Here's how much you would have made if you'd invested in Google at its IPO

IPO Google Getty ImagesHere’s the crew at the IPO. Cofounder Sergey Brin stayed in Mountain View that Day because he didn’t want to take a red-eye flight ot New York

Google went public exactly 12 years ago today.

In the immediate aftermath, employees who made big money were warned not to buy BMWs (or else they’d get their windshields smashed) or check the stock ticker at work (or else they’d have to buy the person who caught them a share).

People who bought shares on August 19, 2004, and kept it have made off well, as the stock price of Google and new parent company Alphabet has skyrocketed.

If you bought one share of Google in 2004 at its initial public offering price of $85, it would be two shares worth $1,575 today, taking into account Google’s stock split.

That’s a stunning $1,752.94% change, or about 18.5x.

So, let’s assume that you bought more than one share:

If you bought ~$1,000 of stock (~11.76 shares) at the IPO price in 2004, you’d have ~$
18,522 today.

If you’d invested $10,000, you’d have $
185,384.53, a gain of $175,384.

If you’d been high-rolling with a $100,000 investment, you’d have a stunning $1,853,022.60.

Not too shabby.

Although the company has changed tremendously in the past 12 years — there are now separate divisions for self-driving cars, curing death, and improving cities — the core search experience looks pretty much the same.

Thanks to The Internet Archive, we can revisit those early days and see exactly what Google used to look like:

If you went to Google.com in 1997, here's what you'd see:

The Way Back Machine / Google

The first of the two links would take you here:

The Way Back Machine / Google

The link called 'might-work-some-of-the-time-prototype that is much more up to date' would take you to this page:

The Way Back Machine / Google

By December, that was the official homepage, and if you navigated your way to 'Help!' you'd get this explanation:

The Way Back Machine / Google

That early site also had some fun, user-submitted logos, too:

The Way Back Machine / Google

And pics of what were, apparently, old logos that the company used:

The Way Back Machine / Google

Larry Page and Sergey Brin made the first Google Doodle in August 1998. They were heading to Burning Man in the Nevada desert and wanted people to know where the Google crew would be for a few days, so they added the festival's logo.

Google

By mid-1999, Google had simplified its homepage:

The Way Back Machine / Google

We get our first look at non-beta Google in October 1999:

The Way Back Machine

Only minor updates in mid-2000, as Google adds a few links:

The Way Back Machine / Google

By the end of the year though, Google finally centered its logo and started promoting its ad program:

The Way Back Machine / Google

By the end of the year, Google already offered 25 different language options (it now offers 80):

The Way Back Machine / Google

In 2001, the homepage looks largely the same, but other parts of the site are more fleshed out. Here's the culture page:

The Way Back Machine / Google

It added different tabs in 2001:

The Way Back Machine / Google

Google ditched the blue boxes in 2004:

The Way Back Machine / Google

Everything stayed pretty much the same, until Google moved its different search options up top:

The Way Back Machine / Google

Google ditched the ugly shadowing on its font in 2010:

The Way Back Machine / Google

In 2011, it added a black box around its top toolbar:

The Way Back Machine / Google

Google updated a more simple, elegant logo in 2013:

The Way Back Machine / Google

Shortly after the company blew up its corporate structure in August 2015, forming Alphabet, the company modernised its look. Viola!

Google

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