Beijing time on December 5th, no tech executive is as mysterious and private as Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. More than 20 years ago, they founded Google, a graduate student at Stanford University. But since they reorganised Google into Alphabet, leaving Sundar Pichai in charge of the slimmed-down company, they have been virtually silent for the past five years or so.
But just yesterday, Mr Page and Mr Brin announced the explosive news that they would hand over the management of Alphabet to Google’s CHIEF executive, Michael Pichai, and effectively step out of management for good. The news sounds shocking, but inevitably, and the two seem to have been out of the company’s day-to-day management for some time. It’s all Pichai’s show time. It should be noted, however, that Page and Brin will retain a controlling stake and a board seat and plan to communicate regularly with Pichai.
It was a fitting farewell moment for two of the most enigmatic tech executives, who chose to leave at a time when Alphabet’s market capitalisation was approaching $1 trillion. But it was another disturbing moment for Google. Since Page and Brin first cut management responsibilities in the summer of 2015, the search giant has faced increasing scrutiny from staff, media organizations, activists, regulators and members of Congress. Much of the controversy is the product of the Page and Bollinger eras, either because they failed to anticipate the way Google might cause harm, or because they clearly steered the company in a direction that ignored standard corporate ethics.
In this context, it is important to recall the important moments in their careers, the actions they have taken that have had a significant impact not only on the technology industry, but also on the Internet and society itself. The products and services paged and Bolling are likely to continue into the coming decades, and understanding their ups and downs will help to understand the company’s future.
Here’s a timeline to sort out google’s founder’s journey from rise to retirement:
August 1996: Page and Brin launch Google Search predecessor at Stanford
The two met at Stanford University in 1995, when they were both graduate students in computer science. Google’s idea stems from page’s vision that the world wide web search engine’s sort of links should be based on how often they are linked to other pages. With Brin’s help, the idea became pageRank, the underlying algorithm for Google Search. In 1996, their search products were launched on the Stanford University campus network.
1996: Brin’s resume hides future goals
Brin’s 1996 resume
Now, Bryn’s 1996 resume can still be found in the Stanford web archives. Before he started Google, he was working on projects that included a movie rating platform, a code conversion tool that converted art papers into HTML files. On closer inspection, Brin outlines his future goals in the source code: a big office, a lucrative salary, and a few jobs. After switching from Google’s co-president to head the company’s pilot division, he is likely to enjoy the lifestyle in his final years at Google.
1998: Two people criticize advertising-backed search engines in a Stanford paper
Google used logo in 1998
Although Google is now one of the most powerful forces in the global online advertising market, Page and Brin didn’t want to turn their search engine prototype into an advertising machine at first. While studying at Stanford, the two wrote a paper entitled “Large Hypertext Web Search Engine Analysis” on why search engines should not favor entities that spend more on better search locations.
1999: Page and Brin try to sell Google for $1 million
Although Page and Brin founded Google in 1998, they didn’t realize the potential of the search engine and tried to sell it. In 1999, the two tried to sell it to Internet company Excite for $1 million, cut to $750,000, but Excite CEO George Bell still didn’t accept it. Google’s market capitalisation is now close to $913 billion.
2000: “No Evil” becomes Google’s main corporate values
The origin of the slogan “don’t be evil” is still controversial, but in any case, Page and Brin agreed around 2000 to make it an official corporate value. Google then listed it as its official corporate motto in its S-1 prospectus. “We will practice the ‘do not evil’ principle, maintain the user’s trust in us, and will not accept payment for search results. Page wrote at the time.
August 2001: Page gives CEO to Schmidt for “adult custody”
After officially starting Google and bringing it to market in 1998, Page and Brin managed one of the fastest-growing companies in the company’s history. For two graduate students who dropped out of school, the burden is too heavy. In Particular, in July 2001, Mr Page made a high-profile attempt to fire all Google’s project managers, but ultimately reversed the decision amid public complaints about his leadership. In the end, Page and Brin, at the request of investors, appointed Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Novell, a network systems company, as CEO of the company. Page described the move as “adult custody” in a 2001 television interview.
2002: Yahoo’s attempt to buy Google for $3 billion was rejected by Page and Brin.
In 2002, Yahoo, then an internet giant, took a look at Google’s fast-growing search business and offered to buy it for $3 billion, but Page and Page had no plans to sell it. Terry Semel, Yahoo’s CEO at the time, recalls that the offer was too high, given Google’s poor revenue at the time.
August 2004: Google lists at $27 billion valuation, creates super-voting shares
Just a few years after Schmidt became Google’s CEO, Google quickly rose to the top of the technology industry, but also became a leader in the American business community. In August 2004, Google filed for an IPO, raising $1.7 billion and valuing it at $27 billion. Notably, Mr Page and Mr Brin decided to create a super-voting Class B that only the two of them, Mr Schmidt and a handful of executives could. B-shares have 10 times the voting power of Class A, allowing Mr Page and Mr Brin to control more than 50 per cent of voting rights and thus the company forever. That worked even after the two announced their retirement from management on Tuesday.
August 2005: Page buys Android for $50 million without telling Schmidt
One of Page’s most predictable business considerations was the rise of mobile computing, which quickly bought a small startup called Android in the summer of 2005 for $50 million. The acquisition was completed without the knowledge of then-CEO Schmidt, because Page was confident that Android co-founder Andy Rubin could help the company enter the mobile market. Today, Android is the world’s most popular mobile operating system.
October 2006: Worthy persuades Page and Brin to buy YouTube
Susan Wojcicki, a 16-year-old employee of Google, founded her garage. That means she often wins the trust of Page and Brin, but it took her a while to convince Page and Brin to buy the video site YouTube for $1.65 billion.
September 2008: Google releases Chrome browser thanks to Pichai
Peppa and Bryn recruited a group of developers from Firefox. At the suggestion of superstar product manager Pichai, Google began developing a better browser, and the final product was Chrome. Chrome’s dominance of the browser market was one of Pichai’s most famous business success stories, which helped him move from product head to CEO a few years later.
January 2011: Page re-establishes as CEO Schmidt as Executive Chairman
After a decade as Google’s CEO, Schmidt ended his tenure at Google with a playful tweet: “Google no longer needs day-to-day adult custody.” As the biggest management shake-up in Google’s history at the time, Page returned as CEO and Schmidt served as an adviser as executive chairman. The trio retained super-voting shares that control the company’s direction, but the management shake-up heralded a major shift for Google.
June 2012: Brin shows off Google Glass in skydiving
Brin holds the title of co-founder of Google and is primarily responsible for the exploration of new products. The way he launched Google Glass will always be remembered. At the 2012 Google I/O Developer conference, the future seemed to be falling from the sky. Google brought in a skydiving team to jump off a plane over San Francisco and use Google Glass to live the entire flight. It’s the most impressive technical demonstration since the iPhone was released.
2012: Page’s vocal cords are paralysed
For most of 2012, Page remained silent. The following year, Page revealed in a Google Plus blog post that he had suffered a vocal cord paralysis. The trouble affected several moments in Page’s life, but the year after he returned to Google was particularly severe, and he missed the 2012 Google I/O conference.
May 2013: Page discusses “Google Island” vision
One of Page’s most high-profile conversations, and one of his last public speaking events, was at the Google I/O Developers Conference in May 2013. At the time, wearing a black jacket and bright red T-shirt, he elaborated on Google Island’s vision that technological advances would not be hindered by stupid concerns such as regulatory requirements and ethics.
September 2013: Google launches Calico to extend human life
After setting up Google X and launching google glasses and self-driving cars, Google has turned its attention to science. Google created Calico, a company that actually aims to cure death, through its venture capital division. This is yet another sign that Google, which Mr Page is running, is willing to invest heavily in problems far beyond the company’s business. However, Calico has not yet released significant results.
2014: Bryn’s extramarital affair exposed
In early 2014, Brin’s reputation was tarnished by reports of an affair with a Google Glass team employee. At the time, Brin’s wife was Anne Wojcicki, the sister of Susan Wojcicki, who was also the founder and CEO of 23andMe, a genomics company. Brin’s mistress is Amanda Rosenberg, marketing manager for Google Glass, who is also on a public date with Hugo Barra, then vice president of Android. Then, Brin and Anne divorced. Page allegedly did not speak to Brin for some time because of the incident.
October 2014: Rubin leaves office but Page chooses to conceal sexual misconduct
While Brin’s affair came to light, Google was dealing with another sexual misconduct, which was more serious. In October 2014, Google announced that Rubin, the co-founder of Android, would leave Google. According to a press release issued by Google at the time, it was a friendly break-up. But in fact, Rubin was expelled from the company after being accused of sexual misconduct by a female employee. Mr. Rubin also took $90 million in severance payments and $150 million in stock when he left. These were not made public until the New York Times reported in October 2018.
August 2015: Google restructures into Alphabet
By the summer of 2015, Google and Page had changed dramatically when they returned to the helm, launching self-driving cars, wearable technology, Nexus smartphones and many other products, and exploring artificial intelligence, cloud computing, quantum computing, and fiber-optic networks. Given the complexity of the company, Page and Brin decided to slim down the company and set up Alphabet, a holding company. Mr. Page and Mr. Brin also left Google’s day-to-day operations, handing over power to Mr. Pichai, who served as Alphabet’s CEO and president, respectively.
2016: Page disappears after investing in ‘flying cars’
After handing Over the power of Google to Mr. Pichai, who became Alphabet’s CEO, Mr. Page seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth. He still attends regular company meetings and is seen hanging out with Brin in several places on Google Campus. But no more conference calls, media meetings, or product events. His latest news is to invest in “flying cars” and, more accurately, “electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles” (eVTOL). Now, as an investor and consultant, Page has joined a number of start-ups in the development of the company, focusing on bringing in air electric vehicles to market.
January 2017: Brin makes rare public appearance to protest Trump’s immigration ban
Like Peppa, Bryn lived a somekind reclusive life. Since stepping down as Google president and as alphabet president, it’s hard to hear from him and not know what he’s up to. He is said to be developing a large “air yacht” capable of delivering supplies for humanitarian missions, and last year joined other tech leaders to voice concerns about AI’s rapid growth. But in January 2017, he made a public appearance at Los Angeles International Airport protesting U.S. President Donald Trump’s immigration ban. Since then, Brin has not made public appearances on political issues.
September 2018: Page and Brin speak at staff meeting after Trump’s election
Peppa and Bryn
Although Page and Brin have reduced the number of public appearances since 2015, they are said to be active at Google’s weekly TGIY staff meeting. “Most people here are sad and sad, it’s a very offensive election that has hit the values of many of us,” Brin told staff after Trump won the 2016 election, according to a video released by the conservative news site Breitbart. “This could be the last public appearance of Google’s two founders. Earlier this month, Mr Pichai announced that Google would cut the number of weekly meetings of its staff because of the content breach.
December 2019: Page and Brin step down as CEO and president of Alphabet
Page announced Tuesday that he will no longer be Alphabet’s CEO, handing the job to Google CEO Michael Pichai. At the same time, Brin also announced that he would step down as alphabet’s president and no longer hold the post.