Happy 20th Birthday Google! | Reflect Digital

Happy 20th Birthday Google!

Love it or hate it, Google has transformed our lives, and for many of us, we've seen a drastic change to all things Google within living memory! 

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  • 26/09/2018
  • by Abigail

Happy 20th Birthday Google!

“When Google started 20 years ago, our mission was to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. That seemed like an incredibly ambitious mission at the time—even considering that in 1998 the web consisted of just 25 million pages (roughly the equivalent of books in a small library). Fast forward to today, and now we index hundreds of billions of pages in our index—more information than all the libraries in the world could hold. We’ve grown to serve people all over the world, offering Search in more than 150 languages and over 190 countries.” - Google 20 years Announcement.

Love it or hate it, Google has transformed our lives, and for many of us, we've seen a drastic change to all things Google within living memory! As a digital agency, we thought it would be fun to ask some of our staff about how Google has transformed their lives!

Paul Simms - Chief Operating Officer

What do you think about Googles future?

Google’s future is heading for, a quite scary, world domination. In Q1 Alphabet, the parent company of Google achieved $31.1 billion in revenue. Combining the cash, resource, innovation and huge quantities Google has at their disposal along with their continued investment into R&D means that their innovation knows no bounds.

What memories do you have of Google throughout the years?

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Google for the last 10 years. I set up my first website in 2008 and instantly started trying to understand the algorithms behind the search engine. It turned out that SEO between 2008-2011 was actually pretty easy. All you really needed to do was optimised your page titles, heading and content to have your keywords in the right places and the right “keyword density”, build/buy a load of exact match keyword links and 9 times out of 10 it was job done. That all changed in February 2011 with the Panda algorithm update that aimed to lower the rank of "low-quality sites" or "thin sites”. This changed the playing field slightly but when Google released the Penguin algorithm update on 24th April 2012 SEO changed forever. Many websites lost 75 - 80% of their organic traffic overnight as this update was designed to devalue or penalise websites using spammy or manipulative link building tactics. Although Google had warned webmaster about using these tactics the truth is they worked and while businesses competitors were ranking above them using poor link building practices they became the norm. Forward-thinking SEO agencies had already started to move away from using some of these link building tactics however if websites had a high percentage of manipulative links they were penalised.

Recovering from a Panda or Penguin algorithm update was a nightmare. In those days the algorithm did not work in real time so it was not possible to fully recover from a penalty until the algorithm update was re-run. In some cases there were 18 months+ between algorithm updates.

Helen Pollitt - Head of SEO

What do you like/dislike the most about Google? 

I like that there are some Google employees who are genuinely generous with their time in reaching out to the search marketing community and helping them to understand how to make their sites better.  Personally, I dislike how much of my data Google is accessing and storing about me, but as a marketer, my life would be a lot harder if they didn't.  

What would life/your life be like without Google?

I would be very conscious of every minute change Bing was making, or whatever search engine rose up instead of Google.  I wonder if SEO would even be the industry it is today if it wasn't for Google, however.  

What do you think about its future? 

Google will continue to be a prolific player in the future of not just search, but our relationship with technology  I feel they have diversified so much into other technology and media spaces that they will continue to be innovating and shaping society's interactions with the internet for at least the next 20 years.  

Steve Sinyard - Designer

How has Google changed for you over the last 20 years - good and bad?  

My answer for this is both good and bad. It’s great that you can find an answer to pretty much anything but just Googling it but that’s also a negative because you don’t go on a quest to learn about what you’re trying to find out as much as you could 20 years ago. For example, changing a tyre is a lot easier now you can YouTube it compared to looking at the wheel and figuring it out.

What do you like/dislike the most about Google? 

I dislike the amount I use it, I should take the time to learn facts in another way. I like how simple and quick it is, most of the time now you don’t even need to click on a link and read through a webpage to find the answer.

What would life/your life be like without Google?

I would Ask Jeeves :) 

Abigail Stephenson - Marketing Manager 

How do you use Google in your daily life?

I use it all the time! I’m actually trying to use it less, but the trouble is they’ve nailed usability, and it's so valuable for time-saving! As much as I hate all the data I’m giving them, it’s ‘life friendly!’... from Google Maps to Opening times, to finding information, and online orders. Google makes life easier!
The best thing about Google for me is how it doesn't matter where I am, from Japan to Sri Lanka, Google has helped me across the world get the information I need when I need it!

What do you think about its future? 

Without a doubt they’ll continue on usability, and probably the ‘user journey’. It always used to be about Micro-Moments, but people are realising that it's not just about solving a query when it arises as we’re constantly on a journey, it makes marketing and targeting much easier when you apply this theory to every Google User!

What would life/your life be like without Google?

I'd never get anywhere. Seriously, I still remember using maps (you know the ones that you'd try to open out while trying to avoid hitting your driver) and getting my family lost on holidays car journeys. Google Maps aids my awful memory of locations and ensures I get to where I need to! 

Joanna Earle - PR and Media Manager

What memories do you have of Google throughout the years?

One of my earliest memories of Google is thinking what a funny name and questioning what it was and how it will help me. Google's Google Doodles I always enjoy. I especially liked the Pac Man one to celebrate its 30th anniversary. According to pixelogo It was the first interactive Doodle that Google released.

I also remember the first time I discovered Google maps and using the little yellow man to use Google street view - it was the best way to kill time with friends and see if you could spot yourself after knowing a Google car had driven through a street you lived on. 

What do you like/dislike the most about Google? 

I love the fact I can get an answer to a burning question so instantly but I don't like how that can almost be seen as a negative thing. People have stopped thinking logically searching for an answer in their head and have succumbed to always Googling it! 

What would life/your life be like without Google?

Would it be harder? I'm not sure. I managed to get by without it growing up but now it's so natural to pick up my phone now or turn on my mac and Google something and get an answer instantly. I'm currently planning a wedding so googling things like; meadow weddings, etc, is quite common for me right now! 

Frankie Plummer - SEO Executive

How has Google changed for you over the last 20 years - good and bad?

I’d say a good thing over the last 20 years has been how Google has moved away from being 10 blue links to providing rich content that better meets the user’s needs. On the bad side, we are still trying to work out as a society the balance of convenience and privacy. That increasingly, in order for Google to work optimally at the level of the individual user, certain personal information is used to provide a tailored service. I think we need to take a closer look at the use, limits and ownership of this data to ensure the long term preservation of individual privacy.

What were your first memories of trying to rank a site?

I once worked for a client in a niche market and who were trying to improve their SEO. Although there was low competition, seeing their rankings and traffic increase was great to report on. It suddenly made SEO best practice tangible and real, and knowing I caused the increases was really encouraging.

What do you think about its future? 

I think more and more information will be displayed on search engine results pages, with websites acting as an additional step to provide more context on core information. I think Google will be increasingly seen as a publisher and not a neutral platform for finding information. As a result, legislation will come into force to clarify this distinction, impacting all the major tech companies.

What do you think about the future of Google? What's your relationship like with Google Technology?
Let us know! 


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