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Google is an American public company earning revenue from advertising related to itsInternet search, e-mail, online mapping, social networking, and video sharingservices etc. The Google headquarters, the Googleplex, is located in Mountain View, California.
Google was co-founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were students at Stanford University and the company was first incorporated as a privately held company on 4 September 1998. The initial public offering took place on 19 August 2004, raising US$1.67 billion, making it worth US$23 billion. Google has continued its growth through a series of new product developments, acquisitions, and partnerships.
99% of Google's revenue is derived from its advertising programs. For the 2006 fiscal year, the company reported US$10.492 billion in total advertising revenues and only US$112 million in licensing and other revenues. Google is able to precisely track users' interests across affiliated sites using DoubleClick technology and Google Analytics. Google's advertisements carry a lower price tag when their human ad-rating team working around the world believes the ads improve the company's user experience. GoogleAdWords allows Web advertisers to display advertisements in Google's search results and the Google Content Network, through either a cost-per-click or cost-per-view scheme. Google AdSense website owners can also display adverts on their own site, and earn money every time ads are clicked.
Google has also been criticized by advertisers regarding its inability to combat click fraud, when a person or automated script is used to generate a charge on an advertisement without really having an interest in the product. Industry reports in 2006 claim that approximately 14 to 20 percent of clicks were in fact fraudulent or invalid.
In June 2008, Google reached an advertising agreement with Yahoo!, which would have allowed Yahoo! to feature Google advertisements on their web pages. The alliance between the two companies was never completely realized due to antitrust concerns by the U.S. Department of Justice. As a result, Google pulled out of the deal in November, 2008.
The Google web search engine is the company's most popular service. As of August 2007, Google is the most used search engine on the web with a 53.6% market share, ahead of Yahoo! (19.9%) and Live Search (12.9%). Google indexes billions of Web pages, so that users can search for the information they desire, through the use of keywords and operators, although at any given time it will only return a maximum of 1,000 results for any specific search query. Google has also employed the Web Search technology into other search services, including Image Search, Google News, the price comparison site Google Product Search, the interactive Usenet archive Google Groups, Google Maps, and more.
In 2004, Google launched its own free web-based e-mail service, known as Gmail (or Google Mail in some jurisdictions). Gmail features spam-filtering technology and the capability to use Google technology to search e-mail. The service generates revenue by displaying advertisements and links from the AdWords service that are tailored to the choice of the user and/or content of the e-mail messages displayed on screen.
In early 2006, the company launched Google Video, which not only allows users to search and view freely available videos but also offers users and media publishers the ability to publish their content, including television shows on CBS, NBA basketball games, and music videos.
Google has also developed several desktop applications, including Google Desktop, Picasa, SketchUp and Google Earth, an interactive mapping program powered by satellite and aerial imagery that covers the vast majority of the planet. Google Earth is generally considered to be remarkably accurate and extremely detailed. Many major cities have such detailed images that one can zoom in close enough to see vehicles and pedestrians clearly. Consequently, there have been some concerns about national security implications; contention is that the software can be used to pinpoint with near-precision accuracy the physical location of critical infrastructure, commercial and residential buildings, bases, government agencies, and so on. However, the satellite images are not necessarily frequently updated, and all of them are available at no charge through other products and even government sources; the software simply makes accessing the information easier. A number of Indianstate governments have raised concerns about the security risks posed by geographic details provided by Google Earth's satellite imaging.
In 2007, some reports surfaced that Google was planning the release of its own mobile phone, possibly a competitor to Apple'siPhone. The project, called Android, an operating system provides a standard development kit that will allow any "Android" phone to run software developed for the Android SDK, no matter the phone manufacturer. In September 2008, T-Mobile released the first phone running the Android platform, the G1.
On 1 September 2008, Google pre-announced the upcoming availability of Google Chrome, an open-source web browser, which was released on 2 September 2008.