September 27, 2011, 1:54 PM — Google enters its teens today and celebrates with a Google Doodle of what else? a birthday cake as it has done in previous years.
Today's doodle is a little more elaborate than most previous birthday doodles. The Google logo is there, all right. But you might notice there's an exclamation point after the logo. That was part of the original emblem—something it ditched, thankfully, in 1999. The logo is also obscured behind a birthday cake, presents, party streamers, cone hats and balloons.
Although most of the time Google celebrates its birthday today, the google.com domain was registered on Sept. 15, 1997 and Google the company wasn't incorporated until Sept. 4, 1998. On at least two occasions in the past, Google has split the difference in those dates and celebrated its birthday on September 7.
Google didn't start posting birthday doodles to its main search page until its fourth year anniversary in 2002.
True to high-tech mythos, Google was started in a garage by two Stanford students, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, with $100,000 in seed money from Andy Bechtolsheim, a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.
But it didn't stay in that garage for long. Less than a year after Google incorporated, it had already moved twice when in June 1999, it announced it had secured $25 million in funding for its operations.
By 2000, things began percolating for the search company. Its main rival, Yahoo!, announced it would be using Google's search engine for its site. Meanwhile, it hit the 100 million search queries a day mark and launched its AdSense program.
The next year the company went global, setting up its first international office in Tokyo. It also added a new chairman of the board, Eric Schmidt, who soon became CEO of the company, and it branched out into image searching.
Google Labs, where the company develops new offerings, as well as Froogle, its shopping search engine, and Google News were all launched in 2002.
The next year Google got into the blogging business with the acquisition of Pyra Labs, maker of Blogger. It also launched Google Print, now Google Book Search, which gave searchers the power to ferret through excerpts from thousands of books in digital form. 2003 was also the year that lexicographers recognized a new verb in the English language: to google.
In 2004, Google's search index reached eight billion items. As it moved into its new digs, the Googleplex, its garage days were a distant memory. A most important development during the year was the launch of its web-based mail service, Gmail.