It's hard to imagine what started out as a pet project between two college students merely 20 years ago is not only a virtual monopoly today, but is also coming out with self driving cars, and proposing even grander ideas such as space elevators and asteroid mining!

How Google went about attaining its unprecedented success is the tale of how great brands become great, as it ties into something very fundamental about human nature which Google understands exceedingly well - we care for those who care for us... and it shows in the way they work.

On June 26th 2000, Google announced to the world that it had become the largest search engine in the world in terms of pages indexed. The other big news of the day was that Yahoo Search was now going to be powered by Google's technology.

Yahoo had realized that Google's results were just too good, and it was only a matter of time before their users jumped ships. Ironically, just 2 years prior in 1998, Page and Brin had tried to sell their PageRank algorithm (unsuccessfully) to Yahoo, Excite and other companies for a million dollars. Clearly, someone made a wrong call.

To some people, Google's stellar rise to the top of the search game is directly because of their technology. While that was the case, it was also Page's and Brin's innate rebelliousness against prevailing wisdom of the day which gave birth to both the technology, and the incredible service behind it.

Steven Levy in his book In the Plex discusses that during the time, a site's "stickiness" was considered to be of paramount importance as more ad revenue could be expected the longer someone stayed on a website. At least that's what the Excite CEO's reason for turning down Page and Brin's offer was as he thought putting a search engine on their site would cause people to leave.

Their stubbornness to do the counterintuitive followed into virtually everything they did. Unlike their competitors who were busy focusing on revenue right from the get go, Google chose to build value first, and then found ways to monetize it.

They also realized the importance of putting people first. Early in their career, the founders had made it abundantly clear to investors that they won't change their quirky ways of working after the IPO, which they didn't. To this end, Google appointed a Chief Culture Officer who was tasked with ensuring that the company's working culture remained true to their core values.

The company is notorious for banning Adwords and Adsense accounts (their bread and butter) should they so much as smell irrelevant content on an advertized website!

To Google, their reason to exist is simple - provide the fastest and most relevant search results to people using their service. To achieve this, they have stuck with possibly the most straightforward home page on the planet, and have invested in technologies that can help them understand how human beings think.

While both Page and Sergey have relied on their instincts to do the unimaginable at almost every turn, Google's constantly burgeoning share price and disposable income is proof that focusing on core values and providing a better experience to users takes precedence over everything else.

Even today, when focusing on people is considered a good business decision, corporations still rarely go beyond paying lip service to the idea. What Google's success story reveals instead is - find out why you exist, and deliver unmatched value to others. In a world replete with those who give into the temptation to make a quick buck, or capitalize on fledging opportunities at the expense of others, Google is a great example of a brand which chooses to put its customers first.