Google Doodle Celebrates Search Giant’s 14th Anniversary

Google announced its own 14th birthday today in the only way the search giant knows how: with a specially designed Google Doodle. And also cake.

The search engine’s latest Doodle may not be its most complex — remember Google Pac-Man? — but it’s charming nonetheless: an animated cake that is quckly nommed away to reveal the famous Google logo.

A quick visit to Wikipedia confirms that Google actually filed for incorporation on September 4, 1998, but the company has said it celebrates its birthday “whenever we feel like cake”. Heck, fair enough.

Anyway, in honor of our red, yellow, green, and blue friend, here are 10 fun Google facts:

1. Google hires goats. No, really. The company hires 200 goats (as well as a herder with dog) from a company called California Grazing to help keep Google HQ clear of weeds and brush. The company points out that this is more environmentally friendly and “a lot cuter to watch than lawn mowers.”

2. The first ever Google Doodle (below) is almost as old as the company itself. In 1998, founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page took a weekend off to go enjoy the Burning Man festival in Nevada. The result was the ‘Burning Man’ Doodle you see below, a way of telling users that if there was a crash, well, it would have to until Monday, mkay?

Google Doodle Celebrates 14th Anniversary Burning Man

3. Google doubled its traffic overnight with the introduction of its improved spell checker in 2006, which asked users: “Did you mean ____?”

4. Why’s the Google home page is so bare? Well, legend has it Brin and Page didn’t know HTML and wanted to design a quick interface. Hence, sparseness. Indeed, in the beginning, Google didn’t even possess a “Submit” button; hitting the RETURN key was the only way to kickstart your search.

5. Of the 3 billion+ searches conducted on Google each day, around 15 percent are being typed in for the first time.

6. Google says a single search takes up roughly 1kJ (kilojoules). In green terms, that’s about the same as 0.2g of CO2 emitted per search.

7. Google’s California HQ — a.k.a the Googleplex — is better than your office. Fact. Amongst the sights in the Googleplex, you’ll find a grand piano (in the lobby) and replicas of SpaceShipOne and a T-Rex skeleton (nicknamed “Stan”). Employees enjoy a huge gym, free laundry rooms, two swimming pools, multiple sand volleyball courts, and eighteen cafeterias, each with a different menu.

8. In its original form, Google, or “Backrub” as it was known then, was hosted on ten 4GB hard drives, which in turn were stored in a case made of Lego. And it looked like this:

Google Doodle Celebrates 14th Anniversary Lego Storage

9. “Google” became a verb in 2006, when both the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary recognized it.

10. Users can search Google in dozens of different languages including Klingon. Because you never know what the future holds.