Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG and LSE: GGEA)
is an American public corporation, specializing in Internet searching and online advertising. The company is based in Mountain View, California, and has 12,238 full-time employees (as of March 31, 2007). Google's
mission statement is, "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Google's
corporate philosophy includes statements such as "Don't be evil", and "Work should be challenging and the challenge should be fun", illustrating a somewhat relaxed corporate culture.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 September 7, 1998. Google's
initial public offering took place on August 19, 2004, raising $1.67 billion, making it worth $23 billion. Through a series of new product developments, acquisitions and partnerships, the company has expanded its initial search and advertising business into other areas, including web-based email, online mapping, office productivity, and video sharing, among others.
Like most large corporations, Google's
businesses have drawn some controversy, such as copyright disputes in its book search project, or censorship by Google
of search results as it works with countries such as China (and to a lesser extent France, Germany), which have laws requiring the company hide information from Google users in their country. Additionally, in the post September 11 era, several governments and militaries have raised concerns about the national security risks posed by vivid geographic details provided by Google Earth's satellite imaging.