Corporate Profile Timelines

  • In 2017, Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs began a collaboration with Waterfront Toronto intended to turn a 12-acre lakeside area into a "smart city" equipped with sensors and responsive infrastructure.

  • Google announced on October 8 having discovered a vulnerability in the Google+ API which has been open since 2015.

  • In September 2018, Google was discovered to be prototyping a search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, designed to comply with China's censorship regime. Among other features, Dragonfly would tie users' searches to their personal phone numbers, ensuring the government could track their queries.

  • In May 2018, Google announced an AI system to carry out tasks such as scheduling appointments over the phone using natural language.

  • In 2017 the Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a complaint with the US Federal Trade Commission asking the agency to block Google's Store Sales Measurement service, which the company introduced in May at the 2017 Google Marketing Next event.

  • When Google launched Gmail in 2004, the new service rapidly gained acceptance because it offered far more storage space than any other comparable service. From the beginning, however, Gmail scanned the contents of emails to help the company generate contextual ads.

  • In 2016, Facebook and Google began introducing ways to measure the effectiveness of online ads by linking them to offline sales and in-store visits.

  • In 2012, London Royal Free, Barnet, and Chase Farm hospitals agreed to provide Google's DeepMind subsidiary with access to an estimated 1.6 million NHS patient records, including full names and medical histories.

  • In April 2016, Google's Nest subsidiary announced it would drop support for Revolv, a rival smart home start-up the company bought in 2014.

  • In 2009, Spanish citizen Mario Costeja González objected to the fact that an auction notice from 1998, when his home was repossessed, was still accessible on the website of the Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia and the first thing people saw when they searched for him on Google.

  • In 2013, Edward Snowden, working under contract to the US National Security Agency for the consultancy Booz Allen Hamilton, copied and leaked thousands of classified documents that revealed the inner workings of dozens of previously unknown surveillance programs.

  • In 2012 the US Consumer Watchdog advocacy group filed a complaint against Google alleging that the company had violated its 2011 consent decree with the US Federal Trade Commission in the case about Google Buzz.

  • In 2012, Google announced it would condense 70 different privacy policies into a single one that would allow the company to merge the data collected across all its services, including Maps, search, Android, Books, Chrome, Wallet, Gmail, and the advertising service provided by its DoubleClick subs

  • In July 2011, the established writer GrrlScientist tried to log into her Google account and found that it was suspended, barring her access to Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Google Reader, and the newly launched social network Google+.

  • In 2010, increasing adoption of social media sites such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr led Google to develop Buzz, an attempt to incorporate status updates and media-sharing into its Gmail service.

  • In 2010, Google revealed that a data audit required by Germany's data protection authority had revealed that since 2007 the cars deployed to capture images for its Street View project had accidentally captured 600GB of data from local wifi networks, including personal web browsing histories.

  • Google launched its first version of Android in 2009.

  • In May 2007, Google launched Street View, an add-on to its Maps service that allows users to see and "drive" through images of streets and buildings.

  • DoubleClick was one of the first companies set up to sell display advertising on the web. Set up in 1996, it went public in 1998, and in 1999 merged with the data collection company Abacus Direct.

  • To personalise the services it offers, Google retains user data such as search histories and as well as the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and other digital identifiers that enable the company to link search queries to the specific computer where they were generated.

  • In 2005, Google launched its web analytics service, which tracks and reports website traffic.

  • The first example of internet users being blindsided by the retention of information they had thought was ephemeral was Usenet, a worldwide collection of discussion groups ("newsgroups") created in 1979.