Sergey Brin is a computer scientist, entrepreneur, co-founder of Google, and main shareholder of the company.
Brin was born in Moscow, Russia, and moved with his family to the United States when he was six years old.
He showed an aptitude for mathematics and computer science, and his parents encouraged his intellectual curiosity by enrolling him in advanced math classes.
Brin met fellow Google co-founder Larry Page at Stanford University after he received a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
One of Brin’s most significant contributions to Google was the development of PageRank, the algorithm that ranks search results based on the number and quality of links to a page.
PageRank revolutionized the way search engines worked and positioned Google as the most accurate and reliable search engine on the internet.
At Stanford, Brin’s dorm room became a defacto office and programming center where various search engine designs were tested on the web. Launched in 1996, the search engine was so popular that it caused issues with Stanford’s network infrastructure.
Later, Brin co-authored a paper with Larry Page titled The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine.
Somewhat contradictory, the paper advocated that search engine results should not be biased toward companies that paid top dollar for higher placement.
After Google was registered as a company, Brin became the president of technology. In response to pressure from investors, the pair employed Eric Schmidt as CEO with Brin famously referring to the appointment on TV as akin to “parental supervision.”
Brin continued in this role until 2011 when he became the director of special projects at the Google moonshot factory. He also worked on the now defunct social network Google Plus, later admitting that his introverted nature meant that “It was probably a mistake for me to be working on anything tangentially related to social to begin with.”
In June 2012, he debuted a Google Glass prototype with a live skydiving demonstration. While the product was arguably rushed to market too soon, Brin was the mastermind behind some of Google X’s most successful products. The promotional video also told the world that Google stood for more than just dull web products.
Google’s restructuring in 2015 was seen as a better way for the company to manage its various interests, but it also marked the point at which Brin removed himself from day-to-day operations. When he and Page became CEO and president of Alphabet, the pair essentially found themselves working for a holding company.
However, incoming Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai would still report to the pair and both retained a substantial amount of their so-called “super-voting” Class B shares. In 2019, Brin stepped down from his role as president but continues to sit on Alphabet’s board of directors.
Philosophy and philanthropy
The Economist once called Brin the “Enlightenment Man” for his dedication to solving world problems with reason and science. Many of the products he oversaw at Google X embody this philosophy, but Brin is also a philanthropist at heart.
In 2012, he founded the Brin Wojcicki Foundation with Anne Wojcicki – the sister of early Google employee Susan and Brin’s eventual wife. The non-profit donated hundreds of millions of dollars to Parkinson’s research after Brin noted he was genetically predisposed to the disease.
When Brin and Wojcicki divorced, Brin established the Sergey Brin Family Foundation which donates money to left-leaning organizations and California-based schools, libraries, and educational programs.
- Sergey Brin is a computer scientist, entrepreneur, and co-founder of Google. He met fellow Google co-founder Larry Page at Stanford University after he received a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation.
- After Google was registered as a company, Brin became the president of technology. Brin continued in this role until 2011 when he became the director of special projects at the Google moonshot factory.
- Google’s restructuring in 2015 was seen as a better way for the company to manage its various interests, but it also marked the point at which Brin removed himself from day-to-day operations. He now devotes himself to various philanthropic endeavors.
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