Brin emigrated to the United States from Russia at the age of six. He earned his undergraduate degree at the University of Maryland, following in his father's and grandfather's footsteps by studying mathematics, as well as computer science. After graduation, he moved to Stanford to acquire a Ph.D in computer science. There he met Larry Page, with whom he later became friends. They crammed their dormitory room with inexpensive computers and applied Brin’s data mining system to build a superior search engine. The program became popular at Stanford and they suspended their PhD studies to start up Google in a rented garage.
The Economist magazine referred to Brin as an "Enlightenment Man", and someone who believes that "knowledge is always good, and certainly always better than ignorance", a philosophy that is summed up by Google’s motto of making all the world’s information "universally accessible and useful" and "Don't be evil".