Sergey Brin once described the Internet as “the repository of all our knowledge” and the company he and Larry Page founded a mere decade ago, Google, Inc. provides access to the Internet for a majority of the Western world. Google has altered the world we live in with a profound impact on just about everything we do. In addition to the search engine, Google has given us many other products including YouTube, Google Earth, GMail and the Android operating system for cell phones. It is now difficult to remember a time when we didn't have Google, an essential tool in today's world of commerce, education, government and social interaction. The search engine they created a mere decade ago now delves through trillions of documents in a fraction of a second. However, Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School noted that Sergey Brin and Larry Page were “the traffic cop at the main intersection of the information society . . . . They have an awesome responsibility.” Award-winning author Daniel Alef tells the remarkable story of Sergey, Larry and Google in this CoreView biographical profile and raises the question of their responsibility as gatekeepers to the Internet. [11,446-word Titans of Fortune CoreView Biographical Profile with more than 50 carefully selected and embedded video links and 234 pages of supplements including the original S-1 Registration Statement for Google's initial public offering]


Regardless of language, “Google” is recognized everywhere, serving as a common verb and noun, meaning to search the Internet or simply as a search engine for the Internet. Google has entered our lexicon the same way "Xerox" or “Kleenex” did years ago. But there is a major difference. The products developed by Xerox and Kimberly-Clark Corporation (inventor of Kleenex) were useful and helpful, not world- or culture-changing innovations. Google Inc., the company founded by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, has altered the world we live in with a profound impact on just about everything we do. If you have not heard of or used Google, you are as out of touch as the lonely hermit sitting on a remote mountain top or asleep like Rip Van Winkle. A close parallel to Google is Gutenberg’s bible. Mark Twain said, “What the world is today, good and bad, it owes to Gutenberg. Everything can be traced to this source . . . for the bad that his colossal invention has brought about is overshadowed a thousand times by the good with which mankind has been favored.”  The same applies to Google.

The evolution of the term and the company is astonishing for several reasons. There were approximately two billion Internet users worldwide in 2010 according to the World Bank. One out of every three people on Earth has performed at least one Google search, while the majority use Google as their primary search engine, typically on a daily basis. But what is most astonishing is that this has taken place in just over a decade. The Observer of London called Google “one of the wonders of the world” from both a technological and economic point of view.

It is now difficult to remember a time when we didn't have Google. It has become an essential tool in today's world of commerce, education, government, and social interaction. In this brief frame of time, Larry Page and Sergey Brin have established a company with a current market capitalization of more than $170 billion! Each man is now one of the wealthiest on Earth. In 2010 Forbes Magazine ranked each one as #24 with a net worth of $17.5 billion.

The Internet came first; Google second. Sergey Brin described the Internet as "the repository of all our knowledge."  It is a virtual Syntopicon, the Encyclopedia Britannica’s Index to Great Ideas, and akin to a universal library, a limitless and ever expanding source of information, ideas, and potential wisdom. Such a virtual storehouse of knowledge is in essence a database, useful only with an effective system for retrieving the information, a system embodying linkage, integration, and accessibility. Google’s search engine is this system; the modern equivalent of, but by far a more efficient and comprehensive system than the old Dewey card catalogue. As today's repository of knowledge grows exponentially, day-by-day, minute-by-minute, the effectiveness and efficiency of the search engine explodes with importance.

This is where Sergey Brin and Larry Page have stepped in and made it all possible. They created a system that can delve through trillions of documents and Internet sites in a fraction of a second--not only delivering results, but ranking them as well. For example, a Google search of the Internet for “Walt Disney” results in 49,300,000 entries and 24,000,000 images in .08 seconds. That is a lot of information to wade through, but Google has ranked these entries through a series of proprietary algorithms that gives us the most relevant material at the top of the search.