Anyone using Google today will probably have noticed that the new balloon themed doodle as the company officially marks its 18th birthday.

doodle

The doodle depicts Google’s ‘G’ blowing up a balloon, shaping the rest of the ‘oogle,’ but then blowing it up too much and then being carried off up into the sky.

For anyone born before 1998 of course, it’s hard to believe that Google is only 18 years old. Google has become such an intrinsic part of all our lives that it can sometimes be hard to imagine a time when it didn’t exist and people had to use search engines like ‘Netscape,’ and ‘AOL.’

So September 27th is the official Google birthday, but no one outside the top echelons of the company seems to know why, or why the date is so significant. The company lists its incorporation date as September 4, 1998.

A quick trawl through the archives shows the first birthday doodle was on 27th September, 2002, but in the years that followed, birthday doodles were also posted on September 7th and September 8th. Since 2005 however, the date has always been September 27th.

The idea behind Google originally began back in 199 as a research project at Stanford University, when the company’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin had a new idea for a search engine that would rank pages by how many other sites linked to it, rather than the standard format of the time that worked by ranking sites on how often the search term appeared on the page.

In any case, and whether Google was founded on September 4th, or September 27th 1998, Google just turned 18, which means in some states it can legally purchase alcohol.  It also just happens to be one of the world’s richest and most powerful companies.