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By Faizel Patel

Senior Digital Journalist

Google at 25: ‘We believe in making the impossible possible’ – Mokoena

Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were university students.

Google South Africa country director Alistair Mokoena said the search giant’s dream and mission is to make the internet useful to people across the globe.

Mokoena, who had just returned from Silicon Valley in the US, addressed guests at Google’s 25th birthday celebration in Sandton on Thursday.

Google marked its 25th birthday on Wednesday with some playful interactive features. To celebrate the milestone, those using Google’s search bar experienced an animated Google Doodle, that took users through a timeline of the Google logo before changing into a 25 to mark its birthday.

Watch Alastair Mokoena speaking at the Google birthday celebration


Mokoena said the search giant’s mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible.

“So the ethos that runs through this organisation of 140,000 people around the world is about being helpful. And that’s why we do what we do. And if I were to maybe just single out one vein that really runs through our veins is a healthy disregard for the impossible. So we really believe in making the impossible possible in service of health and society.”

Mokena said more people are turning to the internet and benefitting from technology.

“In Africa, we have about 74% digital penetration, which is really great and as more spectrum becomes available, we have much more internet penetration.

“So there’s no end to our curiosity. As we say, today, we celebrating the world’s endless curiosity, because that informs our creativity. There’s a healthy dose of childlike naivety, that gives rise to creativity. So you have to believe that anything’s possible. That’s why children are the most creative people because they just know no bounds when it comes to kind of coming up with solutions to things,” Mokoena said.

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The future

Mokoena added that the company is excited about the journey ahead.

“There’s lots more coming. We’re constantly thinking about how do we solve the biggest challenges in society.”

Google was founded in 1998 by Larry Page and Sergey Brin when they were university students. The duo decided to name the platform ‘Google’ as a play on words of the mathematical term ‘Googol’ that stands for a 1 followed by 100 zeros.

It wasn’t long before the Google brand started to expand. In the early 2000s, Google launched Gmail, as well as Google Maps and Google Earth. It also went on to acquire the popular streaming platform, YouTube.

In the years that followed, Google has quickly evolved into one of the most well-known search platforms across the globe.

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