Google is celebrating 20 years of organizing the world’s information and making it accessible to billions of users in close to 200 languages. When Google Search was launched in 1998, the entire web consisted of only 25 million pages.
The task of indexing and cataloging this information, the size of a small library, seemed ambitious at the time. Two decades later, Google has indexed hundreds of billions of pages and the number grows with every new piece of information added to the web by users around the globe. The next chapter of Search is one that’s powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
“As the internet has spread around the world with increased connectivity, Google has made access to this information both faster and easier. We now provide search in 190 languages and 150 domains,” said Charles Murito, Google Kenya’s country manager.
He added: “I deeply believe in the power of information to change people’s lives – to transform them and connect them to opportunities with the Internet making it more accessible. Millions of people around the world come to Search every day and we hope to help each of them achieve what they’re looking for.”
Only available on desktop in its nascent years, Search has evolved over two decades and is now available in all sorts of devices, from phones, to cars to smart devices at home.
While a lot has changed in 20 years in the way people live and interact with technology, Google remains faithful to its core founding principles even as it innovates and adjusts to a rapidly changing world.
These principles include: making changes that prioritize the needs of the users; providing relevant and high quality information for every query; taking an algorithmic approach to every change made to Search; and rigorously testing every change made before rolling it out to the public.
Advancements in AI technology will see the innovation drive much of the the future Search engine as users experience a more intuitive search engine connecting them to more relevant and contextual information.
“The investments that we’ve made in the last few years enable us to tackle problems in ways we could not have imagined 20 years ago,” said Murito.
Some of Search recent innovations such as Voice Search, Image Search, Google Translate, the Knowledge Graph, and Job Search among others demonstrate the power of AI in driving the change.
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