How many Google employees became billionaires


"We don't have a bank account yet," is Serge Brin's answer when Andreas von Bechtolsheim offers him a check for one hundred thousand dollars. "Then redeem it as soon as you have one," says the Sun co-founder. He is not the only investor, Google is officially founded on September 7, 1998 - with a start-up capital of 1.1 million.

On closer inspection, however, the legendary scene loses a bit of its magic: There are no unknown developers who are showered with money here. It is not only the revolutionary search engine that they present that is convincing - an entire network of academics from Stanford University vouches for the two elite university graduates. With the Google predecessor "Backrub", which put a lot of strain on the university's internet connection, Page has developed a fully functional search engine together with Scott Hassan, Alan Steremberg and Sergey Brin. A new type of internet search that keeps up with current market leaders from the very first presentations. It is Stanford professor David Cheriton who provides investors and who comes in with a similar amount as Bechtolsheim - and who later makes him a multiple billionaire. According to Forbes, the two company shares are worth two billion dollars each in 2014.

  1. The investor
    The story of Google begins with an investment of $ 100,000 by Sun founder Bechtolsheim - the investor earns almost two billion as a result.
  2. Backrub
    The Back Rub search engine developed in Standford is the forerunner of Google's search engine. Incidentally, the hand in the logo is that of Larry Page - who took the photo with a copier.
  3. Hypermodern
    Today's data centers are far more modern. Here, a Finnish paper mill on the Baltic Sea was converted into a data center, and seawater is used for cooling.
  4. Infinite beta
    Google still calls the first version of the Google website "beta", which is also used for many other projects such as Gmail. However, the search engine was a mature offer early on.
  5. The fathers of success
    Serge Brin and Larry Page met in Standford and founded Google in 1998. Since April 4, 2011, Page has been CEO of Google, a position he had given to Eric Schmidt in 2001.
  6. Two other important minds: David Cheriton ...
    Stanford lecturer David Cheriton put the two company founders in touch with Bechtolsheim and other investors. He, too, is now a billionaire by investing in Google.
  7. ... and Eric Schmidt
    The information specialist and manager Eric Schmidt joined Google in 2001. After positions at Sun as CTO and Novell as CEO, he will take on the position of CEO at Google. On April 4th, 2011, he will join the Google Board of Directors.
  8. Off to the stock exchange
    The IPO on August 19, 2004 is a great success for Google. At the end of 2013 it reached a level of 1000 dollars for the first time, which corresponds to a company value of 327 billion.
  9. It only goes one way ...
    Since Google was founded, sales and profits have grown steadily. The sales increases of the last two years are striking, although the acquisition of Motorola resulted in high losses.
  10. Everyone wants to go to Google
    When asked about the most popular employer, Google is always in first place in Germany. The reason for this is a reputation as an innovative market leader who takes good care of its employees.
  11. Male domain
    The number of women at Google is rather small, 70 percent of the almost 48,000 employees (and 83 percent of the developers) are male. Minorities are also poorly represented, which is viewed by Google as a problem.
  12. Competitor Facebook
    Facebook is not a search engine, but Mark Zuckerberg's platform has 1.23 billion users and, as a provider of advertising space, is a real threat to Google - the unit price for advertising is falling and the mobile business is still developing.
  13. Creative freedom
    Google repeatedly draws attention to itself with cool office photos, here, for example, with a meeting room designed as an igloo.
  14. Venice feeling
    Optionally, a meeting can be held in a gondola.
  15. The dominant search engine
    As a search engine, Google is the market leader; competitors such as Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo have little chance of doing this. Especially when searching for German sites, Google is clearly superior to them.
  16. Games for in between
    The search engine offers many hidden functions such as "zerg rush": If you enter the command in the search bar, small letters destroy all search hits on the website.
  17. Ever more sophisticated offers
    A new feature of the Google search is the so-called Knowledge Graph - if you are looking for information about a film, for example, it can be seen on the right side of the page. In doing so, Google uses external and own sources.
  18. Google Plus
    Google Plus is a direct answer to Facebook, Google is said to have around a thousand employees on this project.
  19. Google Maps
    The Google Maps service has been around since 2005 and is getting more and more functions. The high-resolution satellite photos are impressive, the sister product Google E-arth has meanwhile been integrated into Google Maps. Interesting for Android users: In some cities, data on public transport is already displayed on Android devices.
  20. Your own tablet
    Google's Nexus 7 tablet is one of the most successful Android tablets. Android is particularly successful in Germany and has already achieved a market share of over 75 percent for smartphones.
  21. The eternal struggle for the streetscape
    Google was only able to offer Streetview thanks to a whole fleet of camera vehicles. The offer soon met with criticism from the point of view of data protection. Streetview has recently been banned in Austria.
  22. Google Glass
    Google triggers little enthusiasm among data privacy advocates for the new product Google Glass. The glasses developed in the so-called Google-X-Labs can show information in the user's field of vision, but the integrated camera becomes the main topic and provides for some bans - including in British cinemas.
  23. The future: off to the streets
    Self-driving cars have long been an issue for Google, and in May 2014 the company presented a first prototype. Thanks to laser scanners and many sensors, it should be extremely safe. After all, according to Brin, it is a waste if cars are idle. Self-driving cars could easily take in new passengers.

Beginnings as a company

Even in the beta stage, Google receives a lot of media attention. PC Magazine wrote in 1999 that Google had "an uncanny knack for returning extremely relevant results". But sites like also praise the high hit rate of the search results. The basis for this performance is the famous Page Rank algorithm, which assigns each page a value that depends on the links to this page.

A sale of the company is under discussion right from the start, but the purchase price of one million US dollars seems too high to interested parties Excite, Yahoo and Altavista.

Google achieved the turning point in June 2000. From then on, it was the official search engine of the Yahoo portal for four years. At that time, Yahoo was not interested in its own search technology; before Google, the Internet pioneer had used Inktomi's search technology. According to Udi Manber (at Google since 2006), the Yahoo search team consisted of just six developers. For Google, the well-paid work for Yahoo brings the breakthrough, indirectly Yahoo is making millions of Yahoo customers familiar with the new search engine. From 2000 to 2003, Google can increase the number of daily search queries from 100 million to 200 million per year. The licensing of the search engine alone does not bring enough money for growth, however, only a comparatively meager six million dollars a year. In addition, Google's business model of structuring search results will soon no longer be unique. Since 2000 there are more and more competitors like Teoma, 2001 WiseNut comes onto the market. There is also strong competition from Inktomi and Overture, which have a functioning business model. You can even pay the portals fees for using them, as they finance themselves by mixing the search hits with advertising.

Flood of personnel

At the same time, Google is investing heavily in staff and servers. In the first few years, Google hired over 50 developers and soon became a popular career goal among computer scientists. At the end of 2002, the new company received 1,000 applications a day, according to the New York Times.

Page and Brin consciously orient themselves to Moore's Law: The prices for storage space and CPU power would decrease every year and make a global search engine like Google possible in the first place. Although Google only buys inexpensive standard servers and uses Linux as the operating system, it requires huge numbers of units for this.

Google is constantly developing the search algorithms, and the developers are putting an enormous amount of effort into it. A separate file system, Google File System, is also one of the secrets to success, as is the parallelization of calculations with Map Reduce. Fast search queries enable the majority of the search index to be kept in memory. Every simple query employs up to a thousand computers, but the response time is only half a second, far faster than many competitors. A billion websites are indexed in 2003, until the summer of 2003 Google updates the index monthly, then daily.

The investors Sequoia Capital and Kleiner Perkins had invested 25 million dollars in Google shortly after the founding, but the founders Page and Brin are soon forced by the two investors to hire an experienced managing director. Eric Schmidt was elected in 2001 and was first chairman and CEO in August. Larry Page is now President of Products and Sergey Brin is President of Technology.

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Financing through advertising

Google has been offering advertisements since the end of 2000, and Adwords, which is quite inexpensive for advertisers, starts with 350 customers. From February 2002 there will be a completely new version of the "Adwords" service. Advertising is now auctioned on the search page in a complex system and billed via pay-per-click. According to Google, users hardly notice the advertisements in text form, but they are extremely profitable. From June 2003 there will also be Adsense as an advertising form. The latter enables any website to display advertising on its own website. However, the system is controversial among publishers as well as customers, so there are allegedly more problems with spam, fraud and account blocking. By 2013, Google will distribute 5.2 billion euros to publishers, i.e. just 500 million euros per year. Google's main source of income has been Adwords for the past twelve years.

In 2002, Google's turnover was 400 million US dollars; in 2003 it was already 1.5 billion. Google treated funding through advertising like a secret until it went public in 2004. However, profits are increasing, from just under a hundred million in 2002 and 2003 to 400 million in 2004 and 1.4 billion in 2005.

The biggest competitor is the search engine Overture with a similar business model, which is less popular with end users, but is extremely successful in selling ads. 2003 Yahoo takes over the competitor. One positive consequence is the end of a patent dispute between Overture and Google. An innovation coming in 2012 brings a jump in sales: the introduction of product listing ads, in principle Google ads with product images.


Why did Google have over competitors like Inktomi