IT'S official: the guys who founded Google have grown up.
That was the pronouncement from Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, hired in 2001 to provide mature, traditional business savvy to the internet-search company founded by whiz kids Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
``The boys have grown up,'' Schmidt told a news conference before the company's annual meeting.
Now billionaires, the two who formed the company, which has the motto Don't Be Evil, were seen as ``brilliant young founders'', Schmidt said.
``They now function in the company as the senior executives with the kind of skills and experience we wish he had five years ago.''
Page, 35, and Brin, born in the Soviet Union 34 years ago, made history in their 20s when they set up the Google search engine.
``Now we don't have to have the same kind of arguments,'' said Schmidt, who at 53 qualifies as an old man by the standards of the youthful Google campus. ``In fact, they really are running the companies that they founded at the scale and with the insights that you would expect of people who are no longer young founders but are mature business leaders.''
Brin and Page ranked at 32 and 33 on Forbes' 2008 list of billionaires, with more than $US18 billion ($19.08 billion) each, but they downplayed the effects of overwhelming wealth.
``I don't think at a certain scale it matters, but I do have a pretty good toy budget now,'' Brin said when asked about how vast wealth had changed his life. ``I just got a new monitor.'' Page mentioned an even more modest benefit: ``I don't have to do laundry.''
Both Page and Brin got married over the past year but closely guard their personal lives. At the news conference, both said their work lives had certainly changed. ``One thing is that we have 10 or 20,000 people to help us,'' Brin said.