Larry Page

Larry_Page
facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin
0 0

“Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future.”

Google

Lawrence “Larry” Page[2] (born March 26, 1973) is an American computer scientist and internet entrepreneur who co-founded Google Inc. with Sergey Brin, and is the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc.[3]Page is the inventor of PageRank, Google’s best-known search ranking algorithm.[4] As of November 2014, Google has 55,600 employees and operates in more than 40 countries.[5][6][7][8][9]

Page is a board member of the X Prize Foundation (XPRIZE) and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2004.[10] Page received the Marconi Prize in 2004.[11]

Early life and education

Page was born in East Lansing, Michigan, United States (U.S.).[12] His father, Carl Vincent Page, Sr., earned a PhD in computer science in 1965, when the field was being established, and has been described by BBC reporter Will Smale as a “pioneer in computer science and artificial intelligence.”[13] He was a computer science professor at Michigan State University and Page’s mother, Gloria, was an instructor in computer programming at Lyman Briggs College at Michigan State University.[14][13][15] Page’s mother is Jewish, but he was not raised in a religious household and “does not readily identify as a Jew.”[16]

During an interview, Larry Page recalled his childhood, noting that his house “was usually a mess, with computers, Science and Technology magazines and Popular Science magazines all over the place”, an environment in which he immersed himself. Page was an avid reader during his youth, writing in his 2013 Google founders letter that “I remember spending a huge amount of time poring over books and magazines”.[17][18] According to writer Nicholas Carlson, the combined influence of Page’s home atmosphere and his attentive parents “fostered creativity and invention”. Page also played saxophone and studied music composition while growing up. Page has mentioned that his musical education inspired his impatience and obsession with speed in computing. “In some sense I feel like music training led to the high-speed legacy of Google for me,”. In an interview Page said that “In music you’re very cognizant of time. Time is like the primary thing” and that “If you think about it from a music point of view, if you’re a percussionist, you hit something, it’s got to happen in milliseconds, fractions of a second”.[4][19][19]

Page was first attracted to computers when he was six years old, as he was able to “play with the stuff lying around”—first-generation personal computers—that had been left by his parents.[14] He became the “first kid in his elementary school to turn in an assignment from a word processor“.[20] His older brother also taught him to take things apart and before long he was taking “everything in his house apart to see how it worked”. He said that “from a very early age, I also realized I wanted to invent things. So I became really interested in technology and business. Probably from when I was 12, I knew I was going to start a company eventually.”[20]

Page attended the Okemos Montessori School (now called Montessori Radmoor) in Okemos, Michigan, from 1975 to 1979, and graduated from East Lansing High School in 1991. He attended Interlochen Center for the Arts as a saxophonist for two summers while in high school. Page holds a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering from the University of Michigan, with honors and a Master of Science in computer science from Stanford University.[21] While at the University of Michigan, Page created an inkjet printer made of Lego bricks (literally a line plotter), after he thought it possible to print large posters cheaply with the use of inkjet cartridges—Page reverse-engineered the ink cartridge, and built all of the electronics and mechanics to drive it.[22] Page served as the president of the Beta Epsilon chapter of the Eta Kappa Nu fraternity,[23] and was a member of the 1993 “Maize & Blue” University of Michigan Solar Car team.[24] As an undergrad at the University of Michigan, he proposed that the school replace its bus system with something he called a “PRT,” or “personal rapid transit system,” which was essentially a driverless monorail with separate cars for every passenger.[4] He also developed a business plan for a company that would use software to build a music synthesizer during this time.[19]

PhD studies and research

After enrolling in a computer science PhD program at Stanford University, Page was in search of a dissertation theme and considered exploring the mathematical properties of the World Wide Web, understanding its link structure as a huge graph—his supervisor,Terry Winograd, encouraged him to pursue the idea, and Page recalled in 2008 that it was the best advice he had ever received.[25] He also considered doing research on telepresence and autonomous cars during this time.[26][27][28]

Page focused on the problem of finding out which web pages link to a given page, considering the number and nature of such backlinks as valuable information for that page—the role of citations in academic publishing would also become pertinent for the research.[28] Sergey Brin, a fellow Stanford PhD student, would soon join Page’s research project, nicknamed “BackRub.”[28] Together, the pair authored a research paper titled “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” which became one of the most downloaded scientific documents in the history of the internet at the time.[14][27]

John Battelle, cofounder of Wired magazine, wrote that Page had reasoned that the:

… entire Web was loosely based on the premise of citation—after all, what is a link but a citation? If he could devise a method to count and qualify each backlink on the Web, as Page puts it “the Web would become a more valuable place.”[28]

Battelle further described how Page and Brin began working together on the project:

At the time Page conceived of BackRub, the Web comprised an estimated 10 million documents, with an untold number of links between them. The computing resources required to crawl such a beast were well beyond the usual bounds of a student project. Unaware of exactly what he was getting into, Page began building out his crawler. The idea’s complexity and scale lured Brin to the job. A polymath who had jumped from project to project without settling on a thesis topic, he found the premise behind BackRub fascinating. “I talked to lots of research groups” around the school, Brin recalls, “and this was the most exciting project, both because it tackled the Web, which represents human knowledge, and because I liked Larry.”[28]

Search engine development

To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub’s web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm, and realized that it could be used to build a search engine far superior to existing ones.[28] The new algorithm relied on a new kind of technology that analyzed the relevance of the backlinks that connected one Web page to another.[29]

 Page and Sergey Brin

Combining their ideas, the pair began utilizing Page’s dormitory room as a machine laboratory, and extracted spare parts from inexpensive computers to create a device that they used to connect the nascent search engine with Stanford’s broadband campus network.[28] After filling Page’s room with equipment, they then converted Brin’s dorm room into an office and programming center, where they tested their new search engine designs on the Web. The rapid growth of their project caused Stanford’s computing infrastructure to experience problems.[30]

Page and Brin used the former’s basic HTML programming skills to set up a simple search page for users, as they did not have a web page developer to create anything visually elaborate. They also began using any computer part they could find to assemble the necessary computing power to handle searches by multiple users. As their search engine grew in popularity among Stanford users, it required additional servers to process the queries. In August 1996, the initial version of Google, still on the Stanford University website, was made available to Internet users.[28]

By early 1997, the BackRub page described the state as follows:

The mathematical website interlinking that the PageRankalgorithm facilitates, illustrated by size-percentage correlation of the circles. The algorithm was named after Page himself.

Some Rough Statistics (from August 29, 1996)
Total indexable HTML urls: 75.2306 Million
Total content downloaded: 207.022 gigabytes
BackRub is written in Java and Python and runs on several Sun Ultras and Intel Pentiums running Linux. The primary database is kept on a Sun Ultra series II with 28GB of disk. Scott Hassan and Alan Steremberg have provided a great deal of very talented implementation help. Sergey Brin has also been very involved and deserves many thanks.
– Larry Page page@cs.stanford.edu[31]

BackRub already exhibited the rudimentary functions and characteristics of a search engine: a query input was entered and it provided a list of backlinks ranked by importance. Page recalled: “We realized that we had a querying tool. It gave you a good overall ranking of pages and ordering of follow-up pages.”[32] Page said that in mid-1998 they finally realized the further potential of their project: “Pretty soon, we had 10,000 searches a day. And we figured, maybe this is really real.”[30]

Some compared Page and Brin’s vision to the impact of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of modern printing:

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg introduced Europe to the mechanical printing press, printing Bibles for mass consumption. The technology allowed for books and manuscripts – originally replicated by hand – to be printed at a much faster rate, thus spreading knowledge and helping to usher in the European Renaissance … Google has done a similar job.[33]

The comparison was also noted by the authors of The Google Story: “Not since Gutenberg … has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google.”[34] Also, not long after the two “cooked up their new engine for web searches, they began thinking about information that was at the time beyond the web,” such as digitizing books and expanding health information.[30]

Google

Main articles: Google and History of Google

Page in the early days of Google

1998–2001

Founding

Mark Malseed wrote in a 2007 feature story:

Soliciting funds from faculty members, family and friends, Brin and Page scraped together enough to buy some servers and rent that famous garage in Menlo Park. … [soon after], Sun Microsystems co-founder Andy Bechtolsheim wrote a $100,000 check to “Google, Inc.” The only problem was, “Google, Inc.” did not yet exist—the company hadn’t yet been incorporated. For two weeks, as they handled the paperwork, the young men had nowhere to deposit the money.”[35]

In 1998, Brin and Page incorporated Google, Inc.[36] with the initial domain name of “Googol,” derived from a number that consists of one followed by one hundred zeros—this represented the vast amount of data that the search engine was intended to explore. Following inception, Page appointed himself as CEO, while Brin, named Google’s cofounder, served as Google’s president.[4] Writer Nicholas Carlson wrote in 2014:

While Google is often thought of as the invention of two young computer whizzes—Sergey and Larry, Larry and Sergey—the truth is that Google is a creation of Larry Page, helped along by Sergey Brin.[4]

The pair’s mission was: “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”[37] With a US$1-million loan from friends and family, the inaugural team eventually moved into a Mountain View office by the start of 2000. In 1999, Page experimented with smaller sized server units so that Google could fit more into each square meter of the third-party warehouses that the company rented to store their servers, which eventually led to a search engine that ran much faster than Google’s competitors at the time.[4]

By June 2000, Google had indexed one billion Internet URLs, or Uniform Resource Locators, making it the most comprehensive search engine on the Web at the time. The company cited NEC Research Institute data in its June 26 press release, stating that “there are more than 1 billion web pages online today,” with Google “providing access to 560 million full-text indexed web pages and 500 million partially indexed URLs.”[38]

Awards and accolades

1998-2009

PC Magazine has praised Google as among the Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines (1998) and awarded Google the Technical Excellence Award for Innovation in Web Application Development in 1999. In 2000, Google earned a Webby Award, a People’s Voice Award for technical achievement, and in 2001, was awarded Outstanding Search Service, Best Image Search Engine, Best Design, Most Webmaster Friendly Search Engine, and Best Search Feature at the Search Engine Watch Awards.”[94] In 2002, Page was named a World Economic Forum Global Leader for Tomorrow[95] and along with Brin, was named by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Technology Review publication as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35, as part of its yearly TR100 listing (changed to “TR35” after 2005).[96]

In 2003, both Page and Brin received a MBA from IE Business School, in an honorary capacity, “for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit and lending momentum to the creation of new businesses.”[97] In 2004, they received the Marconi Foundation‘s prize and were elected Fellows of the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University. In announcing their selection, John Jay Iselin, the Foundation’s president, congratulated the two men for “their invention that has fundamentally changed the way information is retrieved today.”.[98]Page and Brin were also Award Recipients and National Finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2003.[99]

Also in 2004, X PRIZE chose Page as a trustee of their board[100] and he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.[95] In 2005, Brin and Page were elected Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[101]

In 2008 Page received the Communication Award from King Felipe at the Princess of Asturias Awards on behalf of Google.[102]

2009-present

In 2009, Page received an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan during a graduation commencement ceremony.[103] In 2011, he was ranked 24th on the Forbes list of billionaires, and as the 11th richest person in the U.S.[1] In 2015, Page’s “Powerful People” profile on the Forbes site states that Google is “the most influential company of the digital era.”[104]

As of July 2014, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index lists Page as the 17th richest man in the world, with an estimated net worth of $32.7 billion.[105] At the completion of 2014, Fortune magazine named Page its “Businessperson of the Year,” declaring him “the world’s most daring CEO.”[106]



 

This profile is partly adapted from a Wikipedia entry on Larry Page, available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin