Google Search engine celebrates 15 years with a candy bar.

Google LogoFrom a Silicon Valley garage to a name so synonymous with searching, it’s become a commonly used verb…today marks Google’s 15th anniversary.

The company began as an outgrowth of a research project by two PhD candidates at Stanford University in 1996. Larry Page and Sergey Brin originally named their new search engine “BackRub” because the algorithm involved checking backlinks to measure the importance of a site. The eventual change to Google is actually a misspelling of googol, the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.

If Google wasn’t already the world’s foremost search engine, it has diversified its offerings with an email platform (Gmail), a browser (Google Chrome) an office suite (Google Drive) and a social networking site (Google+).

But much of Google’s growth in recent months has been with its Android smartphone operating system. In the second quarter of this year, 79% off all new smartphones shipped globally were Android phones. Nearly 1 billion smartphones and tablets in use worldwide operate on the Android system.

After naming the first two versions of the OS Alpha and Beta, all releases of the Android system have been named after sweet treats, in alphabetical order: Cupcake, Donut, Éclair, Froyo, Gingerbread, Honeycomb, Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean.

And this week, to celebrate its 15th year, Google has announced that the next release will be titled Kit Kat. In a tie-in with Hershey, the owner of the Kit Kat brand in the U.S., specially marked Kit Kat candy bar wrappers offers the buyer a chance to win a Nexus 7 tablet, a Google Play app credit or a Kit Kat mini candy bar.

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