Silicon Valley: Home of Google and Other Tech Companies

Programming code, necessary for the creation of apps and other software.
The physical components of a computing device, which is hardware. (The computer hardware on this image is shown along with tools used for reparation.)
A couple lying in bed and watching a movie, possibly on Netflix.
New York City cabs in classic yellow. The taxi industry has been disrupted by companies like Uber.
A interconnected world.
An ad displayed on a mobile device.
San Francisco shown on a map of southwestern United States.
Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, south of San Francisco.

The United States is famous for its many successful tech companies. Some of these tech companies, including the giants Apple, Microsoft and Google, specialize in hardware, software and search engines. Others, such as Facebook and Snapchat, have developed popular social media platforms, and a third, very wide-ranging, category of tech companies contain disruptors. The disruptors, as the name suggests, are companies whose technologies and business models have disrupted, or completely changed, entire industries.

Disruptive technology

Some of the companies that are known for using disruptive technologies and business models are Netflix, Airbnb and Uber. Their online video streaming, home-renting and lift-hailing services respectively, represent great innovation and have allowed them to compete with traditional brick and mortar businesses in the same fields. Television broadcasters, hotels and established cab companies, in other words, are now losing market shares to the much younger tech companies Netflix, Airbnb and Uber, demonstrating the need to adjust to people’s increasing use of devices like smartphones to stay relevant.

Big disruptors and other large tech companies alike are typically headquartered in San Francisco or south thereof, an area that has become known as Silicon Valley. Here, more than anywhere else, can be found infrastructure, skilled programmers and venture capitalists who are willing and able to contribute to success. The status of the area as a tech hub, furthermore, also draws in young, new entrepreneurs who seek to lead their startups to a breakthrough.

Users’ personal information

The tech companies that persevere and become household names, whether from Silicon Valley or elsewhere, usually offer services that people really enjoy. These services, moreover, are typically also free, leading them to become practically irresistible. However, what users don’t pay in dollars they pay with their personal information. This is because almost all popular web applications that are free collect and store user data, which are then analyzed in order to sell online advertisements that are tailor-made for individual users’ age, location and interests. Privacy interest groups, quite expectedly, often lament this infringement of the personal sphere, while tech companies, for their part, justify these practices by arguing that tailor-made ads are potentially more useful for consumers than generic ads.

The future

Beyond the contentious debate on internet privacy, the tech sphere represents youth and innovation. In line with this, founders of tech companies are usually significantly younger than leaders in other industries, and, as a rule, very visionary. Leading techies want to roll out driverless cars, replace debit and credit cards with smartphones and invent a new 3D world — and they can’t wait to amaze us with their advances. As a consequence, the driverless cars and other inventions said to be in the pipeline may soon be available to, and even adopted by, populations worldwide.