Google, a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), has been changing the world since 1998, when Larry Page and Sergey Brin began to commercialize a project that they had been working on since 1996 when they met at Stanford University. Now, Google is one of the world’s largest companies and a major player in most areas of technology. So who are the people behind Google’s success, and who is driving the company into the future?
Sergey Brin was born in Moscow in 1973 to Jewish parents. After years of anti-Semitic discrimination, his parents applied for their exit visas and relocated to Maryland in 1979. He went to Montessori school and then high school in the Washington, D.C., suburbs before enrolling in the University of Maryland in September 1990. The first web browser was built two months later, and nine months after that, the world wide web was publicly released.
Following his undergraduate degree, he received a fellowship to Stanford University, where he met Larry Page in 1995. At Stanford, Brin was studying and developing data-mining systems, and Page was exploring methods of ranking the importance of research papers based on how often they were used in other work. The two eventually determined that their respective specialties could be used to organize data for public use and the concept of Google was formed.
Since Google took off, Brin has been mostly in charge of some of Google's more progressive and risky projects as director of special projects. Recently, his projects have included Google Glass, airborne wind turbines and smart contact lenses.
Born in East Lansing, Michigan, in 1973, Larry Page grew up in a very tech-savvy household where his father was a professor of computer science and his mother was a computer programming instructor at Michigan State University. His constant exposure to computers from a young age gave Page a particular focus throughout his life and when he went to the University of Michigan, he earned a degree in computer engineering before going to Stanford to earn a master's in computer science.
At Stanford, Page and Brin started Google, which gained traction quickly. While Brin was in charge of research and special projects, Page took on a more direct management role as Google's CEO. Despite being replaced in 2001 by Eric Schmidt, Larry Page remained a prominent management figure at Google and helped lead the company's success over the years.
Eric Schmidt was selected by Google's early investors to run the company as CEO. His experience at Bell Labs, where he rewrote a major language analysis program, and his later experience as CEO of Novell, made him an ideal candidate to run Google. When he first joined Google in 2001, Schmidt made a point to work closely with co-founders Page and Brin, and the three made a very powerful team.
Before becoming a CEO or a software engineer, Schmidt received a degree in electrical engineering from Princeton University before moving on to the University of California, Berkley to earn a master's for designing and implementing a campus network. He also earned a doctorate degree in electrical engineering and computer science. From university, he moved on to working as a software engineer at Bell Labs and Sun Microsytems before becoming CEO of Novell and Google.
Sundar Pichai and Google
After plans to form Alphabet were announced, Google Inc. appointed a new CEO, Sundar Pichai, to lead the company into the future. Pichai joined Google in 2004, where he led management and innovation teams that developed products such as Chrome, Chrome OS and Google Drive. He also went on to manage teams that enhanced Google Maps and Gmail.
In 2013, Sundar Pichai took control of Android before being named CEO in 2015. During his time at Google, Pichai has made an enormous impact and managed the development of several key product lines for the company. His intimate knowledge of Android, Chrome, Gmail and Google Maps is seen as a critical understanding of the company and where it’s heading in the future.