They changed the lexicon for the word - search. Now the phrase "I'll just Google it" has helped make the internet search giant become world's first $100 billion brand beating other household names like Microsoft, and Coca Cola to McDonald's.
The analysts of the Brandz Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands by consultants Millward Brown found that the company's value of $101.4 billion puts it 25 per cent more valuable than computer software king Microsoft at $77.3 billion, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday. Coca Cola ($68.5 billion) managed the third place in the list.
Technology companies make up the bulk of the top 10 with IBM (fourth at $67.5 billion), Apple (sixth at $63.9 billion) and China Mobile (seventh at $62.2 billion), along with consumables like cigarette brand Marlboro (10th at 50.1 billion) and burger chain McDonald's (fifth at $67.3 billion).
Energy major GE (eight at $59.9 billion) and telecom giant Vodafone (ninth at $50.2 billion) complete the top 10 valuable brands in the world.
Google, formed at Stanford University by students Larry Page and Sergey Brin in 1997, went up 16 per cent in brand value in the past year to just break the $100 billion mark.
Google marketing manager Lorraine Twohill said, "We know that without consumers you have nothing and there is a great element of trust in us."
"We think about the consumer first and expect everything else to fall into place after that. We don't feel big. We still work in little crappy teams and we feel very small."
Among industries to see their value grow over the past year, most are 'stay at home' brands, said the Millward Brown research.
Coffee companies like Nescafe benefitted from cutbacks on drinking expensive lattes in Starbucks and other coffee shops, for instance.
Soft drinks, fast food and beer brands also grew as more people stayed at home to eat and drink while online sites like eBay and Amazon also grew.
Car companies, insurers, clothing brands and, not surprisingly, financial institutions were the ones to suffer the most, the research found.
Millward Brown chief executive Joanna Seddon said, "In the current environment, brand has become even more important because it can help to sustain companies in tough times.
"Those who continue to invest in their brand will be better positioned for business growth as the economic situation starts to improve than those who have cut spend. The recession does not always harm individual brands as much as it does faceless corporations," she added.