Posted by Ann Smarty

Facts About Google: What You Probably Don’t Know
Everyone knows Google. The largest empire on the web; having not only dominated the web market, they pretty much created it. Starting out as nothing more than an innovative algorithm to battle the lacking search engines of the early days of the mainstream Internet, Google quickly exploded. Their revenue jumped, and suddenly they were making improvements and churning out new projects like no tomorrow. If you believe the paranoid (and possibly correct) privacy advocates, it won’t be long before Google takes over the world. Or something like that.

But for their notoriety and press, there are plenty of facts that some might not know about the giant of the World Wide Web. For those of you reading, here are five things you may not have known about the Google conglomerate. For those that did know, good for you.

1. Google Likes Employees Working On Their Time

What would happen if you were at work and your boss caught you using company time to work on a personal project? You would probably become a statistic of our troubled economy, right? Unless you were working for Google.

They prefer their employees to spend 20% of their work time on their own pet projects. Why? Because this business model both keeps their workers happy and productive, and generates great results for their own services. One of the most prominent examples of this is Google News, which was created by an employee and became a rather large portion of the companies overall revenue.

2. Google Secretly Releases More Than They Hype

One of the biggest tactics used by Google is secret feedback gathering. It might sound a little sinister, but it is pretty cool. It works when they make small changes or new features. They then select a specific network of users and offer it as a new service. They don’t tell them that it is being released in a limited edition beta. Then they collect data about how it is used, shared, talked about on the web and other factors. This creates an unbiased look into how a service is truly received. That then gives them the ability to choose on whether to tweak it, release it on a wider scale or scrap the idea.

3. Gmail Nearly Wasn’t There

Though probably the most popular email client on the globe today, Gmail was not originally intended for mainstream users. In fact, it was an internal email system created to meet the needs of employees of the company. But over time, they began to research consumer needs to apply changes to their interface, navigation and user tools. Finding that there are six primary types of email users, they changed Gmail to fit those demographics. Then they released it to the web at large.

4. “I Feel Lucky” Is Useless

Alright, not technically useless. But no one ever uses the thing. According to Google themselves in a recent interview with Hongkiat, they were going to get rid of it because no one ever presses it. Most users don’t even seem to know what it is for. But when they suggested this, the feedback was absolute: customers wanted the button. If nothing but for the effect of seeing it there. Which is a somewhat odd request, but one they listened to. Because Google doesn’t ignore the requests of their customer base.

5. The First Google Storage Case Was Made Of LEGO

What happens when you take one search giant and combine it with a toy giant? You get the first case that hosted the original incarnation of Google. The 40GB storage unit was created out of the bricks, and ten 4GB hard drives. Needing something that could be easily expanded over time if needed, and being low on funds, the creators turned to this childhood classic. Don’t believe me? Stanford University has it on display.

Pretty interesting stuff, huh? Google is a fascinating company, from the origins to the way they conduct their business. What other fun facts do you know? Leave us a comment!

Ann Smarty is the geeky blogger writing at Tek Social, an open community of tech bloggers, as well as Manifest Connection, a newly-relaunched self-improvment blog.

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