Google, now celebrating its 25th birthday, has come a long way since its humble beginnings in a Menlo Park garage in 1998. Co-founded by Stanford grad students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google has evolved into one of the world’s largest and most influential tech companies.
While it started with fewer than two dozen employees, it now boasts over 190,000 employees and a market cap of $1.73 trillion. Let’s take a look at what some of Google’s first employees are up to today.
Sergey Brin, one of Google’s co-founders and its eighth-richest person globally, continues to be active in the tech world. At 50 years old, he shows no signs of retiring and remains a board member and controlling shareholder of Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Brin has recently returned to Google to contribute to the company’s AI program, Gemini, which aims to enhance the role of AI in technology.
Larry Page, another Google co-founder, shares Brin’s age and wealth, with a net worth exceeding $100 billion. Like Brin, he remains a board member and controlling shareholder of Alphabet. While Page has been involved with Gemini, he has dedicated more time to Kitty Hawk, a venture focused on autonomous air taxis.
Susan Wojcicki, often referred to as Google’s 16th employee, played a pivotal role in the company’s early success. She was instrumental in projects like Adsense, Google Images, Google Books, and Google Analytics. From 2014 until February 2023, she served as the CEO of YouTube, a subsidiary of Alphabet. Although she stepped down as CEO, Wojcicki continues to provide advisory support to Alphabet.
Marissa Mayer, one of Google’s earliest female engineers, joined the company in 1999 and contributed to various projects, including Gmail, Chrome, Google Earth, Google Maps, and Street View. Mayer later became the CEO of Yahoo, overseeing the company’s acquisition by Verizon for $4.48 billion in 2017. Currently, she co-founded Sunshine, a startup focused on automating social tasks.
Craig Silverstein, Google’s very first employee apart from its co-founders, played a significant role in developing Google’s initial search engine. He worked in various positions at Google, ultimately becoming the director of technology. Silverstein is now the dean of infrastructure at Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational institution. He and his wife have joined the Giving Pledge, committing to donate a majority of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
These early Google employees have left a lasting impact on the tech industry and continue to contribute to various fields, from AI to education and philanthropy.