An American multinational technology company, Google LLC is focused on Internet-related services and products, including online advertising technologies, a search engine, cloud computing and software. Its products and services also include hardware. Google is headquartered in Mountain View, California. With Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft, it is regarded as one of the Big Five firms in the United States information technology sector, alongside the others.
Stanford University Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin co-founded Google on September 4, 1998, while still in their first year of graduate school at Stanford. As a group, they possess about 14 percent of the company's publicly traded shares and control 56 percent of the shareholder voting power via the use of special voting stock. Initial public offering (IPO) was the method through which the business went public in 2004. Google was restructured in 2015 to become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google. Search engine giant Google is Alphabet's biggest business, and it also serves as a holding company for the firm's Internet-related assets and interests. Sundar Pichai was named CEO of Google on October 24, 2015, taking over for Larry Page, who had been promoted to the position of CEO of Alphabet at the time. On December 3, 2019, Pichai was promoted to the position of CEO of Alphabet. The Alphabet Workers Union, which is mostly comprised of Google workers, was established in 2021.
Since its founding, Google has seen tremendous expansion, resulting in the introduction of new products, acquisitions, and collaborations that are distinct from its core search engine (Google Search). In addition to work and productivity tools such as document editing and collaboration (Gmail), scheduling and time management (Google Calendar), cloud storage (Google Drive), instant messaging and video conferencing services (Google Duo, Google Chat, and Google Meet), mapping and navigation (Google Maps, Waze, and Street View) and also podcast hosting (Google Podcasts), video sharing (YouTube), and blog publishing (Blogger), it also offers a variety of other services (Google Photos). Among its many products are the Android mobile operating system, the Google Chrome web browser, and the Chrome OS (Chromebook Operating System) (a lightweight, proprietary operating system based on the free and open-source Chromium OS operating system). The company has been expanding its hardware offerings; from 2010 to 2015, it collaborated with major electronics manufacturers to produce its Google Nexus devices, and it released a number of hardware in 2016, such as the Google Pixel line of smartphones, the Google Home smart speaker, and the Google Wifi mesh wireless router. Google has also experimented with the possibility of becoming an Internet service provider (Google Fiber and Google Fi).
Google.com is the most frequently viewed website on the internet. Several additional Google-owned websites, such as YouTube and Blogger, appear on the list of the most popular websites, as do several other prominent websites. Google is rated second by Forbes and fourth by Interbrand on the list of the most valuable brands in the world. Significant criticism has been levelled at the company on topics like as privacy concerns, tax evasion, censorship, search neutrality, antitrust, and the exploitation of its monopolistic position, among others.