A Universal Google

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Team Members

Stefani Smith
Amy Oseen
Melissa Holman
Mike Zhou
Houman Aminnejad

Initial Project Statement

Google aspires to make the world’s information easily accessible for everyone. This leading search engine is well on its way to accomplishing this goal. Google has become a known symbol of knowledge since any question can be answered with “just Google it”. Also, Google has taken many initiatives to better the well-being of the world. Google Inc is a company which is aspiring to better the environment for living for all man-kind.


History of Google

Google started as a research project between two Ph.D. students at Stanford University in California in January 1996. The students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, hypothesized that a search engine that analyzed the relationships between websites would produce a better ranking of results than existing techniques, which ranked results according to the number of times the search term appeared on a page. Page and Brin originally named their search engine “BackRub” because the system checked the backlinks of a site to hypothesize its importance.

Later on, the two students decided to change the name “BackRub” to “Google”. Google came from a variation of the word “googol” which is a mathematical term for a 1 followed by 100 zeros. They believed “Google” represented their monumental mission, to organize billions of bytes of data found on the Web, more so than “BackRub”.

The original search engine was created with a domain of google.standford.edu. The domain used today, google.com, was registered on September 15th 1997 and the company was incorporated as Google Inc. on September 4th 1998 at a friend’s garage in California.

Today, Google is not only an efficient search engine but also provides services such as e-mail (gmail), document storage, productivity software, mobile phone operating systems, Google maps, Google Earth, Google Toolbar, Google Desktop and Google Gadgets.


How Google Works

Just like all search engines, Google uses a special algorithm to generate search results. This algorithm is a company secret, which enables Google to remain competitive with other search engines on the web. By keeping this secret, the chances of someone finding out how to abuse Google are greatly reduced. Google also uses automated programs known as spiders or crawlers and a large index of keywords and where those keywords can be found. These are used by all search engines on the World Wide Web. However, Google uses a different system to rank its search results to determine the order that it will display the results on its results page. To do this, Google uses an algorithm called PageRank which assigns each web page a relevancy score.

This PageRank depends on three factors: firstly, the frequency and location of keywords within the web page; secondly, how long the web page has existed; and thirdly, the number of other web pages that link to the page in question. The most important of these factors is the last one. Since Google looks at the links to a web page as a vote, it is very difficult to cheat the system.


In 1998, Larry Page and Sergey Brin used donated machines and school equipment to run Google. At this time the equipment included:
- Two 300-megahertz (MHz) Dual Pentium II servers with 512 megabytes (MB) of memory
- A four-processor F50 IBM RS6000 computer with 512 MB of memory
- A dual-processor Sun Ultra II computer with 256 MB of memory
- Several hard drives ranging from 4 – 9 GB for a total of more than 350 GB of storage space

As of date, Google uses hundreds of thousands of servers to provide services to its users. To do this, it uses relatively inexpensive machines that run on a customized operating system, which is based on Linux. The program Google File System organizes the data on Google’s servers.

Each server is used for a different task. Web servers receive and process user queries, sending the request on to the next appropriate server. Index servers store Google’s indexes and search results. Document servers are used to store search summarizes, user information, gmail, and Google Docs files and finally, ad servers store the advertisements Google displays on its search pages.

A master computer supervises each set of servers. The job of the master computer is to keep track of which servers hold each block of data in case the system crashes. If there is a problem and one server fails, the master computer will redirect all traffic to other servers that contain the same data.

Video Link On How Google Finds Your Site

Google's Environmental Efforts

Being one of the largest portals and search engine around today it is not surprising that Google not only requires a lot of energy to keep their data centers cool enough to operate, but they also use a lot of electricity to power those data centers. Obviously this is a dilemma for such a large operation that exists in a society that is regarding environmental issues as high priority. This has lead Google to incorporate many green policies. Dan W. Reicher, director for climate change and energy initiatives at Google, said that Google not only wants to make money, but they also want to have an impact. This is why Google has hired a growing number of engineers, former government energy officials, scientists and even a former NASA astronaut. Google has not only made an extra effort by hiring these experts in the energy saving field, they have also invested in over $45 million dollars in wind, solar and geothermal energy start ups.

The plan that Google has is to neutralize Google’s carbon footprint exists with their 3 main strategies they are implementing into their corporation. The first strategy is that Google invests in the use of renewable energy sources, the second is by Google making strong efforts to reduce energy consumption and maximize efficiency. Finally as a more temporary effort implemented by Google, they have began purchasing carbon offsets. To implement these three strategies, Google has paid out over $20 million dollars to start up research efforts in solar-thermal, as well as high altitude wind power. They also paid out another $10 million dollars to a California to research efforts in other solar thermal power.

Google also has helped to power a greener way to search the web. Blackle is a web search that saves energy by using a predominantly black. While Blackle is not owned by Google itself it is a Google Custom Search partner. Blackle works by the fact that it takes more energy power to display a white screen than a black screen. This is a simple, small step to take in order to save the environment. The cumulative effort of Blackle has had a serious impact on the environment as indicated by the 953,496.092 Watt hours saved total that is on the Blackle home page.

Google Company Benefits

Google has one of the best employee benefits in the business world. These benefits stretch from 30 days paid vacation leave for employees that have been there for more than four years to on-site doctor. Google offers its employees a gourmet cafeteria in which all the food present is free of charge. Google offers free legal representation to their employees and extending onto reimbursing up to 5000 dollars if they chose to sponsor a adoption agency or external legal representation. Google employees all receive holiday pay for up to 12 holidays regardless on which holidays they choose to celebrate. Tuition Reimbursement by up to 8000 dollars a year is provided by the company for grades of B or higher, the official Google site says “Why a “B” or better? Because we said so”. Google offers free financial assistance courses to aid its employees and like all their benefits it is absolutely free. Google offers a short term disability package that pays 75% of your salary and a long-term disability package that offers 65% of your net pay. Google’s maternity leave is for 18 months and 100% pay, if you are not the primary caregiver Google offers seven weeks off with 100% pay. Are you the charity type? Well if you are Google contributes the same amount that you contribute to non-profit organization with a cap of 8000$. Google offers a free shuttle service for its employees.

The Googleplex -- Google's Headquarters in Mountain View, California

NASA and Google

Google and NASA are currently teaming up to work on new technology innovations, such as large-scale data management and bio-info-nano convergence. Google is also developing around 1 million square feet in the NASA research park at Moffett Field. Google and NASA are also trying to raise awareness by bringing entrepreneurs into the space program, and working on a project to create a type of “Google Earth” that zooms in on satellite images of space. This will bring those images right to your home computer, allowing to “travel through space” whenever and wherever. With two powerhouse companies such as these working together, awareness of space technologies will grow exponentially and further educate anyone wishing to know more about the universe.
Google is also involved in the competition that anyone can participate in by simply pulling a team together to see who can be the first to send a robot to the moon. This project is called The Google Lunar X PRIZE that has the winning team getting $20 million. Their robot must not only make it to the moon, but travel 500 meters and transmit video images back to the Earth.The teams must be at least ninety percent funded privatively and must register by December 31, 2010. The first team to land on the Moon and complete the mission by December 31, 2012 will be given the $20 million. The second place team will be awarded $5 million and there is another $5 million that will be given away in other bonus prizes. To date there are 16 teams and two have withdrawn and the race is on.

Future Aspects and Goals of Google

  • Google is looking to the energy sector as a potential business opportunity. From the beginning, Google has invested millions of dollars in creating more efficient data centers.
  • Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, announced that Google is going to collaborate with Jeffrey Immelt, General Electric’s chief executive, on creating policies and technologies that are aimed to improve the electricity grid. This, in turn, could include offering tools for consumers. Google is considering projects that generate electricity from renewable resources.
  • Google.org has also invested in clean energy start-ups such as using kites to harness wind power.
  • Last year, Google revealed an initiative named REC, denoting its goal to develop renewable energy that is cheaper than coal. Google also plans to switch to renewable energy sources including solar, geothermal and wind power.
  • Google is also looking to develop highly available plug-in hybrids. To make this available, the electrical grid would have to be upgraded so that cars could be plugged in at multiple locations, where they could be recharged and consumers could be billed. These electrical grids would need to be environmentally friendly in order for this project to become a success.
  • Finally, Google is working on a mobile phone known as the Google phone, or GPhone. The GPhone works by using an operating system for mobile phones that is based on open-source Linux software.


“Google has built a powerful network of data centers around the globe in hopes of, among other things, connecting users instantly with high-resolution satellite pictures of every corner of the earth and sky; making the entire text of books, in and out of print, available online”