The founders of the Google internet search engine – Larry Page and Sergey Brin – have joined the Forbes magazine list of world billionaires. Google is the undisputed world number one internet search engine .
Yet far from living an extravagant lifestyle, complete with yachts and private jets, Mr Page, 31, and Mr Brin, 30, are both reported to continue to live modest, unassuming lifestyles. Both come from a smart middle class American suburb.
Today both barely in their thirties, the two first met at Stanford University in the mid-1990s, where they were doing doctorates in computer sciences. Apparently, they did not immediately hit it off, but they became friends while developing a new system of internet search engine from their college dormitory.
Initially called BackRub , they created a software system whereby the search engine would list results according to the popularity of the pages, after realising that more times than not the most popular result would also be the most useful. So after changing its name to Google they dropped out of college (although Mr Brin is officially still on leave) and the rest, as they say, is history.
Pulling together $1m from family, friends and other investors, on 7 September 1998 Google was commercially launched from a friend’s garage. Growth was quick. Initially, Google got 10,000 queries per day compared with 200 million today.
Both Mr Page and Mr Brin come from an academic and computer science or mathematical background.
Larry – or Lawrence – Page was born and raised in Michigan , the son of Carl Page, a pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence. His father earned a doctoral degree in computer science in 1965, back when the subject was still in its infancy, and went on to become a computer science professor at Michigan State University. Larry Page’s mother, also worked in computers, teaching computer programming.
Mr Brin is a Muscovite by birth. His father is a Soviet mathematician economist. His family, who are Jewish, emigrated to the US in 1979 to escape persecution, and Mr Brin went on to get a degree in mathematics and computer science from the University of Maryland , before enrolling at Stanford University as a postgraduate.