The house that helped build Google

'A real challenge' ahead

Bringing the Google ad network to old media "will be a real challenge," says Greg Sterling, an independent analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence. "The ability to serve a relevant ad against someone's query is one of the great innovations of the Internet, and it's not transferable to other media, where people are more passive."

Wojcicki concedes that ads on TV and radio won't be as measurable. But she says such ads placed through Google will have more data to mine than old media currently provide, thanks to Google's obsessive tracking of numbers via its network of computers. "For example, in TV we can provide second-by-second data on what's being watched on the ad," she says.

She cautions that it's still very early for Google Radio: "The first things we're doing are really just providing online ways for people to purchase the inventory easier."

Raised in Silicon Valley

Wojcicki has plenty of experience at being eyewitness to a forming business. Brin and Page originally met her and landed at the Menlo Park house via a friend of Wojcicki's who was dating Brin.

The house that gave birth to Google was always filled with mutual friends, Wojcicki says. Most of them techies themselves, their No. 1 question for Brin and Page back then: Who needs yet another search engine?

The answer: " 'Not another but a better search engine,' " Wojcicki recalls. "From the beginning, they had a very clear vision that they could build something much better than what existed at the time."

Wojcicki grew up in Palo Alto on the campus of Stanford University. Dad Stanley Wojcicki chairs Stanford's physics department.

Mom Esther, a journalism teacher at Palo Alto High School, says she expected Susan to become an English professor. Instead, after a post-college job at educational software firm MagicQuest, she was bitten by the tech bug.

Now, Google is "such a presence" in their lives that the Wojcickis try to limit family-time chatter about the company, Esther says, though not always successfully. "It's so innovative and exciting. They're doing all sorts of interesting things, and it's fun to hear about it."

That so many of her relatives were drawn to Google isn't unusual, says Susan Wojcicki. "There are lots of people in the Silicon Valley who are interested in working at a fast-moving, dynamic company like Google," she says. "Not just my family members."

Meanwhile, the humble house where Google was incubated was purchased by Google in September. Google won't disclose how much it paid, but homes in the neighborhood sell for more than $1 million. "I haven't had time to think about what we'll do with it," says CEO Schmidt. "But I figured we should buy it sooner rather than later."

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