored entry into the consumer instant messaging market with the Google Talk service, which lets users exchange text messages and communicate using voice from PC to PC.

In September, Google adds blog search to its menu of search services, allowing users to search for content specifically in these increasingly popular online journals.

Also in September, Google announces it has hired Vint Cerf, adding the internet luminary to its executive roster.