Larry Page And Sergey Brin Thought Google Would Be Worth $500 Million

Larry Page Sergey BrinGoogle cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin

Photo: ehud via Flickr

When Amit Singhal, an executive now in charge of Google’s search business, first met Larry Page and Sergy Brin, he “thought they were smoking something,” he told attendees at the prestigous Churchill Club event in Silicon Valley on Thursday.The young Google cofounders told him, “We have the entire Internet sitting on our disks.”

Except they didn’t, really. Their plan for a new search engine was simple: They didn’t have to search every word, they only needed “a snippet from the beginning [of each page] to do search,” he recounts.

They were running short on funds, so they had to build their own, more affordable computers to store the data. Today, Google builds more servers than many of the world’s commercial server makers. If it sold servers, it would rank around No. 5 in world market share.

Singhal had one young child, another on the way, a Ph.D. from Cornell University, and a good job as an acedemic at AT&T Labs at the time.  But in 2000, he took a chance and joined Google.

To recruit him, Page and Brin told him that one day, “We’ll be worth $500 million at least.”

“Stop smoking your own stuff,” Singhal says he told them. “You’re worth $1 billion at least.”

That was 12 years ago. Today Google is worth about $230 billion. And Singhal is known as the master of Google’s PageRank algorithm—named after cofounder Page.

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