It might sound obvious to say that Google has changed the world in the 20 years since it was founded on Sept. 4, 1998. Google, and its parent companyAlphabet, is involved in everything from the development of driverless cars to disputes with President Donald Trump.
But, to James W. Cortada, author of All the Facts: A History of Information in the United States since 1870, there are also lots of ways in which Google, as the dominant search engine, hasn’t really changed anything. In the scheme of the whole history of people searching for information, its has merely continued many trends that have been happening for centuries.
One of those trends, for example, is that it’s increasingly safe to assume that any information you want to search for — the original role of Google — is out there somewhere, probably written down.