A decade ago, most Canadians didn’t Google things. Texting was a new technology, most of us were connecting to the Internet via dial-up, and we couldn’t imagine the possibility of taking a virtual drive along our own streets. A mobile phone was just a phone — we didn’t use it to take photos or videos, and smartphones as we know them today simply did not exist.
This week Google Canada celebrates its 10th anniversary with a look back on a decade of accomplishments and advances that have changed the way Canadians find, share and organize information, network, and do business.
“It’s difficult to remember a time when information wasn’t so easily accessible,” says Managing Director of Google Canada Chris O’Neill. “And today I see Canadians using the Internet and Google products to build business, connect with friends, create content and more in meaningful ways.”
In 2001, Google opened its first office in Toronto with a small group that was an extension of the New York City sales team. Today, the team has grown to almost 300 employees in sales, marketing and engineering across four offices in Toronto, Kitchener, Montreal and Ottawa.
“I am excited by the incredible talent we have here,” says O’Neill. “It’s really the talented and passionate people who make Google Canada the best place to work.”
In 2002, the term “to Google” became part of English lexicon, and was officially entered into the Oxford dictionary in 2006. That same year, it was predicted that 70 per cent of Canada’s population would be online by 2017 and that 95 per cent of users would subscribe to high-speed broadband connections. Today, in 2011, more than 80 per cent of Canadians are already online, not only through their desktops or laptop computers, but through their mobile devices.
Canadians have always been early adopters of technology, and are frequently at the forefront of driving innovation. In fact, over the last 10 years Canada has become a technology mecca and a place where Google invests in top talent. The company has acquired Canadian start-ups PostRank, PushLife, SocialDeck and BumpTop to name a few, who are now either significant contributors to, or leaders of various Google projects.
In 2006, Google acquired video-sharing site YouTube, and in 2007 launched youtube.ca in Canada. Since then, Canadians have come to represent the highest number of online video consumers in the world, with 175 videos watched per viewer each month (source: comScore August 2011).
In October 2009, Street View launched in Canada offering Canadians the opportunity to explore streets and landmarks around the country through 360-degree, street-level imagery. And this year, Google Canada launched Get Your Business Online, a program for small businesses looking to take advantage of the digital economy and grow their bottom line. In the first six months, more than 50,000 Canadian small businesses have signed up for the program.
“We are excited to be celebrating our 10th year in Canada,” says O’Neill. “We are always grateful to our users who have helped us grow and have inspired us to find new ways to organize the world’s information and make it truly accessible and useful to everyone. And we’re proud of the role Canadians have played in that growth.”