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Google Celebrates its 20th Birthday

Google Celebrates its 20th Birthday

Wednesday, 5 September, 2018 - 06:00
Google marked its 20th anniversary on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Berlin, London - Asharq Al-Awsat
Google celebrated on Tuesday its 20th anniversary. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin unveiled Google on September 4, 1998, Microsoft had just become the most valuable company in the world at over $260 billion with the release of Windows 98. Apple had just released the iMac and popular films of the year included Titanic, Armageddon, Mulan, and Saving Private Ryan.

Today, the global search engine, which also owns YouTube and Google Maps, is used by about 1.17 billion people in 100 countries and is valued at about $500 billion.

How was life before Google? What has this global engine added to the daily life of millions of people around the world? There is one answer for many questions: “Google has changed the world, and made life easier.”

But was this change always for the better?

Before Google, people relied on their memory, and when they failed to remember, they only had the choice to try harder to reach the information they wanted. In other words, people had to rely on themselves and their mental abilities. Now, they only have to type a few words to find answers from around the world.

They also no longer need to browse the yellow pages to find a phone number.

On the other hand, people are getting more false and fake news and their memory has become weaker.

Some researchers say that the search engine destroys our memory because we rely on it to get facts in one click and that reading a long text has become a difficult task for most people.

Google can also form an idea of our activity through social networking sites, the videos we watch on YouTube and can locate us through our mobile phones. It keeps a record of everything we are looking for and sells that information to advertisers to earn $60 billion a year.

The site may be for free, however, users have been turned into a commodity after they waived their rights to privacy.

Separately, the company provides billions of dollars for projects in the form of grants, such as helping the disabled and establishing and managing schools in poor countries. There are also applications such as Person Finder, which searches for missing people in disaster areas around the world.

Google Maps helps us navigate without asking strangers who may not know the right route, as well as provides us with the journey’s duration before we even start.

But, Google is the same party that sells the results of your search for a product to be subsequently sold to advertisers who follow you with their ads.

The engine’s worldwide reach has also facilitated the work of many terrorist groups such as ISIS.

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