Might Google Have Been Israeli? The Little Choices That Shape U.S. Innovation

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

Google has been an American technological success story if there ever was one, leading to billions of dollars in technological innovation, and, recently, fledgling research in important fields like energy, public health and brain science.

But maybe this high-tech juggernaut might have ended up in Israel, an interview with the mother of Google co-founder Sergey Brin suggests.

Eugenia Brin explained that in 1979 the Brin family, from Russia, was deciding between Israel and the United States, and an organization called the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society helped them with their move to Maryland.

Sergey Brin, who was 6 years old when his family emigrated to the United States, started Google as a computer science grad student at Stanford University. There's no way of knowing, but it's certainly possible he might have ended up at one of Israel's top universities if he wanted to, and started his company in the Tel Aviv suburbs instead of northern California.

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