Google celebrates 15 years of Search, shows off new features and 1998 Easter egg


Google 1998


It was back in 1998 that Google first went live and in many ways it’s quite literally changed our world (or at least how we searched through it). Of course, things looked a whole lot different back then, as shown in Google’s latest easter egg (also pictured above). To celebrate their 15th birthday, Google invited a handful of press to an event in Menlo Park. It was there they announced a handful of new features that will make Google Search better than ever before.

Google Search Timeline

Probably the biggest development in Search is Google’s all new “Hummingbird” algorithm. An upgrade from “Caffeine”, Hummingbird silently rolled out over a month ago and according to Google, does a much better job at handling complex questions while understanding concepts. Google says Hummingbird will affect about 90% of the search requests they receive, and the websites they index. Have you noticed any changes during these past few weeks?

Richer answers with comparisons, filters and sorting

Google Search update Android

You knew it was coming. Google has redesigned Search on smartphones and tablets adding a more card-like UI. Speaking of Google’s fascination with cards, they now pull up more information from Google’s Knowledge Graph than ever before. Aside from the usual info like the recently rolled out nutrition information, you can also ask Google for comparisons as well. This will display 2 cards side-by-side, making it easy to see information for both at a glance. It’s only limited to a small amount of things at this point — food items, planets, or dog breeds — but you can expect the list to grow in the future (maybe smartphone comparisons?).

Better conversation on Android Google Search App

Google’s also added filters and the ability to follow up queries without repeating the original. Google’s gave us the example of someone searching for “impressionist artists” at which point the results will also have options for filters such as “contemporary” or “abtract”. Also, searching “Eiffel Tower”, it’s now possible to follow up with “How tall is it?” or “When was it built?” to pull up additional information — all without mentioning the original query.

Notifications, reminders & hotwording on iOS Google Search App

iPhone Triptych - Clear Background

A little less Android related, the Google Search app for iOS will also be getting push notifications for cross syncing reminders. Although nowhere near as full featured as it is on Android (Google Now is the bees-knees), you can now tell Google to “Remind me to buy the Pebble smartwatch at Best Buy” on your Android tablet, and the next time you pass by your local Best Buy while on your iPhone, you’ll receive a reminder via push notification you about the Pebble. Google will also remind you to pick up an Android phone while you’re at it (okay, maybe not).

There’s a lot of big changes here, and it’s crazy to think this all started 15 years ago. As for future updates, Google promises they’re just getting started. Anyone particularly fond of the new changes? We imagine it wont be too much longer before Google’s Knowledge Graph becomes self aware and destroys us all. Happy birthday, Google!

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. very cool. i can’t imagine what the next 15 have in store

    1. Skynet?

      1. Seriously, I don’t see Terminator as entirely fictious. James Cameron gets his ideas from his dreams and some people through history are told to have true future visions. But I don’t get the Pandora story to fit with the skynet version of future… :P

        1. I don’t see that ever happening because I don’t see us ever handing control over such things to AI.

  2. I just want to say thank you Google for your services. while you can be a bit intrusive, your services help me get through my school and work. Also thank you for giving this world the best thing since sliced bread, Android!

    1. Thank Andy Rubin for that. ;)

  3. Bless Google, bless Android and bless open source.

  4. Yeah thanks google for giving my data to the government and god knows who else. Your amazing.

    1. Don’t worry, I don’t think they’ll care much for info about a guy that doesn’t know the difference between “you’re” and “your”.

      1. Oh no not a typo i guess that doesn’t happen in your perfect google wrapped bubble.

      2. If they don’t care much for his info, then why are they tracking him in the first place?

        1. The joke went way in over your head.

          1. Oh, I understood the joke just fine.

            That doesn’t mean you aren’t perpetuating the worn-out trope I countered.

          2. If you understood the joke just fine, you wouldn’t have responded like that. I never claimed he was or wasn’t being tracked, my reply was simply a joke that’s all there is to it, 25 other people got it. Don’t try to blow this out of proportion, thanks.

          3. Where did the “he was or wasn’t being tracked” shtick come from? What I was targeting was the fact that your “joke” resembles the old “if you’ve got nothing to hide, why are you worried about people knowing your every movement?” catchphrase.

            And just because you were making a joke doesn’t mean you are excused from accountability for your statements.

            (Don’t you realize you’re blowing this out of proportion as well by staying in the conversation and avoiding confrontation of my point?)

          4. There is no point though, YOU may have misinterpreted my joke to resemble that “old” catchphrase but that was not my intention.

          5. If my dog throws up on the carpet, do I leave the situation alone because the dog did not intend to puke?

            (And yeah, there is no point; just like there is no point in staying on your high horse and making excuses about this one little thing you posted.)

          6. Horrible analogy aside, are you always like this IRL? Constantly trying to nitpick something that isn’t there? How many more times do I have to repeat this to you? My joke has nothing to do with what you think, it was a joke about his typo, that is all there is to it. The fact that you can’t seem to accept this is amusing.

          7. No, I’m not like this IRL, because typically people don’t spend hours defending a single statement they have made IRL. They say “OK”, and people move on with their lives.

            Yes, my original comment has nothing to do with the joke you were trying to make, but the point I made still weakens the joke by dampering your credibility (at least for the moment).

            But okay, we’re done here. I won’t bother you with my anal-retentive insistence, and hopefully you won’t bother me with your overt defensiveness.

            (By the way, it pains me as much as it pains you that we’re dragging this conversation on.)

    2. no ones cares about your data even the govt

    3. You’re funny. Google takes your info which you consented to when you signed up with them. The NSA requests it under laws passed by congress which I’m sure you don’t like, but its still a law. Now your mad at Google, yet I bet your a big supporter of the data thief Snowden.

      1. Actually no I’m not. What he did was just as wrong.

      2. I don’t support Snowden, because it puts the U.S as a whole in a bad position but I don’t hate him for it either because I think morally he was right.

      3. Oh yeah i consented to the government continually violating my constitutional rights and businesses like google and no they are not alone just going along with it and making a profit. I don’t remember ever consenting to that. But hey your entitled to your opinion unless we lost that right also.

  5. I saw a Google commercial last night for the first time but they made no mention of a 15yr anniversary… Strange

  6. thank you Google been a great ride and more coming ..thank you for saving us from pos windows

      1. (Pat’s Voice)
        ….oh my….

  7. Who doesn’t love a nice google?

  8. I remember when I was a teen and saw the name Google for the first time (I was like 14 or 15), I thought to myself, this is a ridiculous name, it’ll never last. Boy was I wrong lol.

    1. I think the first time I heard of it was on The Screen Savers on ZDTV. One of the guys mentioned it as a new search engine that has quickly become his favorite… so I gave it a shot. See yah later Yahoo!

    2. A Googol is a 1 with a 100 zeroes behind it. Not sure if Google was a spinoff of that that or just something they made up.

  9. I remember back in the day, when Google was new, whenever I would search I went to this site where I could enter my query and choose my search engine from a drop-down. They had Ask Jeeves, Lycos, Yahoo, Google, etc. I fell in love with Google so much so that I remember saying, “If I could invest in this I would”. FML for being 12 at the time ><

  10. ‘Merica! Fudge Cakes!

  11. Damn, just reminds me about how much I should’ve bought into them early, when nobody knew what Google was, but I was fortunate enough to be “in the know.”

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