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How Google Works


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By Jonathan Strickland

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Fair-goers use laptops at Google's stand at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Oct. 8, 2006. Take a look inside Google with Googleplex pictures. Torsten Silz/AFP/Getty Images

What began as a project helmed by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two students in Stanford University's Ph.D. program, is now one of the most influential companies on the World Wide Web: Google. At first, the students' goal was to make an efficient search engine that gave users relevant links in response to search requests. While that's still Google's core purpose today, the company now provides services ranging from e-mail and document storage to productivity software and mobile phone operating systems. In less than a decade, Google evolved from a two-man enterprise to a multibillion-dollar corporation.

Today, Google's popularity continues to grow. In 2007, the company surpassed Microsoft as the most visited site on the Web [source: Kopytoff]. The company's influence on the Web is undeniable. Practically every webmaster wants his or her site listed high on Google's search engine results pages (SERPs), because it almost always translates into more traffic on the corresponding Web site. Google has also acquired other Internet companies, ranging from blogging services to the video-sharing site YouTube. For a while, the company's search technology even powered rival companies' search engines -- Yahoo! relied on Google searches for nearly four years until developing its own search engine technologies in 2004 [sources: Google; Hu and Olsen].

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