Could you believe that just over 14 years ago, there was no all-encompassing search engine accessed over three billion times a day to comb through for fun, rummage for solutions to problems or hunt in pursuit of the truth as deemed by the Internet?
Thursday marked the 14th birthday for search engine giant Google, so the company commenced the celebration the only way it knows how: a new birthday cake Google Doodle and the unveiling of Google underwater maps.
In addition to mapping the Earth and the stars, Google launched the underwater maps feature in a partnership with The Catlin Seaview Survey. The new feature is similar to the Street View function on Google Maps but instead, the software allows users to pan around Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, Apo Island in the Philippines, and Hawaii’s Hanauma Bay in the Pacific Ocean along with three others.
"With these vibrant and stunning photos you don’t have to be a scuba diver—or even know how to swim – to explore and experience six of the ocean’s most incredible living coral reefs," Google executive Brian McClendon wrote on the Lat Long blog. "Now, anyone can become the next virtual Jacques Cousteau and dive with sea turtles, fish and manta rays in Australia, the Philippines and Hawaii."
Google Underwater Maps can be accessed at the same place as Street View. Here’s an example of the Heron Island Resort in Australia.
In addition to underwater maps, which the Mountain View company called the “next step in our quest to provide people with the most comprehensive, accurate and usable map of the world,” Google also unveiled a birthday-themed doodle in honor of turning 14: a multicolor chocolate cake with candles.
However, many debate that Google’s official birthday is not Sept. 27, but rather Sept. 7. According to the Google System blog, its actual birthday is when it filed for incorporation in 1997 under the name Backrub, making the search engine 15 today, though the website didn’t launch until Sept. the following year. Google has said, though, that it has changed to date “depending on when people feel like having cake.”
If Google can define a new word, like when the Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary and the Oxford English Dictionary added “google” to the dictionary in 2006, looks like it can dictate its own birthday.