Six greatest Google successes
Few companies are as deeply engrained into the consciousness of the everyday man/woman on the street as Google. Even its name has evolved into a verb to do exactly what its main business is - search.
However, scanning the highways and byways of the Internet is just one of the many pies that Google now has its fingers in, and although linked as much as possible to its search engine, they provide the company with a rich and varied portfolio.
Founded in 1998 (with a public offering in 2004) by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the company has gone from strength to strength under the motto to "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful", along with the unofficial slogan "don't be evil".
Speaking of being evil, at times it's been quite difficult for the company to avoid appearing like it wants to take over the known world, by way of eating up as many other competitors as possible - they seem to be struggling to strike that all important balance between being megalomaniacal and that cute, cuddly company that you'd want to take home to meet you mum; admittedly a tricky one to get right.
But hey, sod it. All we really want is an easy life where we can get whatever information we like straight away, with the least hassle possible, right?
So let's be fair to the online behemoth, it has come out with some absolutely cracking services, so don your I love Google T-shirt and baseball cap as we take a look at what Pocket-lint believes to be Google's greatest successes.
Let's get the biggie out the way first - the Google search engine. So dominant is this aspect of Google's enterprise that it currently holds a 72 per cent share of the search market, compared to that of Yahoo; on 13.5 per cent, and Bing on 10 per cent (figures taken from Hitwise).
Google currently deals with over 1 billion search requests a day, managed by over 1 million servers world-wide. The web search, along with refining tools and video, image and news options makes the Google search engine second to none.
With a beta launch in 2004, Gmail is Google's webmail service providing a cloud-based answer to storing email data. At the beginning of 2010 Gmail had around 176 million monthly users across the world.
The reasons behind its success appear to be Google's focus on listening to users and focusing on their feedback when implementing new designs; layout, interface and features all coming into play to make for a great email client. Decent spam filters have also played their part along with the threaded nature of your conversations.
Chrome, in fairness, could be a controversial choice for this list, however we thought we'd slot it in none the less.
In an attempt to completely dominate the users' online experience, Google launched its beta Chrome browser in 2008. Within 2 years and plenty of updates, Chrome has become the third most widely used browser with an 11.5 per cent share; coming in behind Firefox and Internet Explorer, with an admittedly far larger portion of the market.
Regardless of its share size, with fast speed and a focus on HTML5, a set of standards that could radically change how the web operates, Chrome looks all set for the future.
Bolstered by a large community of developers, the open source Android operating system has seen massive take-up by smartphone manufacturers with HTC, Samsung and Motorola getting knee deep in the Android action.
A classic case of a Google takeover, Android was originally founded by Android Inc., before being swallowed up - whereby Google flung itself head first into the mobile phone market developing the OS and bringing big name manufacturers on board through the Open Handset Alliance. This allowed the OS to be tweaked to the handset manufacturer's liking - sometimes called an Android skin.
With Windows Phone 7 just around the corner (at the time of writing) it'll be interesting to see how the balance will shift between Microsoft's WP7, Apple's iOS, BlackBerry OS and Google's Android.
As well as being an integral part of its search engine, Google Maps is so comprehensive that it deserves an entry in its own right; Navigation, Google Earth and Street View all playing their part.
Fast, effective and highly accurate, the service has also been very effectively ported to mobile phones, creating a product with very few, if any, true competitors (possibly Bing Maps).
So apart from it being highly useful as a location tool, it's its port to Android phones that has ensured Google Maps' lasting appeal. With Android 2.0 there's even a comprehensive navigation package, possibly ringing the death knell for specifically navigation-focused companies, as Google Maps for Android is also free.
No, it's not as obvious or as significant as the above services, but the reason its included is to make the point regarding Google's attention to detail, and the importance it places on the user experience, not just for its Android devices but all of its products. This Android download is compatible with 1.6 or above, and makes searching your phone very easy indeed.
Basically, you draw gestures on your handset, whereby Gesture Search will bring up all relevent info; such as music, contacts and photos. Ultra quick and easy to use, it creates a system where pretty much all content is available for you within two or three touches: turn on the app, draw a letter, select what you want. Ace
If you're not such a fan of Google, don't panic, check out our Google greatest failures feature.