Of course Google is now the most popular website in the world, and for someone to not know about it, they would have to have spent the last 10 years in a cave. With their eyes shut. And fingers in their ears. On Mars.
Anyway -- there's a cool article about Google over on wired.com. It's really long, but here's this interesting time line from the article of Google's dominance:
This search engine, which had run on Stanford’s servers for almost two years, is renamed Google. Its breakthrough innovation: ranking searches based on the number and quality of incoming links.
The search algorithm is completely revamped to incorporate additional ranking criteria more easily.
Local connectivity analysis
Google’s first patent is granted for this feature, which gives more weight to links from authoritative sites.
This initiative allows Google to update its index constantly, instead of in big batches.
Users can choose to let Google mine their own search behavior to provide individualized results.
Engine update allows for more-comprehensive Web crawling.
Building on Image Search, Google News, and Book Search, the new Universal Search allows users to get links to any medium on the same results page.
Displays results from Twitter and blogs as they are published.