The Origins Of Google Earth, Microsoft, Barcodes, And The World’s Most Valuable Company–Apple – Forbes

Beijing, CHINA: A Chinese jobseeker walks pass a poster showing Microsoft founder Bill Gates (L) and Apple computers’ Steve Jobs, at an employment fair in Beijing 27 February 2007. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

This week’s milestones in the history of technology include the first patent for aerial photography leading eventually to Google Earth, how Popular Mechanics made Bill Gates drop out of Harvard, and Apple becoming the planet’s most valuable company 22 years after going public.

December 12, 1893

Cornele B. Adams is awarded the first US patent for aerial photography. His method of photogrammetry can produce a topographic map by means of photographing the same tract of land from different points from an unmanned stationary balloon on a tether.

Keyhole, Inc. launched the Earth Viewer application in 2001 and was acquired by Google in 2004. Google Earth was launched the following year.

In September 2011, when Google Earth has reached 1 billion downloads, Keyhole co-founder Brian McClendon reflected on the democratization of geographic discovery: “There was a time when explorers spent and risked their lives in search of new geographic discoveries. When we launched Google Earth, we made geographic discovery accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Armchair adventurers have made significant discoveries using this tool and can claim to be explorers in their own right… Using Google Earth and Google Maps is a way to contextualize our surroundings and create a richer view of our place in the world.”

December 12, 1980

Apple Computer goes public in the largest IPO since Ford Motor Company went public in 1956. Originally priced to sell at $14 a share, the stock opened at $22 and all 4.6 million shares were sold almost immediately. The stock rose almost 32% that day to close at $29, giving the company a valuation of $1.78 billion. In August 2012, Apple became the most valuable company in history in terms of market capitalization, at $620 billion.

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