The co-founders of Google are stepping down as executives of its parent company, Alphabet; ending a remarkable two decades during which Larry Page and Sergey Brin shaped a startup born in a Silicon Valley garage into one of the largest, most powerful — and, increasingly, most feared — companies in the world.
Page dropped out of graduate school at Stanford to start Google and doesn’t have a business degree. He grew up in Michigan; where his late father, Carl, was a computer scientist and pioneer in artificial intelligence; and his mother taught computer programming. Page began working on personal computers when he was just 6 years old in 1979.
Page and Brin met as Stanford University graduate students in 1995 and started the company soon after. Page took over as the CEO of Google in 2011 taking over the reins from Eric Schmidt and stepped down and handed over the charge to Sundar Pichai in 2015. Page was the CEO of Alphabet and Sergey Brin its President.
The word Google is a play on ‘googol’, which is a mathematical term for the number represented by the numerical 1 followed by 100 zeros. Google currently processes 40,000 search queries per second, which translates to over 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year worldwide.
Sundar Pichai, who has been leading Google as CEO for more than four years; will take on additional duties as Alphabet’s CEO, the position held by Page. The 47-year-old was born in India, where he studied engineering. He went on to study in the US at Stanford University and the University of Pennsylvania before joining Google in 2004. “The founders have given all of us an incredible chance to have an impact on the world,” Mr Pichai said. “It’s a strong foundation on which we will continue to build. Can’t wait to see where we go next and look forward to continuing the journey with all of you.”
What started as a way to catalog the growing internet; has now become one of the most powerful companies in the world. Google dominates online search and digital advertising; and makes the world’s most widely used operating system for smartphones, Android. It’s a difficult thing to make it through a whole day without using one of Google’s services — among which are online tools, email, cloud computing systems, phones as well as smart speaker hardware.
“I want to be clear that this transition won’t affect the Alphabet structure or the work we do day to day,” he wrote. “I will continue to be very focused on Google and the deep work we’re doing to push the boundaries of computing and build a more helpful Google for everyone.”
Alphabet — an umbrella corporation that the two created in 2015 — still boasts Google as its central fixture and key moneymaker. But it’s also made up of what are known as “other bets,” or longshot projects. That includes drone company Wing and self-driving car firm Waymo.
Page and Brin, both 46, both have been noticeably absent from Google events in the past year. Both stopped making appearances at the weekly question-and-answer sessions with employees, and Page didn’t attend this summer’s Alphabet shareholders meeting even though he was still in the CEO role.
Page and Brin, in announcing the news today, said the company has “evolved and matured” in the two decades since its founding. Both promised to stay active as board members and shareholders.
“Today, in 2019, if the company was a person, it would be a young adult of 21 and it would be time to leave the roost,” they wrote in a blog post.