The world's biggest Internet presence Google was founded on a single laudable principle: "Don't Be Evil." That informal corporate motto, from which Google has recently tried to distance itself, was originally intended as a sideways swipe at some of its original competitors, companies like Microsoft and Yahoo, which were seen as tyrannical multinational greed machines sweeping across the fledgeling Internet sucking up the vast untapped resources of online wealth and giving little in return.
After a little under fifteen years, Google has effectively monopolised the Internet search engine premier league, gaining such an iron stranglehold on its original market that even mighty Microsoft has failed miserably to gain even the most precarious of footholds on the slippery slopes of the world wide web. We wouldn't even hazard a guess as to how many tens of millions of dollars Steve Ballmer and his Redmond minions have poured into Bing, the Vole's search portal that was supposed to take on Google at its own game but so far has been unable to find its football boots, let alone get out on the pitch.
And those of you old enough to remember the once world-conquering Yahoo will no doubt realise that the mighty can fall all too quickly in an online world where the next big thing is just around the corner.
The secret with Google, and the reason it has stayed at the top of its game for so long whilst its contemporaries wither and die, is that it has evolved with the Internet rather than trying to maintain a comfortable status quo. It has invested heavily in giant data centres and given ground-breaking products to an eager public free of charge.
Who can forget the unbridled excitement encountered when you first got that email from a friend inviting you to try out Google's totally free Gmail service. At rollout Google made the brilliant marketing decision to allow each user to invite just ten friends to join the service, which made it seem like an exclusive little club that most of your luddite colleagues would never be invited to join. The invites were strictly limited, they said. There were kudos in being one of the first to get access to that enormous 1GB of free storage. It really was too good to be true.