- Google was already a giant in the tech industry by the end of 2009, dominating in ad-search, video-sharing, and mobile operating systems.
- The company was still famously eccentric, housing a dinosaur statue on its Googleplex campus and regularly tweaking its signature logo on the search page to celebrate different events.
- But Google management looked very different: CEO Eric Schmidt presided over the company, as the company board thought the two young cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin needed guidance.
- Alphabet, the parent company created so Page and Brin could mirror Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway business formula, did not yet exist. Nor did many of the ambitious projects that Google now backs.
- And Sundar Pichai, now the face of both Google and Alphabet, was just a vice president of product management back then.
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Google was already a force to be reckoned with by the end of 2009.
The startup had expanded past its humble garage headquarters to a large campus in Mountain View, California. It was the world’s largest internet company, and had all but locked down its dominance of search advertising. It had a growing roster of web services, including YouTube, Gmail, and Google Maps. It had also ventured into the world of software, releasing its open-source Android smartphone software and teasing Chrome OS, its PC operating system, at the end of 2009.
Google was also a Wall Street darling: it had debuted on the stock market at a pricey $ 85 per share, and has only climbed in value since then. It had also entered China, the white whale of consumer tech markets (although it would announce its withdrawal from the country in January 2010).
Back then, Eric Schmidt was still CEO. Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin were still involved with the company, and pursued moonshot bets that are today backed institutionally by the organization’s parent company, Alphabet. Sundar Pichai, who currently presides over both Google and Alphabet, was at the company but as a vice president for product management in charge of Chrome.
And Google had not yet entered the firestorm of controversies it would endure in the last few years. Thousands of employees have staged walkouts at the company in the last year, demanding that the company adhere to its “Don’t be evil” mantra by holding its executives accountable for sexual misconduct. Employee protests also forced Google to end government contracts like Project Maven.
Here’s a look at what Google looked like 10 years ago.
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