David Smith: Ten years ago next month, in an innocuous suburban garage, Page and Brin, two geeky students at Stanford University, founded a company called Google. They would go on to create what is regularly voted the world's top brand, earn accolades as the world's best employers and become billionaires many times over. They would also, say their critics, cut a swathe through the laws of copyright, threaten to devour media like a 'digital Murdoch' and harvest more of our secrets than any totalitarian government - smashing the core certainties of advertising executives, book publishers, newspaper owners, television moguls and civil libertarians.
Brin and Page's mission is to 'organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful'. They are doing it every minute of every day in indexed web searches, in blogs, in books, in email, in maps, in news, in photos, in videos, in their own encyclopedia. They have built a giant electronic brain made up of farms of computer servers connected around the world, a brain that learns and gains intelligence every time someone uses Google.
It is the stuff of science fiction and it all happened so fast that no one could quite grasp it, still less try to stop it.
Read the whole thing. It's fascinating.