Sergey Brin, born August 21, 1973, in Moscow, Russia, is an American computer scientist and entrepreneur who co-founded Google, one of the most popular websites on the Internet, with Larry Page.
Brin’s family immigrated to the United States from Moscow in 1979. After graduating from the University of Maryland with degrees in computer science and mathematics in 1993, he enrolled in Stanford University’s graduate programme, where he met Page, a fellow graduate student. The idea of improving the ability to extract meaning from the massive amount of data accumulating on the Internet piqued their interest.
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They began developing a new form of search technology from Page’s dorm room, leveraging Web users’ own ranking abilities by tracking each site’s “backing links”—that is, the number of other pages connected to them. Brin got his master’s degree in 1995, but he took a leave of absence from Stanford’s doctoral programme to work on the search engine.
Brin and Page began collecting outside funding in mid-1998, eventually raising $1 million from investors and relatives and friends. They named their modified search engine Google—a typo of the original planned title, ‘googol’ (a mathematical word for the number 1 followed by 100 zeros)—and founded Google Inc. Brin was appointed president of technology at Google, and by mid-1999, when the search engine got $25 million in venture capital funding, it was processing 500,000 inquiries per day.
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In 2001, Page was succeeded as CEO of Google by technology executive Eric Schmidt. Google, on the other hand, was effectively led by the three of Brin, Page, and Schmidt. By 2004, people were visiting the site 200 million times per day (roughly 138,000 queries per minute). Brin received more than $3.8 billion in the first public offering (IPO) of Google Inc. on August 19, 2004.
Google paid $1.65 billion in equity to acquire YouTube, the Web’s most popular site for user-submitted streaming videos, in 2006. The decision reflected the company’s efforts to broaden its offerings beyond Internet searches.
That same year, Google was rebuked for choosing to comply with the Chinese government’s censorship rules, such as censoring websites advocating democracy or covering the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Brin supported the choice, claiming that Google’s capacity to provide some, albeit limited, information was preferable than providing none.
Brin stepped down as president of technology in April 2011 to become director of special projects. In August 2015, Google was reorganised as a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., a newly formed holding company led by Brin. He departed the position in December 2019, but remained on Alphabet’s board of directors.
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Brin married biotech analyst and entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki in the Bahamas in May 2007. In late 2008, they welcomed a son, and in late 2011, they had a daughter. Brin and his wife announced their separation in August 2013 after Brin had an adulterous romance with Google Glass’s marketing director Amanda Rosenberg. Brin and Wojcicki formalised their divorce in June 2015.
On November 7, 2018, he married Nicole Shanahan, the creator of a legal technology company. They recently welcomed a daughter. Brin and Shanahan divorced on January 4, 2022, after they separated on December 15, 2021. Their separation was reportedly caused by Shanahan’s involvement with Elon Musk.