Lawrence Edward Page, more popularly known as Larry Page, is a computer scientist, entrepreneur, and the co-founder of Google, the largest internet company in the world. Page was born in March 1973 in Michigan to computer scientists Carl and Gloria Page. Carl Page earned his Ph.D. in computer science in 1965 when computer technology was still in its infancy, whereas Gloria Page taught at Michigan State University. Page was raised without any specific religious beliefs. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering with honors from the University of Michigan, and his Master of Science in computer science from Stanford University.
Because Page’s parents were one of the earliest computer scientists, he was exposed to computer gadgetry and information from a very early age. This also piqued his interest in the subject very early on. He would often take machines and gadgets apart to see how they operated. After earning both his Bachelors and Masters in computer science, Page decided to enroll in the Ph.D. program at Stanford University. Here, he thrived under the mentorship of his supervisor Terry Winograd. He also met his future business partner, Sergey Brin. They originally met during orientation, where Brin (who had already been in the program for two years) had offered to show new students around, one of whom was Page.
For his dissertation, Page wanted to explore the World Wide Web, still a new phenomenon at that time. More specifically, he wanted to understand its mathematical properties and find out which and how many web pages link to a specific page. A combined research project by Page and Brin titled “Backrub” led to the development of an algorithm called “PageRank”. The duo realized that using this algorithm they could develop a search engine much more powerful than any that were present at the time. The original version of their search engine is still available on the Stanford University website.
Page and Brin registered the domain name Google.com in 1997. After applying to family and friends for loans, the duo managed to raise $1 million and officially incorporated their business as “Google, Inc” in 1998. The name Google is based on the term “googol” which is a very large number written as 1 followed by a hundred zeros. The company grew from a small start up in a friend’s apartment in Menlo Park, to a multi storey complex in Mountain View, California known as “Googleplex”. Google has time and again been named one of the best companies to work for. When it went public in 2004, Page and Brin became billionaires overnight. They initially ran Google as co-presidents, until 2001 when Eric Schmidt took over as CEO. In 2011, however, Page went back to being the CEO, while Schmidt assumed an executive management position. The founders still own a chunk of shares but their compensation is officially $1 per year, which ties their compensation directly to the company’s performance.
Page is passionate about environmental causes, as evidenced by the launch of “google.org” – the charitable arm of Google. The company invests in renewable energy and development of hybrid cars. Page has won numerous awards and honors including an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan, being elected as a fellow of the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University and being listed as one of the top 100 innovators in the world by the MIT Technology Review TR100. Page is married to a research scientist Lucinda Southworth, and the couple have two children. His current net worth is estimated to be in excess of US $30 billion.