Those of us who are lucky enough to make our living thinking about challenging problems know that real breakthroughs are rarely as discontinuous as they might appear. Sometimes it's a matter of timing. Sometimes it's a matter of two failed approaches coming together with a twist that makes them right. So when we win recognition for what Google has become, we like to remind ourselves that many others have contributed to our success. As Newton said, "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants."

Recently, for example, Larry was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. His class of 87 joins more than 2200 engineers who the NAE says have "made important contributions to engineering theory and practice." And both Sergey and Larry have been named the 2004 Marconi Fellows, joining such notables as Bob Metcalfe and Tim Berners-Lee.

The honors are truly and deeply appreciated. But Larry and Sergey have always been quick to acknowledge that their early work was made possible by the support of the faculty and staff of Stanford University, the University of Michigan, and the University of Maryland. Since Google left academia, many fine engineers have contributed to its development. And then there are the thousands of users who help us improve our products through beta testing, feedback and ideas, and simply by using Google day in and day out. Unfortunately that's too many names to put on a plaque. So to all those who have contributed to Google's success, our thanks.

Urs Hoelzle
Google Fellow