In celebration of Google's 21st birthday, we take a look at some of its lesser-known acquisitions the search engine giant has made

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Google marks its birthday on 27 September each year

As Google celebrates its 21st birthday today, the search engine behemoth might take a moment to look back on what has been an inexorable two decade’s worth of growth – no doubt fuelled by the endless companies it has bought.

The company, founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin in September 1998, has gone from 10,000 daily searches at that time to more than 40,000 every second, totalling two trillion a year as of 2017.

At the time of writing this, there have been roughly four billion searches so far today from its user base of almost five billion people across nearly every country in the world.

But it wouldn’t have reached this point were it not for the shrewd business decisions its key executives have made over the years to steer Google’s journey in the optimum direction.

Chief among these are the numerous acquisitions made by its parent company, Alphabet, which include Android in 2005 for $50m and YouTube the following year for $1.7bn.

These are no doubt critical milestones in the firm’s incredible history, but it has also absorbed a number of smaller companies you may know less about. To celebrate Google’s birthday, we take a look at some of the most interesting.

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Google’s headquarters, Mountain View, California.

Companies bought by Google


Silicon Valley-based predictive analytics firm and provider of API management Apigee was acquired by Google in 2016 for $625m.

Originally founded as Sonoa Systems before a 2010 rebrand, the company offers its services on a subscription basis.



Online GIF search engine and database Tenor was founded in early 2014 by David McIntosh, Erick Hachenburg and Frank Nawabi, and was acquired by Google early last year.

Its primary product is the GIF Keyboard, which lets users find and share GIFs on apps of their choice, putting it in direct competition with Giphy.



UK artificial intelligence (AI) company DeepMind was founded in 2010 in London, and now has research centres in both California and Canada after being acquired by Google in 2014.

Its creations include a neural network that systematically learns how to play video games in the way a human would, and the Neural Turing machine, which mimics the short-term memory of our brains.



Bitium is a developer of cloud-based applications that was acquired by Google in late 2017 as part of a bid to improve its cloud customer services.

Headquartered in California, the firm’s services allow users to access all of their cloud software using one set of login credentials.



Kaggle is the largest community of data scientists, and machine learning and AI specialists in the world, and was acquired by Google early last year.

It now offers a public data platform using the cloud, which provides lessons on data science and AI.

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Founded in 2012 by Brian Singer, Orbitera is a cloud services provider that was acquired by Google in 2016 for $100m.

Its e-commerce platform automates billing and ordering processes for cloud markets, and was inspired by Mr Singer’s dissatisfaction with the challenges presented by selling software at tech companies at which he had worked.


Owlchemy Labs

Texas-based video game developer Owlchemy Labs was founded in 2010 by Alex Schwartz before being acquired by Google in May 2017.

Its most successful endeavour is the virtual reality game Job Simulator, with one of its most recent releases being the Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, based on the popular TV show of the same name.


Makani Power

Makani Power develops wind turbines out of its California headquarters in conjunction with the US Department of Energy, and was acquired by Google in 2013.

It was founded in 2006 by Saul Griffith, Don Montague and the late Corwin Hardham, and received funding for research and development as part of Google’s Renewable Energy initiative.