30 May 2004

Public good

The tech industry is full of libertarians who think that government meddling only causes trouble, and the free market would take care of all of our needs if we just got rid of that pesky, wasteful government. This isn't even true of the tech industry itself: Google demonstrates that government investment in public knowledge infrastructure accomplishes things that private investment would not.
What is not widely known is the contribution that federal research funding played in creating Google. Google was founded by Larry Page and Sergei Brin --- two computer science graduate students at Stanford University. Stanford was one of a number of universities that received funding under the ''Digital Libraries Initiative''
Larry Page was funded under the DLI as a graduate student researcher, and Sergei Brin was supported with an NSF graduate student fellowship.
Google was also prototyped on equipment paid for by the federal government's Digital Library Initiative.

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