Google's "third founder" emerges
By Barry Collins
Posted on 25 Sep 2008 at 12:59
A former Stanford colleague of Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page claims he was the third founder of the search giant.
Hubert Chang >has released a video (ironically on Google's YouTube) claiming he's been written out of the Google story.
Chang says that he was introduced to the Google duo by Stanford computer science Professor Rajeev Motwani, and helped devise the company's legendary PageRank technology.
"Google was designed by Larry, Sergey and me in February 1997," he claims in the video. "The design includes the search engine algorithm, the business model - AdSense and AdWords, the name of the company, the outline of the system architecture, the corporation culture... and Google's growing path."
Chang claims he came up with the idea of treating web search as a mathematical model, and asked Professor Motwani if he knew of anyone who could help him develop the idea. "Two weeks later I got an email from Larry and Sergey, and over the email we became friends," he says. "It was an intensive and interesting collaboration. Larry and Sergey had thought about counting the links on the homepage but they didn't go far."
Chang adds that he helped them devise the algorithm and was even invited to include his name on the PageRank paper they submitted to a conference, but that he declined. He claims he no longer has copies of the email correspondence.
Chang's chain of events has been disputed by none other than Professor Motwani, the man he claims introduced him to the Google duo. "To the best of my knowledge, his claims about being a founder of Google, coming up with the name and/or the business plan etc, are completely unfounded in reality," Motwani tells Information Week.
"I am sure I would have noticed a third founder, if one existed, since I was working closely with Larry and Sergey at Stanford the time."
"I do recall receiving a couple of emails from Hubert Chang in 1997 or 1998. It's been such a long time that I don't have any recollection of their contents but it's probable I shared those e-mails with Larry and Sergey.
"In any case, by that time the basic idea of PageRank was already in place and there was a clear intent of building a company around this.
"I am pretty certain that none of the three of us actually met with Hubert Chang during that time period."
Google was unavailable for comment.
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