On Tuesday, Larry Page and Sergey Brin announced they will step down from their respective roles as CEO and president at Alphabet, Google’s parent company, which today has a market cap of over $890 billion and over 100,000 employees.
“We are deeply humbled to have seen a small research project develop into a source of knowledge and empowerment for billions—a bet we made as two Stanford students that led to a multitude of other technology bets,” Page and Brin wrote in a blog post Tuesday, announcing the change.
“We could not have imagined, back in 1998 when we moved our servers from a dorm room to a garage, the journey that would follow.”
Indeed, before there was Alphabet and before googling was a verb, Google was a fledgling internet search engine that Page and Brin, then Ph.D. students at Stanford University, ran out of a small, messy garage in Menlo Park, California.
That year, one of the first Google employees filmed a video tour of that garage office, embedded below.
“This is our garage,” the unnamed Google employee says in the video. “We got a ping pong table, computers. On the other side of the office, [is] our hack room.”
The tour includes the garage and the employee’s office, as well as Page’s.
Page and Brin rented the garage space for $1,700 a month from Susan Wojcicki. At the time, Wojcicki was working in the marketing department at Intel.
“I was worried about covering the mortgage. So I was willing to rent my garage to any student,” Wojcicki told “60 Minutes'” Lesley Stahl in an interview that aired Sunday. “[T]hen two students appeared. One was named Sergey Brin. The other was named Larry Page. They are the founders of Google. But at the time they were just students. They looked like any other students.”
The following year, Wojcicki became the company’s 16th employee, working as its first marketing manager. Wojcicki is now the CEO of YouTube, which is owned by Alphabet. (Brin also married and later divorced Wojcicki’s sister Anne.)
In 1999, Google moved into an actual office space in Palo Alto, California. In 2003, the company leased its “Googleplex” headquarters in Mountain View, California. (Google reported $220,000 in annual revenue in ’99 and nearly $1 billion in 2003.)
Since then, Google has spent billions on office properties throughout California, the country and the world.
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