Google / PayPal / NetFlix / eBook Readers / Postage
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Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, brought Google to life in September 1998, answering
roughly 10,000 search queries a day. By 1999 it was handling 500,000 queries per day,
and by 2000 it was up to 100 million queries a day. Currently Google indexes over 4.28 billion
web pages and provides over 250 million search results per day.
PayPal, founded in December 1998 by Peter Thiel and Max Levchin, is an Internet
business which allows the transfer of money between email users and merchants,
avoiding traditional paper methods such as checks/cheques and money orders.
PayPal also performs payment processing for e-commerce vendors, auction sites,
and other corporate users, for which they charge a fee. Paypal quickly became the
most common method of paying for eBay auctions.
Netflix, the first to offer online movie rentals, started offering pay-per-rental movies
online at $4 per rental plus $2 in postage. It wasn't until 1999 that they introduced
the monthly subscription concept with no due dates, late fees, shipping or handling fees.
The first eBook readers or eReaders were also released in 1998. One was called Rocket eBook, with a
4.5 x 3 inch two color B/W touch screen, which could hold up to 4000 pages (about 10 books).
The other was called SoftBook, with a 6 × 8 inch grayscale touch screen, which could hold
1500 pages (about 4 books).
Electronic postal stamps became a reality, with the US Postal Service allowing stamps to
be purchased and downloaded for printing from the Web.