Molecular self-assembly is central to many processes in both biology and supramolecular chemistry. The G-quartet, a hydrogen-bonded macrocycle formed by cation-templated assembly of guanosine, was first identified in 1962 as the basis for the aggregation of 5′-guanosine monophosphate. We now know that many nucleosides, oligonucleotides, and synthetic derivatives form a rich array of functional G-quartets. The G-quartet surfaces in areas ranging from structural biology and medicinal chemistry to supramolecular chemistry and nanotechnology. This Review integrates and summarizes knowledge gained from these different areas, with emphasis on G-quartet structure, function, and molecular recognition.