Google has given a chance to its users to look around the garage where it took birth. On the occasion of 20th birthday of the company, the search giant posted a Google Street View Tour of the Menlo Park, California garage where it all began in 1998. The company has recreated the space and has added every single detail to it. It has also included a secret room filled with classic Google memorabilia. The YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki owned the garage which served as Google’s first headquarters. It was the place where the foundations of Google were laid by the co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page. The firm wrote in a blog post, “To celebrate Google’s 20th birthday, today we invite you to travel back in time and take a virtual stroll through the original Google Garage in Street View – (almost) like it was 20 years ago.”
Once the user crosses the garage door, a slightly messy room awaits them. There is a complete retro CRT monitor which shows the vintage Google search bar. The company also stated in the blog post that Brin and Page were glad that washing machine and dryer were included in their rent. Further down the hall is the ‘main office’ where a whiteboard says “Google’s Worldwide Headquarters.” There are many desks with vintage computers and one of them has a Post-It note which says, “User first!” The blog post states, “As the team grew to six people, they expanded their workspaces into three small bedrooms on the ground floor.”
Users can find a collapsible mini rainbow sphere, a surf-frog terrarium, a dinosaur, a ping pong table and a piano keyboard among the artifacts of Google. Another whiteboard shows some logos designed for Google and while there is a jersey with Brin’s name on the back of a desk chair. Google removed the exclamation mark from its logo in 1999 when it recreated the typeface and other elements from its logo. The company didn’t change its logo again till 2015 when it introduced a sans serif version.
The company has hidden many Easter Eggs in the virtual tour which can be revealed if you focus on it a little. When users turn on the neon Google light, some classic Google memorabilia are revealed. This includes two pairs of prototype glasses lying on a table in the garage, which perhaps depicts the company’s Google Glass project. The colorful bikes which are used on Google’s Mountain View campus can be seen scattered throughout the rooms. The firm created this virtual tour based on real footage of the office which was captured by ‘Harry, Google’s sixth employee’.
The history of the tech giant dates back to 1995 at Stanford University in California when a prospective graduate school student Larry Page met Sergey Brin. After becoming friends, both Page and Brin developed a search engine called Backrub in 1996, from their dorm rooms. It was designed to improve online search by using links to determine the importance of website pages. The search engine was renamed shortly, and the Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim invested $100,000 in the startup in August 1998. This helped Brin and Page, and they officially founded Google on 4th September 1998.
The investment allowed Brin and Page to move to a new location and work from a garage in Menlo Park, California which was owned by the employee and future CEO Susan Wojcicki. Google grew a lot in its early years and then settled on a new headquarters in Mountain View, California in 2003. The company initiated its initial public offering on NASDAQ in August 2004 and rolled out some new services over the years. These included Google News in 2002, Gmail in 2004, Google Map in 2005 and Google Chrome in 2008. The company also launched its mobile operating system Google Android in 2008 and later created the online social media network Google+ in 2011. In 2015, it became the main subsidiary of the holding company Alphabet Inc. Currently, Google is the largest search engine in the world and employs around 80,050 people. It generated revenues of about $110.9 billion in 2017. Google also created a revamped version of its search engine as a part of its birthday.