Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin
Sergey Brin cropped.jpg
Brin in 2008
Sergey Mikhailovich Brin
Сергей Михайлович Брин

(1973-08-21) August 21, 1973 (age 48)
Known for
  • (m. 2007; div. 2015)
  • Nicole Shanahan
    (m. 2018; sep. 2021)

Sergey Mikhailovich Brin (Russian: Сергей Михайлович Брин; born August 21, 1973) is an American business magnate, computer scientist, and internet entrepreneur. He co-founded Google with Larry Page. Brin was the president of Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc., until stepping down from the role on December 3, 2019.[1] He and Page remain at Alphabet as co-founders, controlling shareholders, board members, and employees. As of July 2022, Brin is the 7th-richest person in the world, with an estimated net worth of $99 billion.[2]

Brin immigrated to the United States with his family from the Soviet Union at the age of six. He earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Maryland, College Park, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by studying mathematics, as well as computer science. After graduation, he enrolled in Stanford University to acquire a PhD in computer science. There he met Page, with whom he built a web search engine. The program became popular at Stanford, and they suspended their PhD studies to start up Google in Susan Wojcicki's garage in Menlo Park.[3]

Early life and education

Brin was born on August 21, 1973, in Moscow in the Soviet Union,[4] to Russian Jewish parents,[5] Mikhail and Eugenia Brin, both graduates of Moscow State University (MSU).[6] His father is a retired mathematics professor at the University of Maryland, and his mother a researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.[7][8]

The Brin family lived in a three-room apartment in central Moscow, which they also shared with Sergey's paternal grandmother.[7] In 1977, after his father returned from a mathematics conference in Warsaw, Poland, Mikhail Brin announced that it was time for the family to emigrate.[7] They formally applied for their exit visa in September 1978, and as a result, his father was "promptly fired". For related reasons, his mother had to leave her job. For the next eight months, without any steady income, they were forced to take on temporary jobs as they waited, afraid their request would be denied as it was for many refuseniks. In May 1979, they were granted their official exit visas and were allowed to leave the country.[7]

The Brin family lived in Vienna and Paris while Mikhail Brin secured a teaching position at the University of Maryland with help from Anatole Katok. During this time, the Brin family received support and assistance from the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society. They arrived in the United States on October 25, 1979.[7][9]

Brin attended elementary school at Paint Branch Montessori School in Adelphi, Maryland, but he received further education at home; his father, a professor in the department of mathematics at the University of Maryland, encouraged him to learn mathematics and his family helped him retain his Russian-language skills. He attended Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Maryland. In September 1990, Brin enrolled in the University of Maryland, where he received his Bachelor of Science from the Department of Computer Science in 1993 with honors in computer science and mathematics at the age of 19.[10] In 1993, he interned at Wolfram Research, the developers of Mathematica.[10]

Brin began his graduate study in computer science at Stanford University on a graduate fellowship from the National Science Foundation, receiving a M.S. in computer science in 1995.[11] As of 2008, he was on leave from his PhD studies at Stanford.[12]

Search engine development

During an orientation for new students at Stanford, he met Larry Page. The two men seemed to disagree on most subjects, but after spending time together they "became intellectual soul-mates and close friends." Brin's focus was on developing data mining systems while Page's was in extending "the concept of inferring the importance of a research paper from its citations in other papers".[13] Together, they authored a paper titled "The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine".[14]

To convert the backlink data gathered by BackRub's web crawler into a measure of importance for a given web page, Brin and Page developed the PageRank algorithm, and realized that it could be used to build a search engine far superior to those existing at the time.[15] The new algorithm relied on a new kind of technology that analyzed the relevance of the backlinks that connected one Web page to another, and allowed the number of links and their rank, to determine the rank of the page.[16] Combining their ideas, they began utilizing Page's dormitory room as a machine laboratory, and extracted spare parts from inexpensive computers to create a device that they used to connect the nascent search engine with Stanford's broadband campus network.[15]

After filling Page's room with equipment, they then converted Brin's dorm room into an office and programming center, where they tested their new search engine designs on the web. The rapid growth of their project caused Stanford's computing infrastructure to experience problems.[17]

Page and Brin used the former's basic HTML programming skills to set up a simple search page for users, as they did not have a web page developer to create anything visually elaborate. They also began using any computer part they could find to assemble the necessary computing power to handle searches by multiple users. As their search engine grew in popularity among Stanford users, it required additional servers to process the queries. In August 1996, the initial version of Google was made available on the Stanford Web site.[15]

By early 1997, the BackRub page described the state as follows:

The mathematical website interlinking that the PageRank algorithm facilitates, illustrated by size-percentage correlation of the circles. The algorithm was named after Page himself.
Some Rough Statistics (from August 29, 1996)
Total indexable HTML urls: 75.2306 Million
Total content downloaded: 207.022 gigabytes
BackRub is written in Java and Python and runs on several Sun Ultras and Intel Pentiums running Linux. The primary database is kept on a Sun Ultra series II with 28GB of disk. Scott Hassan and Alan Steremberg have provided a great deal of very talented implementation help. Sergey Brin has also been very involved and deserves many thanks.
- Larry Page[18]

BackRub already exhibited the rudimentary functions and characteristics of a search engine: a query input was entered and it provided a list of backlinks ranked by importance. Page recalled: "We realized that we had a querying tool. It gave you a good overall ranking of pages and ordering of follow-up pages."[19] Page said that in mid-1998 they finally realized the further potential of their project: "Pretty soon, we had 10,000 searches a day. And we figured, maybe this is really real."[17]

Some compared Page and Brin's vision to the impact of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of modern printing:

In 1440, Johannes Gutenberg introduced Europe to the mechanical printing press, printing Bibles for mass consumption. The technology allowed for books and manuscripts‍—‌originally replicated by hand‍—‌to be printed at a much faster rate, thus spreading knowledge and helping to usher in the European Renaissance ... Google has done a similar job.[20]

The comparison was also noted by the authors of The Google Story: "Not since Gutenberg ... has any new invention empowered individuals, and transformed access to information, as profoundly as Google."[21] Also, not long after the two "cooked up their new engine for web searches, they began thinking about information that was at the time beyond the web," such as digitizing books and expanding health information.[17]

Other interests

In June 2008, Brin invested $4.5 million in Space Adventures, the Virginia-based space tourism company.[22]

Brin and Page jointly own a customized Boeing 767-200 and a Dassault/Dornier Alpha Jet,[23] and pay $1.3 million a year to house them and two Gulfstream V jets owned by Google executives at Moffett Federal Airfield. The aircraft have had scientific equipment installed by NASA to allow experimental data to be collected in flight.[24][25]

Personal life

Brin in 2005 at the Web 2.0 Conference

Brin is Jewish and not religious.[26]

In May 2007, Brin married biotech analyst and entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki in the Bahamas.[27][28] They had a son in late 2008 and a daughter in late 2011.[29] In August 2013, it was announced that Brin and his wife were living separately after Brin had an extramarital affair with Google Glass's marketing director Amanda Rosenberg.[30][31][32] In June 2015, Brin and Wojcicki finalized their divorce.[33]

On November 7, 2018, he married Nicole Shanahan, a legal tech founder.[34] They have a daughter, born in late 2018.[35] Brin and Shanahan separated on December 15, 2021, and Brin filed for divorce on January 4, 2022.[34] According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the cause of their breakup was an affair between Shanahan and Elon Musk, a claim denied by Musk and Shanahan.[36][37][38][relevant?]

Brin's mother, Eugenia, has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In 2008, he decided to make a donation to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, where his mother has received treatment.[39]

Brin and Wojcicki, although divorced, still jointly run The Brin Wojcicki Foundation.[40] They have donated extensively to The Michael J. Fox Foundation and in 2009 gave $1 million to support the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society.[9]

Brin is a donor to Democratic Party candidates and organizations, having donated $5,000 to Barack Obama's reelection campaign and $30,800 to the DNC.[41]

According to CNBC, Brin became interested in blockchain technology after building a gaming computer with his son to mine Ethereum.[42]

Awards and accolades


  • In 2002, Brin, along with Larry Page, was named in the MIT Technology Review TR100, as one of the top 100 innovators in the world under the age of 35.[43]
  • In 2003, both Brin and Page received an honorary MBA from IE Business School "for embodying the entrepreneurial spirit and lending momentum to the creation of new businesses...".[44]
  • In 2003, Brin and Page were both Award Recipients and National Finalists for the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Award[45]
  • In 2004, they received the Marconi Foundation Prize, the "Highest Award in Engineering", and were elected Fellows of the Marconi Foundation at Columbia University. "In announcing their selection, John Jay Iselin, the Foundation's president, congratulated the two men for their invention that has fundamentally changed the way information is retrieved today."
  • In 2004, Brin received the American Academy of Achievement's Golden Plate Award with Larry Page at a ceremony in Chicago, Illinois.[46]


  • In November 2009, Forbes named Brin and Page the fifth most powerful people in the world.[47]
  • Earlier that same year, in February, Brin was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering, which is "among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer ... [and] honors those who have made outstanding contributions to engineering research, practice...". He was selected specifically, "for leadership in development of rapid indexing and retrieval of relevant information from the World Wide Web".[48]
  • In their "Profiles" of Fellows, the National Science Foundation included a number of earlier awards:

    he was a featured speaker at the World Economic Forum and the Technology, Entertainment and Design Conference. ... PC Magazine has praised Google in the Top 100 Web Sites and Search Engines (1998) and awarded Google the Technical Excellence Award, for Innovation in Web Application Development in 1999. In 2000, Google earned a Webby Award, a People's Voice Award for technical achievement, and in 2001, was awarded Outstanding Search Service, Best Image Search Engine, Best Design, Most Webmaster Friendly Search Engine, and Best Search Feature at the Search Engine Watch Awards.[49]

  • As of May 2021, Brin is the 9th-richest person in the world according to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of $95.6 billion.[50]

Appearances in film

Year Title Role
2013 The Internship Himself (cameo)


  1. ^ "Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepping down as CEO and president". ABC News. Archived from the original on December 4, 2019. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  2. ^ "Bloomberg Billionaires Index: Sergey Brin". Retrieved July 9, 2022.
  3. ^ "Larry Page and Sergey Brin paid $1,700 a month to rent the garage where Google was born". Business Insider. Archived from the original on October 18, 2018. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  4. ^ Jimison, Robert (July 31, 2019). "Nine immigrants who helped make America great". CNN. Archived from the original on August 18, 2019. Retrieved August 18, 2019.
  5. ^ "Sergey Brin". Archived from the original on March 21, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  6. ^ Rolnik, Guy (May 22, 2008). "'I've Been Very Lucky in My Life'". Haaretz. Archived from the original on November 12, 2019. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  7. ^ a b c d e Malseed, Mark (February 2007). "The Story of Sergey Brin". Moment Magazine. Archived from the original on January 21, 2013.
  8. ^ Smale, Will (April 30, 2004). Profile: The Google founders Archived December 10, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, BBC News. Retrieved January 7, 2010.
  9. ^ a b Strom, Stephanie (October 24, 2009). "Billionaire Aids Charity That Aided Him". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 31, 2018. Retrieved October 31, 2018.
  10. ^ a b Brin, Sergey (January 7, 1997). "Resume". Archived from the original on March 22, 2008. Retrieved March 9, 2008.
  11. ^ Henderson, Harry (2009). Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology (Revised ed.). Facts On File. p. 57. ISBN 978-0-8160-6382-6.
  12. ^ "Sergey Brin: Executive Profile & Biography". Business Week. Archived from the original on March 8, 2009. Retrieved March 9, 2008. He is currently on leave from the PhD program in computer science at Stanford university...
  13. ^ "Enlightenment Man". The Economist. December 6, 2008. Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  14. ^ Brin, S.; Page, L. (1998). "The anatomy of a large-scale hypertextual Web search engine" (PDF). Computer Networks and ISDN Systems. 30 (1–7): 107–17. CiteSeerX doi:10.1016/S0169-7552(98)00110-X. ISSN 0169-7552. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 27, 2015. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  15. ^ a b c John Battelle (August 13, 2005). "The Birth of Google". Wired. Archived from the original on November 7, 2012. Retrieved February 12, 2018.
  16. ^ Moschovitis Group. The Internet: A Historical Encyclopedia, ABC-CLIO, 2005.
  17. ^ a b c "Enlightenment man". The Economist. December 4, 2008. Archived from the original on April 4, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2015.
  18. ^ Downloaded 11 – February 2009. Retrieved May 29, 2011. Archived June 13, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
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  20. ^ "Google the Gutenberg" Archived January 19, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Information Technology. October 1, 2009
  21. ^ Vise, David, and Malseed, Mark. The Google Story, Delta Publ. (2006)
  22. ^ Schwartz, John (June 11, 2008). "Google Co-Founder Books a Space Flight". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 25, 2013. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  23. ^ Helft, Miguel (October 23, 2008). "Dornier Alpha Jet for Google's Founders". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 4, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
  24. ^ Helft, Miguel (September 13, 2007). "Google Founders' Ultimate Perk: A NASA Runway". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 25, 2009. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
  25. ^ Kopytoff, Verne (September 13, 2007). "Google founders pay NASA $1.3 million to land at Moffett Airfield". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on May 16, 2012. Retrieved September 13, 2007.
  26. ^ Bloom, Nate (September 10, 2013). "Jews in the News: Diane Von Furstenburg, Michael Kors and Barbara Hershey". Tampa Jewish Federation. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019. Retrieved November 5, 2019. Brin’s Jewish parents left the former Soviet Union in 1979, tired of the anti-Semitism which had impeded their respective academic careers and despairing of the prospects for their son. Brin wed biologist Wojcicki in 2007 and the couple now have two children. Neither Brin nor Wojcicki (whose mother is Jewish) are religious, but they did have some Jewish touches at their secular wedding: a chuppah-- and Brin stepped on a glass
  27. ^ Argetsinger, Amy; Roberts, Roxanne (May 13, 2007). "Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts – Oprah Winfrey's Degrees of Communication at Howard". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on August 21, 2011. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  28. ^ "Anne Wojcicki Marries the Richest Bachelor". Cosmetic Makovers. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2007.
  29. ^ "The Way I Work: Anne Wojcicki, 23andMe". May 29, 2012. Archived from the original on March 1, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
  30. ^ Liz Gannes, "Google Co-Founder Sergey Brin and 23andMe Co-Founder Anne Wojcicki Have Split" Archived August 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, All Things Digital, August 28, 2013
  31. ^ Alan Farnham, "Google: Men Apparently Do Make Passes At Girls Who Wear Glasses" Archived March 27, 2019, at the Wayback Machine, ABC News, September 3, 2013.
  32. ^ Grigoriadis, Vanessa (March 12, 2014). "Sergey Brin and Amanda Rosenberg: Inside the Google Co-Founder's Romance with the Google Glass Marketing Manager". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  33. ^ Grigoriadis, Vanessa. "Sergey Brin and Amanda Rosenberg: Inside the Google Co-Founder's Romance with the Google Glass Marketing Manager". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on October 26, 2018. Retrieved August 10, 2018.
  34. ^ a b Price, Rob; Langley, Hugh (June 17, 2022). "Court filings reveal details of Google cofounder Sergey Brin's divorce from his wife, attorney Nicole Shanahan". Insider. Archived from the original on June 17, 2022. Retrieved June 17, 2022.
  35. ^ Leskin, Paige (October 3, 2019). "Google's Sergey Brin has been married to the founder of a legal tech startup since 2018". Business Insider. Archived from the original on December 23, 2019. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  36. ^ Glazer, Emily; Grind, Kirsten (July 24, 2022). "Elon Musk's Friendship With Sergey Brin Ruptured by Alleged Affair". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 24, 2022.
  37. ^ "Elon Musk denies affair with Sergey Brin's wife, Nicole Shanahan". Retrieved August 1, 2022.
  38. ^ Bacardi, Francesca (July 27, 2022). "Sergey Brin's estranged wife, Nicole, calls Elon Musk affair an 'outright lie'". Page Six. Retrieved July 28, 2022.
  39. ^ Helft, Miguel (September 19, 2008). "Google Co-Founder Has Genetic Code Linked to Parkinson's". The New York Times. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved September 18, 2008.
  40. ^ "Dynamodata". Archived from the original on September 26, 2013.
  41. ^ "OpenSecrets". Open Secrets. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  42. ^ Aiello, Chloe. "Sergey Brin says Google 'failed to be on the bleeding edge' of blockchain". CNBC. Archived from the original on September 3, 2019. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
  43. ^ "2002 Young Innovators Under 35: Sergey Brin, 28". Technology Review. 2002. Retrieved August 14, 2011.
  44. ^ Brin and Page Awarded MBAs Archived February 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Press Release, September 9, 2003
  45. ^ "15 Local Business Leaders Receive Awards for Their Success in Business and the Community." 15 Local Business Leaders Receive Awards for Their Success in Business... PR NewsWire, June 23, 2003. Web. April 10, 2015. [1] Archived April 14, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
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  47. ^ "The World's Most Powerful People: #5 Sergey Brin and Larry Page" Archived July 29, 2017, at the Wayback Machine Forbes, November 11, 2009
  48. ^ National Academy of Engineering Archived March 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Press Release, February 6, 2009
  49. ^ National Science Foundation Archived May 13, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, Fellow Profiles
  50. ^ "Sergey Brin". Forbes. Retrieved May 21, 2021.

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