If anybody has dropped by on the Google.com search page today, they might have noticed yet another special title redesign: balloon letters tied to a gift box, a red balloon with a “2” next to an O-shaped one. That means most likely what you are thinking right now. September 27 this year is exactly two decades to the day in 1998 that Google selected to celebrate its founding anniversary. Never mind that their initial product, the Google search engine, launched days earlier on the 15th, or that their company was incorporated earlier still, on September 4, 1998. Google marks its years from the 27th and that is how it is.
Google has long had a tradition of celebrating each passing year of growth and success with celebratory Easter Eggs on their online platforms. As The Verge tells it, the company has done just that and more so, for this 20th anniversary bash. On the Search Engine front page is a new video Doodle that looks back at some of the most famous Google search queries from all over the world since 1998. From China asking how to do a necktie Windsor knot, to Japan searching for cat pictures, to everybody wondering what happens on Y2K, it is all shown there.
Next on the “Google at 20” nostalgia parade is a special edition Google Maps street tour. The location is the garage of Menlo Park resident Susan Wojcicki, aka the first office of Google used by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. With her permission the garage has been redecorated to call back to how it looked as the original home of Google search engine and the birthplace of its growth into one of the pillars of the internet today. Google Maps users can navigate the view space to see Google’s roots, with plenty of 90s stuff and more Easter Eggs to find with every click.
Finally, there’s another quirk put by Google into their venerable search engine, though it apparently isn’t available outside the US. Deliberate entering terms and phrases that were popular in 1998 will be answered by the admonition “It’s 2018! Don’t you mean…” followed by a more contemporary search item. For example, typing “page me” (pagers) will get back “New phone, who dis?” (cellphones); or “clip art” replaced by “GIF”. The world has come a long way indeed, and Google has been with it all the way.
Image courtesy of TechCrunch