Editor's note: The European Commission began its antitrust inquiry into Google's search and advertising business in 2010. Google attempted to resolve the case in 2013, but a proposed settlement was widely criticized.
Google /ɡuːɡ(ə)l/ is an American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. These include online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing, and software. Most of its profits are derived from AdWords.
Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were Ph.D. students at Stanford University. Together they own about 14 percent of its shares but control 56 of the stockholder voting power through supervoting stock. They incorporated Google as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. An initial public offering followed on August 19, 2004. Its mission statement from the outset was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful," and its unofficial slogan was "Don't be evil." In 2004, Google moved to headquarters in Mountain View, California, nicknamed the Googleplex.
Rapid growth since incorporation has triggered a chain of products, acquisitions and partnerships beyond Google's core search engine. It offers online productivity software including email (Gmail), a cloud storage service (Google Drive), an office suite (Google Docs) and a social networking service (Google+). Desktop products include applications for web browsing, organizing and editing photos, and instant messaging. The company leads the development of the Android mobile operating system and the browser-only Chrome OS for a netbook known as a Chromebook. Google has moved increasingly into communications hardware: it partners with major electronics manufacturers in the production of its "high-quality low-cost" Nexus devices and acquired Motorola Mobility in May 2012. In 2012, a fiber-optic infrastructure was installed in Kansas City to facilitate a Google Fiber broadband service.
The corporation has been estimated to run more than one million servers in data centers around the world (as of 2007) and to process over one billion search requests and about 24 petabytes of user-generated data each day (as of 2009). In December 2013 Alexa listed google.com as the most visited website in the world. Numerous Google sites in other languages figure in the top one hundred, as do several other Google-owned sites such as YouTube and Blogger. Its market dominance has led to prominent media coverage, including criticism of the company over issues such as copyright, censorship, and privacy.