Friday Factday: Google
Friday Factday

Friday Factday: Google

Ben Thornton
Ben Thornton

Hello, good day, and welcome, dear readers, to another Friday Factday! Last week we kick-started 2024 with a look back at 2023 and a bonus round of facts for each of the topics we covered.

Today, we're going for our first brand-new topic of the year, and I thought we'd begin by taking a look at the Big Dog that continues to battle with Bezos for the title of "Everyone's Least Favorite Most Popular Internet Company" - Google.

The Original Name May Have Been a Clue

Google is a term that has entered the everyday lexicons of people the world over, becoming synonymous with "searching the web," but it wasn't always called that. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin first founded the company, they chose the name "BackRub." Yes, for real.

The name itself was a play on how it checked backlinks to index websites, but it can't just be me who gets somewhat creepy vibes from it? Like Larry and Sergey are leering over my shoulder, slowly invading my personal space with a blood-sucking grin on their face. Which, honestly, kind of sounds like what Google does today with everyone's data...

The Internet Has a Scary Dependency On Google

Back in 2013, Google went down for less than five minutes; in that time, internet traffic dropped a staggering 40%. You read that right: 40% in a mere 5-minute window. When it went back up, traffic spiked by 50%.

Those are scary numbers to think about, given how much we depend on the internet in our daily lives. You might think that 2013 was a long time ago - and, in the world of technology, it sort of is - but, if anything, that's worse, as Google's cornerhold of the market is even stronger these days.

Google Search and Browser Domination

Google is the undisputed King when it comes to several key areas in internet life. The most notable are in the search engine market and in the browser market. In the former, Google is the search engine, with around 92% of all internet searches performed using them. Is that any wonder, when the colloquialism is "google it?"

For the latter, the stranglehold is not as marked, but with a 63.6% worldwide share of browser usage, it's still well in hand. Safari perhaps surprisingly comes in second place with a relatively strong 20% - a figure most likely down to usage on Apple devices.

Google Processes a Staggering Amount of Searches

Some numbers are difficult to truly fathom; the distance between the Sun and the Earth; the number of molecules in a glass of water; the difference between a millionaire and a billionaire; or the fact that Google processes 5.9 million searches per minute. By my maths, that's 354,000,000 searches an hour, 8,496,000,000 a day, 59,472,000,000 a week, and 3,092,544,000,000 a year.

But if you thought that was mindblowing, check this: around 15% of all searches are unique.

You Can Get Away From Google - With Pain

Whatever your thoughts on Google and its activities, it's healthy practice for everyone to take some steps to maintain their privacy, and you should never put all your eggs in one basket. There are a few ways to DeGoogle your life, though if you really want to commit, it's going to take time and effort. We covered some of the steps before, as well as general steps for taking a privacy-conscious approach to your internet usage.

The simplest step, however, is using a VPN like Windscribe to protect your privacy; we even have a Chrome extension that you can plug right in if you still want to keep using the most popular browser out there.

Ben Thornton
Ben Thornton