When is Google’s birthday? The one big problem with the company's celebratory doodle

The Queen and Google have at least one thing in common

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 28 September 2016 23:21 BST
The company has at least six birthdays
The company has at least six birthdays

Google is celebrating its 18th birthday. The only problem is that it’s had at least six 18th birthdays already.

The company is showing everyone a cute, celebratory doodle on 27 September to mark the company’s coming-of-age. It shows Google’s “G” blowing up a balloon to spell out the rest of its name – but blowing it up too much, and being carried off into the sky.

But there’s nothing especially meaningful about the 27th in the Google timeline. There’s at least six other days that have been celebrated as Google’s birthday – and none of them are any more meaningful than any of the others.

Indeed, Google might not even be 18. If we use one date – when the Google.com domain was first registered – then the company turned 19 on 15 September this year.

But if Google was 18, and so founded in 1998, then there’s a lot of dates to celebrate too. Google was given its first investment of $100,000 in August 1998 – paid to Google Inc, which didn’t actually exist yet.

Then the next month, Google files for incorporation in California, making it an official company and giving it a bank account to deposit that check in. hat happened on 4 September, 1998 – the earliest of the celebrated birthdays, and probably the one with the best claim to being the actual birth of Google. The rest of September sees a number of big moments for Google. Those include the establishment of its first workspace – in a garage – and the hiring of its first employee.

All of that confusion led Google to admit in 2013 that it didn’t really know when its birthday was.

As such, it has celebrated on at least four days in September: the 7th, the 8th, the 26th and the 27th. The latter – which appears to be what Google’s sticking to for now – was first celebrated in 2002, on Google’s 4th birthday, though the company has celebrated a range of other dates since.

But in fact, Google has spent much of the month celebrating its birthday – sending out posts and decorating various parts of its headquarters. Google is perhaps so big that it can’t just be pinned down to one day – apart from when it needs to make a Doodle for it.

Best Google's Doodles

The problem is complicated even more by the involvement of the Google Doodle. Google’s Doodles are actually older than Google itself is, officially.

The company posted its first Doodle on 30 August, celebrating the Burning Man festival. But even the earliest estimate of Google’s birthday – 4 September, when the company was incorporated – happened a week after that.

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