Google Case Study

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What were the key factors behind Google's early success? ●Do you expect the search business to become more concentrated (i.e.: dominated by fewer firms)? ●Is search a winner-take-all business?

In renewing its deal with AOL, could Google afford to pay AOL more than 100% of the revenue generated from AOL searches? ●How did Microsoft's maximum affordable bid for AOL's search traffic compare to Google's? In addition to enhancing its core search business, should Google also branch out into new arenas? Which of the follow would you recommend: ●Building a full-fledged portal like Yahoo's;

Targeting Microsoft's desktop hegemony; and / or
Becoming an e-commerce intermediary like eBay?

Presentation of the company
(copy paste from Wikipedia because it is just an historic)

Google began as a research project in January 1996 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, two Ph.D. students at Stanford University, California. They hypothesized that a search engine that analyzed the relationships between websites would produce better results than existing techniques, which ranked results according to the number of times the search term appeared on a page. Their search engine was originally nicknamed "BackRub" because the system checked back links to estimate a site's importance. A small search engine called Rankdex was already exploring a similar strategy. Convinced that the pages with the most links to them from other highly relevant web pages must be the most relevant pages associated with the search, Page and Brin tested their thesis as part of their studies, and laid the foundation for their search engine. Originally the search engine used the Stanford University website with the domain The domain was registered on September 15, 1997, and the company was incorporated as Google Inc. on September 7, 1998 at a friend's garage in Menlo Park, California. The total initial investment raised for the new company eventually amounted to almost $1.1 million, including a $100,000 check by Andy Bechtolsheim, one of the founders of Sun Microsystems. In March 1998, the company moved into offices in Palo Alto, home to several other noted Silicon Valley technology startups. After quickly outgrowing two other sites, the company leased a complex of buildings in Mountain View at 1600 Amphitheatre Parkway from Silicon Graphics (SGI) in 2003. The company has remained at this location ever since, and the complex has since become known as the Googleplex (a play on the word googolplex, a 1 followed by a googol zeros). In 2006, Google bought the property from SGI for $319 million. The Google search engine attracted a loyal following among the growing number of Internet users, who liked its simple design and usability. In 2000, Google began selling advertisements associated with search keywords. The ads were text-based to maintain an uncluttered page design and to maximize page loading speed. Keywords were sold based on a combination of price bid and clickthroughs, with bidding starting at $.05 per click. This model of selling keyword advertising was pioneered by (later renamed Overture Services, before being acquired by Yahoo! and rebranded as Yahoo! Search Marketing). While many of its dot-com rivals failed in the new Internet marketplace, Google quietly rose in stature while generating revenue. The name "Google" originated from a misspelling of "googol" which refers to 10100 (the number represented by a 1 followed by one-hundred zeros). Having found its way increasingly into everyday language, the verb "google", was added to the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006, meaning "to use the Google search engine to obtain information on the Internet." A patent describing part of Google's ranking mechanism (PageRank) was granted on September 4, 2001. The patent was officially assigned to Stanford University and lists Lawrence Page as the inventor.  

After this historic, I...
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