Ten years ago today, Google’s filing for incorporation as a business was accepted. It’s far from the only date one might choose to mark the company’s tenth birthday–and as I write this, I don’t see any celebrating going on at Google’s home page or corporate blog–but many Googlewatchers are doing their ruminating on Ten Years of Google right now. (I’ve already done some myself in my posts on bizarro Google offshoots and the company’s 1998 homepage.)
The first thought that jumped into my head when I pondered the anniversary was this: It’s only been that long? Google has become so core to how I live my life that I forget that I managed to spend thirty-four years without it–including twenty years of being online in one form or another. There just aren’t that many commercial products or services that have become anywhere near so pervasive. (Coca-Cola? McDonald’s? The Gillette safety razor?)
Once I started to think about life before Google, I began to toy with the idea of life without Google. What if the world had gotten to 2008 without the company ever being formed? (Maybe Sergey Brin and Larry Page had never been born; maybe they became Stanford professors; maybe they became fabulously successful at some other endeavor–I dunno.) Just how different would life–or at least life on the Internet–be?