See July 2015 Update for Current Google News.
The Google Story is an audio book on Scribd. It provides us with information about the formation of Google. The story begins with Sergey Brin addressing an Israeli high school. This high school is gifted in mathematics and have won 7 of 10 awards in Israel. The school has much in common with Sergey Brin. Many of the students are Russian immigrants that had fled to Israel for a better life. Sergey says, as my father would say, what happened to the other 3 awards.
Sergey Brin immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 and grew up in Maryland. He excelled in school and went to the University of Maryland for his undergraduate degree. His father was a Math Professor at the University of Maryland. He would do his graduate studies in Computer Science at Princeton University.
Larry Page was also born to a professor. His father was a Computer Science professor at Michigan State University. Larry attended the University of Michigan. He would also do his graduate studies in Computer Science at Princeton University.
When Brin and Page met each other, they did not get along. Both men were incredibly smart and liked to argue. Before Google, search engines employed tons of advertising and didn’t have a good system for giving search results. Brin and Page had devised an algorithm to give sites a page rank based on the relevancy of the site’s backlinks. In 1996, the original Google became a popular search engine on the Stanford University Network. They believed the idea was brilliant and tried to sell it for $1 million. So they can take the money and continue studying. Search engines like Excite and Lycos didn’t purchase the algorithm. Brin and Page decided that they would work on their project full time.
Initially, they tried to solicit friends and family for investment money. The Sun microsystems co-found wrote them a check for $100,000. Interesting fact, SUN stands for Stanford University Network. They would start getting employees and putting together different computer networks to handle the capacity of computing power. They would become a corporate power house. Offering many conveniences that most corporations didn’t. They had a bus that would take people to work and back. The ability to bring your dog to work. For parents, 18 weeks of paid leave for Mom, 6 weeks of paid leave for Dad. Free on-site day care when returning to work. Free fitness classes.
A large part of this book was devoted to their greatest perk. Charlie Ayers, a former chef for the Grateful Dead became Google’s executive Chef. He had initially taken a pay cut to join the company as their 53rd employee. He would provide employees with gourmet food daily. This food would be free to employees. But more importantly his great personality had built a tight-knit community. He retired Google $26 million wealthier with the stock options.
Overall, a great audio book about Google. This one was written in 2005 and there may be more up-to-date books available about Google.