USA Today profiles Susan Wojcicki in today’s Tech section. Wojcicki is the woman who rented her garage to two Stanford students intent on building a better search engine. Wojcicki is also Google employee No. 18 and the woman who invented AdSense.
“It was a really novel idea at the time to serve ads that were targeted dynamically” to a specific Web page, says Wojcicki, sitting in a conference room at the “Googleplex” company headquarters.
“People were saying, ‘This is a sports site, so we’ll serve a sports ad.’ And we were saying, ‘No. We can actually look at the page in real time and figure out what this page is about.’ ”
Wojcicki’s idea turned into a runaway smash. Google doesn’t break out revenues from AdSense and AdWords. But the company recently reported quarterly profit of $1 billion, virtually all derived from both ad programs.
“More people make money from AdSense than any other vehicle on the Web,” says Jennifer Slegg, who runs JenSense, a blog devoted to AdSense. “There are many, many AdSense millionaires.”
For her efforts, Wojcicki earned a Google Founders’ Award, a financial incentive provided to employees to create new ideas. Spokesman David Krane says it’s designed to keep employees and give them the same kind of economic award they would receive if they had formed their own companies.
Krane won’t disclose how much current Founders’ Awards are worth, but the first two awarded to Googlers (not to Wojcicki) were $12 million each.