Photo: Doug Edwards, Xooglers
Everyone knows about Larry, Sergey, and Eric.However, few people know about the rest of the Google team that really made it possible.
We recently read Steve Levy’s thorough book on Google, In The Plex, and pulled out some of the names that popped up.
These people might not be as famous (or rich) as Larry and Sergey, but their contributions were key to making Google the beast it is today.
Without investment from these angel investors, Google may not have been able to get going. Interestingly, Jeff Bezos was one of the first people. He might still be holding onto some Google stock, says Levy.
The original code Google used to determine what signals mattered was written by Larry Page, but it was in desperate need of a rewrite. So early hire Amit Singhal did it.
Five years later Singhal was named a Google fellow and probably awarded millions for his work.
Google needed to weed out unsafe results from its search, like porn. Matt Cutts was the man tasked with looking at websites to determine what was and what was not porn. From there he assembled a list of signals for the search engine to filter out the filth.
Peter Norvig left NASA to join Google, where he established the company's research division. This was in 2000, when Google was just starting out. Why would a search startup need a research division? It could attract really smart people working on tough artificial intelligence problems which helps search results.
Franz Och specialised in machine translations, and helped making Google's translation services better than the rivals.
Google's 'instant' search results were rolled out last year, but 'one of the original search rock stars' Ben Gomes was working on it for years. (He's the guy in the blue shirt.)
Harik and Shazeer spent years analysing data on webpages, trying to understand clusters of words and how they worked together. The data they gather wound up being used by Google for its AdSense product, which analysed webpages for words, and then stuck ads on them.
When Eric Veach joined Google he went to the 'backwater of the company' working on ads. He eventually ended up being a key employee as he developed the auction system for advertisers to buy AdWords.
Urs Holzle was responsible for Google's infrastructure, as well as alarming the company about Facebook
Google's analytical software on websites was pretty weak until Chan came along. He decided to buy a company called Urchin for $20 million, then integrated it into Google to make Google Analytics. The better the analytics software Google offered, the more ads people purchased.
Chan says Google Analytics generates about $3 billion more in revenue.
Tang's system helps to price keywords for advertisers to think about how much they'll have to pay.
When Nicole Wong joined Google, the company was about to release Gmail, which caused a lot of controversy because it scanned user's emails for keywords for ads. Wong had to help defend Google's decision. She would do it over and over again.
McLaughlin was also key in shaping Google's public policy over the years and had to do many legal tangos for the company.
Kamangar helped build AdWords, then he helped make Google Docs, and after that he went to run YouTube.
Danish computer scientist Lars Bak set up a team of Googlers at his farm to make Chrome the fastest browser on the web.
By the time Adkins reached Google she was already a Valley veteran, having worked at Excite and another startup.
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