Google Inc. is an American public corporation specializing in Internet search. It also generates profits from advertising bought on its similarly free-to-user e-mail, online mapping, office productivity, social networking and video-sharing services. Advert-free versions are available via paid subscription. Google has more recently developed an open source web browser and a mobile phone operating system. Its headquarters, often referred to as the Googleplex, are in Mountain View, California. As of March 31, 2009 (2009 -03-31), the company had 19,786 full-time employees. It runs thousands of servers across the world, processing millions of search requests each day and about one petabyte of user-generated data each hour.
Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while students at Stanford University. It was first incorporated as a privately held company on September 4, 1998. The initial public offering was on August 19, 2004. It raised $1.67 billion, implying a total value of $23 billion. Google's rapid growth has sparked a sequence of new products, acquisitions and partnerships beyond its core search engine. Environmentalism, philanthropy and positive employee relations were from the start assigned an important role in establishing brand image. Google has been repeatedly named Fortune Magazine's Number One Best Place to Work and most powerful brand in the world. Alexa lists Google as the Internet's most visited website.
The company's stated mission from the outset was "to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Its unofficial slogan, coined by Gmail's first engineer, Paul Buchheit, was Don't be evil. Google has been criticized over issues of privacy of personal information, copyright and alleged censorship.