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Decade-Defining Brands: Google

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A force for innovation, execution and downright necessity.

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The sun never sets on the Google (GOOG) Empire.

Its massive scope has been likened to Nineteen Eighty-Four's Big Brother. Its seemingly endless supply of information reminds one of the Encyclopedia Galactica from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Its versatility and ease of use is like something out of Star Trek. Its unshakable megalomania has the feel of an Ayn Rand novel.

And if you're lost on the analogies, just Google it.

What began as a viable alternative to WebCrawler and AltaVista has become an unstoppable force of clever innovation, impeccable execution and downright necessity. From its omnipresent search engine to its efficient email service to its plan to log every single book ever made, Google's diversity is staggering.

And just think: It's a little over 13 years old.

By the turn of the century, Google had already established itself as a dynamic search engine and earned legions of dedicated fans. Users were attracted to its simple design and extremely effective PageRank - which organizes search results by visitors rather than keywords. Soon, the company became the bona fide leader in Internet search.

But rather than be pigeonholed, it branched out with its own line of online applications, like Gmail, Google Calendar and Google Documents.

Those already wary of the company's widespread information logging were driven to panic with the introduction of Google Earth. Partnering with several satellite imagery vendors, Google photographed roadways and landscapes in order to develop one of the most comprehensive maps in history - which evolved into Google Maps. Vans equipped with cameras continue to troll the streets worldwide for Google Maps' Street View feature. The program's integration with mobile devices was also quite successful.

And on the subject of mobile devices, Google has its hand in that pot as well with its open-source platform called Android. Having yet to catch on with the fervor of Apple's (AAPL) iPhone, some may refer to this as one of its few fumbles, but others believe its popularity is imminent.

As the current decade draw to a close, more and more people will take stock of Google's stranglehold. And its future looks equally bright. Whether or not the "next big thing" is a product of Google, those interested in learning about it will undoubtedly look it up on Google.
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