A Retrospective: Google’s transformation from BackRub to Quantum Supremacy.

Discover the crucial milestones of Google’s 22 years in Search Engine history, with Edit’s interactive tool showing the “Evolution of Google”. Understand how Google helped create the digital world as we know it and enabled millions of companies to develop and grow their online, businesses.

With more than 1 billion users, Google is one of the world’s biggest brands, and arguably the biggest key driver of modern technological advancement – only recently Google announced their ‘Quantum Supremacy’, breakthrough, in which their quantum computer managed to solve a mathematical calculation in 3 minutes and 20 seconds – something that supercomputers are unable to complete in under 10,000 years.

Google is learning and improving faster than we can comprehend.

Neill Horie, Associate Director of Technology Strategy at Edit says,

“As Google becomes better at interpreting and inferring information from things other than just text, businesses will need to recognise that AIs will be analysing everything they do with greater efficiency and larger datasets than rivals will have done before.”

However, before we turn our curiosity to quantum computing and futurism, Edit have visualised how Google birthed SEO (search engine optimisation) and became the most powerful search engine on the planet.

How Google evolved to shape the landscape of business practice


In 1995, Larry page and Simon Brin developed a search engine called BackRub which operated on Stanford University’s server, until it took up too much bandwidth. It wasn’t until 1997 that the Google entity was official registered for public use.

The following year Google Doodle was invented (the tradition of switching up the Google logo daily to reflect notable cultural events) and in 2000, Google debuts AdWords with a humble 350 advertisers which kickstarted digital paid media. Today, Google has over one million advertisers.

Arianne Donoghue, Associate Director of Strategy at Edit said,

“It’s unlikely that any of the innovation that Google has driven over the years could have happened without their advertising products – in particular Google Ads. Game changing when it first came out, we are now seeing more and more of a shift towards automation and opacity which has many implications for advertisers and agencies alike.

We are at a point where the data and algorithms are so good, that advertisers don’t always need keywords to get their ads in front of the right users at the right time. Moving into 2020 and beyond, we’ll only see this accelerate, thinking deeper about the customer’s needs and how we can create the perfect message to connect the two together.”


In 2001, Google recognised user’s frustrations after J-LO showed up to the 2000 Grammy Awards in her now iconic Versace gown. The internet was flooded with search queries from fans itching to get a glimpse of her striking green outfit. Image search was then born, and during this same period Google Earth also appeared on our map.

Genius was adopted when Google released their shopping tab, ‘Being Froogle’ in December 2002. The service has raked in billions of revenue since the paid model in 2012. However, Google landed in hot water in 2017 for prioritising its own online shopping services – and fined an eye-watering 2.4 billion Euros.

One of Google’s biggest achievements arrived in 2005 when Google Maps was ranked as the world’s number-one app with 54% of global smartphone users accessing it at least once!


In May 2019, Google announced that Chrome had a 57.4% web browser market share. This made them the most popular web browser in the westernised world, since their first launch of Chrome back in 2008.

On a roll, Google’s Penguin update arrived in 2011 to put an end to shady link building. The world of SEO had to rethink its tactics once again, while owners of numerous websites watched in dismay as they toppled down the search rankings. That same year they released Google Flights and began to rival the likes of Expedia.

If the world wasn’t already revolutionised by endless search query possibilities, voice search was introduced in 2012, allowing people to carry out verbal searches from their mobile or desktop. The Unofficial Apple Weblog published a direct comparison to Apple’s Siri, stating that Google Voice Search was “amazingly quick and relevant, and has more depth (than Siri)”.


Artificial intelligence was an increasingly hot topic in 2016, making it the perfect time for Google Assistant to arrive. With the ability to engage in two-way conversations, the software was first rolled out to mobile and smart home gadgets and was already installed on 400 million devices by 2017.

Utilising the latest AI technology, Google’s Neural Matching algorithm was introduced in 2018 to deliver more diverse search results by analysing language on a deeper level than previous algorithms. For the first time, Google could match words to concepts and figure out what a user wanted from a looser search.

Taking us up to 2019, where the death of Google + was imminent after its steady decline since its first launch in 2011, finally in April 2019 all pages, photos and files were deleted.

However, Google finished the decade on a high as their Quantum computer filled world headlines in October, giving us a glimpse into how the next 10 years might look.

“SEO once started as one person’s job, to be done in a silo in order to game the results. Increasingly we must all look at what we do and make sure it’s something we want search engines to interpret and share with our customers – whether it’s print or on a website or in a TV ad, whether we’re a digital specialist or working in audience planning. Good SEO practice, like brand design and tone of voice, will have to be embedded at everything a brand does and says.” Says Neill Horie, Associate Director of Technology Strategy at Edit

5 Things to watch out for from Google in 2020

  • Better AI from Google’s Assistant: It will get smarter across more devices and understanding voice requests
  • A built-in password manager by Google Chrome
  • Google Stadia’s cloud gaming service growing into a more integrated and accessible platform
  • Wearable OS: Will we see the launch of the rumoured pixel watch?
  • A new range of Chrome Books from premium to 2-in-1

To find out more about Google’s other releases over the past 22 years, please visit: https://edit.co.uk/history-of-google/

About Edit
Edit, part of Kin + Carta, are a customer engagement agency who create marketing that matters.
With expertise in everything from SEO to CRM, underpinned by world-class marketing technology and data science, Edit helps businesses make complexities simple when it comes to customer engagement from Acquisition to Advocacy.

About Kin + Carta
Kin + Carta delivers transformative growth for the world’s largest companies. Combining strategy, innovation and communications, we help you create and market the digital products and services your customers want.
Learn more at www.kinandcarta.com

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