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50 People Who Matter 2010 | 9. Eric Schmidt, Larry Page & Sergey Brin

Web masters.

Despite fierce (and growing) competition from Apple and Facebook, Google remains the defining company of the digital age, forever changing the way that we think, interact and research.

Founded by Page and Brin in 1998 and now led by Schmidt, the company - which has a mission "to organise the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful" - has expanded from being just a search engine provider to offering email, video (it owns YouTube), maps, social networking and mobile technology.

Google's decision this year to stop censoring its search results in China shook the country's "Great Firewall" and struck a blow for the open web.


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This article first appeared in the 27 September 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The 50 people who matter