Google Search: 20 years of assistance and interaction with users

September 2018

Organising the world's information in the least amount of time possible and making it universally accessible and useful has, since its inception, been the main objective of Google search engine. It was a journey that began on 27 September 1998 and forever changed the way in which users interact with information. It was a commitment to innovation that started 20 years ago and that, although it seems to be just beginning, it involves permanent changes and developments that accompany the most significant moments of our lives.


That mission continues to mark every step of the search engine and improve according to the needs and expectations of Internet users. "Google" is one of our favourite activities and this verb has become a synonym for "search something on the web". But why is it called Google? The term Googol, which represents the number 10100 (10 raised to 100) or 1 followed by one hundred zeros, was coined in 1920 by mathematician Edward Kasner. The founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, found a way to reflect the scale of the challenge they faced in that game of words. In September 1997 they registered the domain and in 1998 the company that we know today as Google was born.

That ambitious mission to organise the world's information and make it accessible is possible thanks to machine learning, a series of algorithms that permanently change and analyse what the user wants and what results to provide them with. While twenty years ago the web consisted of some 25 million pages, currently there are more than 130 trillion: but users do not want trillions of answers, they just need one. Ranking systems that provide quick and easy searches, as well as availability on different devices, are the other face of this gigantic expansion of global information on the Internet.

And as the world has evolved, Search evolved with it. While the search engine started on desktop, it’s now available all sorts of devices, from phones, to cars, to smart devices for the home. And, the internet has spread around the world. Now provides search in 190 languages and 150 domains. And as Search evolves, the homepage design and their logos have also changed.

The first version of the Google search engine homepage:

first version of the Google search

The evolution of the Search logo:

Google's evolution

In 20 years, almost everything has changed about technology and the information available to us. But the core principles of Search have stayed the same. Focus on the user and provide the most useful and relevant information is the main goal. Whether the users are looking for recipes,or studying for an exam, or finding information on where to vote, Search is focused on serving information needs and meet the evolving expectations of the people who use Google.

So how does the search engine work? Considering the millions of web pages with potentially relevant information, how does Google decide what it needs to show in the results? Track and index are among the basic steps of the search engine. Likewise, the search algorithms allow, among other things, the analysis of the user's words (understanding the true meaning behind a search) and returning useful information from the web.

Everyday, people make decisions on what to watch, read or buy, and Google works to enhance the quality of recommendations and personalise them for each user. For example, the synonym system, which took 5 years to develop, improved the results in more than 30% of searches in different languages.

The innovations over the last twenty years also include images, an option that appeared in 2001 and was improved, for example, with the possibility of creating albums or using an image as search content to find related photos all over the web. Google Lens is another great contribution, as it allows you to take a photo of a book, a building or an animal to get details and information about them.

And if we talk about images, how can we not mention the famous doodles, those artistic inventions added to the Google logo that pay homage to important personalities or allude to various celebrations.


Search predictions and the autocomplete function, voice searches, spell checker, finding out about what happens in the world with Google News, the possibility of searching videos and movies, as well as translating content according to language preferences, all increase the list of great advancements that users have had in these first twenty years of Search.

Twenty years of assistance, search results and interaction with Internet users. As a tribute and as a way of celebrating this twentieth birthday, Think with Google would like to share what Internet users in the world and Hispanic America searched for between 2011 and 2018.

The 20 most searched for expressions and words in the world and region between 2001 and 2018:


Search started with the mission of organising the world’s information and make it universally accessible. Google feels a deep responsibility to this mission and making search better every day.

Happy Birthday, Search!

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