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What happened the first time you used Google?

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As Google celebrates its 20-year anniversary, ThePrint employees recall their first brush with it, and how it became an integral part of their lives.

New Delhi: On 27 September, 2018, Google turned 20. The brainchild of Stanford University students Larry Page and Sergey Brin began life as a search engine called Backrub, before becoming Google Inc. in 1998.

From there, Google has grown to offer an array of products and services, such as Gmail, Google Translate, YouTube, mobile operating system Android, and web browser Chrome. Its impact can be gauged from the fact that ‘google’ is now a verb recognised by the Oxford English Dictionary.

But what was your first brush with Google? We asked employees of ThePrint this question, and present the answers below.

(P.S.: Porn and Courtney Cox — Monica of Friends fame — also came up in the conversation, but we’ve left them off the menu, just in case kids are reading this!)

Soniya Agrawal, 26, video editor

“When I was in Grade 7, I had to do an essay on Mark Twain and asked my older cousin to help. She showed me how to use the dial-up internet connection and go to Everything I needed to know was on there. Since then, I have used Google to search everything.

“I can’t imagine life without Google anymore.”

Shreyas Sharma, 33, assistant editor

“Google started becoming popular at the time I was in college, studying literature. About 2003-04, I think. At the time, as far as the internet was concerned, Yahoo! was our window to the world.

“I don’t remember exactly when or why I switched to Google, but I do remember my first important discovery on it — I was searching for a book reference, and I found the Project Gutenberg free e-book library. It was like being a kid in a candy shop.

“Now, I’m just scared of Google because I am utterly dependent on it.”

Also read: Facebook, Twitter & Google may have a lot to do with the rise of hatred & polarisation

Kiran Pal, 35, kitchen support staff

“I started using Google maybe one year ago. It was to look for some nice wallpaper and photos for my phone screen.

“I mostly use Google Maps, and Google search. It has solved a lot of problems. The other thing I use a lot is YouTube for watching videos. YouTube is the best.”

Monika, 23, kitchen support staff

“I started using Google about four years ago. I use my husband’s phone to go on the internet to find educational videos for my children…and cooking too!

“For me, personally, I really like the feedback and comment form you sometimes get at the bottom of the page when you Google something. I also like reading comments and adding my comment to videos I watch on YouTube.”

Kumar Anshuman, 40, associate editor

“The first time I used Google was around 2007-2008. I was looking for educational institutes. Before that, I used and to search. Gradually, I just started using Google products more and more. I even used Orkut when it was there.

“Now, I mostly use Google for news searching. I also use Chrome, YouTube, and Maps. But the thing with Maps is that it’s not always accurate. Sometimes it shows these long-winded, dingy routes.

“For my oft-visited localities, I prefer my own sense of direction. I use Maps for places I don’t know.”

Sangeeta Malhotra, 37, administration

“I began using the internet when I was in 11th grade, but only started using Google much later when I got a job with The Indian Express in 2005-2006. I worked at the reception and my boss would ask me to look up the telecom companies for various numbers — and that was the extent to which I used it back then.

“I began using it personally much later, when other products like Youtube and Maps came out.”

Naresh Pawar, 46, security guard

“It’s been one year — I only started using Google when I got a smartphone.

“I use it to find bits of information here and there, and to translate difficult English words to Hindi, so I can understand what they mean.”

Sunanda Ranjan, 29, assistant editor

“My first brush with Google was when I made a Gmail account, specifically to use Orkut.

“We used to use Yahoo! as the search engine, but then I found Google so much easier to use than any other engine that I switched.”

Arindam Mukherjee, 43, deputy editor

“Google was a welcome change. I wanted to check if A&M magazine, where I was working, could launch its own website with a certain URL, but it had already been taken.

“But Google had a friendly user-interface, and produced results that were nearest to what I was looking for.”

Also read: Google, Facebook should be forced to share ad revenue with content creators to help journalism

Ritika Jain, 31, special correspondent

“Before Google, if we wanted to look anything up, we would have to look at those thick world series encyclopaedias.

“But when Google came out, the first thing I googled was myself.”

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