By Sandra Birungi
Google yesterday celebrated its 15th anniversary since its inception with its first office in the garage of a suburban home.
To mark the grande day, Google unveiled its latest upgrades which among other things include a subtle redesign of the Google mobile apps for Android and Apple (AAPL) devices, intended to make it easier to ask spoken questions in more conversational phrases.
In addition, Google has managed to change its mathematical formula called Hummingbird that works behind the scenes to understand questions and provide the best answers Google can find. Google senior vice president Amit Singhal the change was needed because internet searching is rapidly changing. Fifteen years ago, “if you wanted to find something, you had to think of the right keywords that would appear on the right Web pages,” he said.
“And our algorithm had to go through some fundamental rethinking of how we are going to keep our results relevant.” The algorithm was introduced over the past month, although casual users probably haven’t noticed.
Google was started up by Stanford grad students Larry Page, now Google’s CEO, and Sergey Brin, who oversees such offbeat projects as the wearable Glass device and self-driving cars. But Singhal promised that the company isn’t sitting on its laurels. “We know we are just getting started,” he told reporters.
While the company was officially incorporated Sept. 4, 1998, Google usually celebrates the anniversary at the end of September, for reasons that seem to have become lost over time. The students’ first office was given to them by Susan Wojcicki, then a recent Stanford business school graduate who needed help paying her mortgage and offered them her garage and spare rooms.
“At the time I didn’t really know what to think about this,” Wojcicki said Thursday who currently occupies the company’s senior vice president for advertising.
It has reported more than $50 billion in revenue last year, handles more than two-thirds of all Internet search queries in the United States, according to the comScore tracking firm.