With all the hoopla surrounding Monday’s solar eclipse, you may not have noticed that August 21 also marked the birthday of Google co-founder Sergey Brin. The Russian-American computer scientist celebrated his 44th birthday this week and has plenty of celebrate for helping to make (along with Larry Page) Google the ubiquitous cultural force it is today.
Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin was born on August 21, 1973 in Moscow, which was part of the then-Soviet Union. At the age of five, Brin emigrated with his family to the United States in May 1979 in order to escape anti-Semitism from the ruling Communist party. Brin’s family settled in Maryland, where young Sergey attended school from the elementary level (a Montessori elementary school in Adelphi, Maryland) to the undergraduate level (the University of Maryland in College Park).
After graduating from the U. of Maryland with a Bachelor of Science from the Department of Computer Science, Brin pursued his graduate studies at Stanford University. It was at Stanford that Brin met Larry Page, a fellow doctoral student in computer science. To say that the two became fast friends might not be exactly accurate–according to a profile from The Economist, each found the other obnoxious at first. But they would soon become “intellectual soulmates and close friends” who would soon collaborate on a number of projects.
One of the projects Brin and Page developed was a PageRank algorithm that analyzed backlinks between web pages to determine their relevance. They soon realized that this algorithm could be used in service of a search engine that could rank pages according to their popularity. Brin and Page dubbed their new search engine Google after the mathematical term “googol” (written as the digit 1 followed by one-hundred zeros). And thus a phenomenon was born.
Brin and Page launched Google in 1998 after raising $1 million from family, friends and various investors. Google held its initial public offering in 2004, thereby making its co-founders instant billionaires. The company the two men founded received an average of 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide, thereby making it the world’s leading search engine.
Thanks in large part to his company’s purchase of YouTube in 2006, Brin has become of the wealthiest individuals in the world. As of this past November, Brin ranked 13th on Forbes’ global “Billionaires” list with a net worth of $37.9 billion. Curiously, Brin has earned a yearly salary of $1 since Google went public in 2004, but given his other holdings it seems unlikely that he’ll be crying poor anytime soon. Currently, Brin helms special projects for Google such as the top-secret research-and-development facility known as Google X. Whatever Brin and Google has cooked up for us going forward, we’ll be sure to report on it for “Tech It Out!”
Sergey Mikhaylovich Brin ( Russian: Серге́й Миха́йлович Брин; born August 21, 1973) is a Russian-born American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur. Together with Larry Page, he co-founded Google. Brin is the President of Google's parent company Alphabet Inc.
Aside from the Internet, Cerf’s other passions include fine wine, gourmet cooking and stylish clothing. In fact, Cerf is well-renowned for his three-piece suits in an industry notorious for its lax approach to fashion. Cerf has been married to his wife Sigrid since 1996 and the couple has two sons, David and Bennett. While Cerf surely takes pride in his biological offspring, to the world at large he’ll always be recognized as the “father” (or one of them anyway) of the world’s largest communications network, which is why all of us probably owe him a happy birthday card today.