Google, the search-engine giant whose name has become one of the most-used words in the world, started as a research project by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, doctoral students at Stanford. The co-founders settled on the word Google, which references a mathematical term, for their search engine.
The new company was incorporated in 1998, and by the end of that year it was widely considered the best search engine on the Internet.
In 2004, the company launched an initial public offering through a Dutch auction that opened the bidding for even small investors. On the day of the IPO, shares were sold for $85 apiece. Today, shares have jumped to more than $400 each.
The company has continued to expand its services beyond searches. Google's major acquisitions over the years include the online ad company DoubleClick, the mobile phone platform company Android, and the video streaming site YouTube.
In 2006, after its name became part of everyday lexicon, "Google" officially became a verb. Both the Oxford English Dictionary and the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary added the search engine's name to their definitions.