In the late 1990s, Stanford University computer-science students Larry Page and Sergey Brin began tinkering with a new formula for searching the Internet. Their explosive idea: to scan the rich topology of Internet links to determine a page's popularity. It spawned Google, which offered a quantum leap forward in search technology.
Today, the 31-year-old Page, soft-spoken with slightly graying hair, is deeply involved in charting Google's vision as president of products. BusinessWeek Correspondent Ben Elgin caught up with Page in February to discuss everything from the future of search to his relationship with co-founder Sergey Brin. Edited excerpts of their conversation follow: