“15 years on, we’re just getting started.”

So says Google, which today gets the party started with an interactive piñata game of a birthday Doodle. And the candy that comes spilling out is just one of the types of treats that the Bay Area tech titan is handing out as it celebrates its official 15th anniversary today.

Another goody from Google was the way-back search engine. This week brought a retro Easter egg: Type “Google in 1998” in the search bar and you were transported to the home-page design from the company’s inception: a blaring and chunky “Google!” logo and a simple page of a few blue links (hello, Netscape).

“Remember what it was like to search in 1998?” Google says on its official Search blog. “You’d sit down and boot up your bulky computer, dial up on your squawky modem, type in some keywords, and get 10 blue links to websites that had those words. It seemed like magic (and it was way way faster than card catalogs and microfiche!).”

Those words were written by Amit Singhal, Google’s senior vice president of Search, who on Thursday hosted some members of the press at the Silicon Valley garage that housed Google’s first offices. (Singhal announced the company’s new search-tech overhaul -- code name: Hummingbird -- that he is said is the way forward for handling increasingly complex and conversational searches.)

That garage, of course, was the intellectual home of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, who met in 1995 at Stanford (Brin, a former University of Maryland student, was assigned to show around Michigan-grad Page; by the next year, they’d collaborated on a Stanford server-hosted search engine).

Google has celebrated its birthday for years with a Doodle, but today’s — fittingly — yields the most treats.

What do you get a company that has, or can search for, everything? Well, we simply type in the search bar: “Happy birthday, Google.”


. (courtesy of GOOGLE /.)