On September 27, 2009 Google celebrated its 11th birthday by changing its web site logo, as it has for the past several years. This has become a tradition with Google ever since it celebrated its 4th birthday in 2002.
Although the company started forming in 1997, it did not launch its revolutionary new search engine until September of 1998. At the time, AltaVista was the dominant search engine, primarily because its index included more web pages than any other search engine at the time. While it did produce a list of results, Google’s new search and ranking algorithms produced much more relevant results because its algorithms analyzed each web page and determined which keywords best represented the web page on search results pages.
Google quickly overran AltaVista in user popularity. AltaVista was not able to keep up with Google’s momentum and soon fell by the wayside. In 2003, AltaVista was purchased by Overture. Overture was then purchased by Yahoo in 2004. Yahoo did keep some of the innovative web properties created by AltaVista, but appeared to be more interested in replacing AltaVista with its own search algorithms. Today, most new web users have no idea who AltaVista is. It still operates, but has virtually no market share.
Google has remained the dominant search engine since defeating AltaVista. Google currently holds about a 72% market share in the USA, and has recently lost some market share to Bing, Microsoft’s new search engine. There isn’t very much chance that Bing will topple Google. There are just too many loyal Google users out there.
Happy birthday, Google. Unlike AltaVista, we expect to see you around for many years.