Google Maps creators Lars and Jens Rasmussen have won the 2010 NSW Pearcey Award for what judges deemed a “multi-billion dollar enterprise”.
The brothers beat seven other state finalists to be awarded at a National ICT Australia (NICTA) event at the NSW Parliament House yesterday.
Lars received the award from NSW Treasurer Eric Roozendaal, who highlighted the global use of Google Maps and its role in the establishment of the Sydney Googleplex.
The pair were also judged on the technicality of their work and their potential to act as role models for future generations of Australian innovators.
Google Maps was born in 2003 from the Rasmussen brothers’ Sydney start-up Where 2 Technologies, which was acquired by the search giant in October 2004.
The technology was used by one third of all Google visitors, and accounted for three percent of global Google traffic, in what Lars said was “beyond my wildest expectations”.
Danish-born Lars said Where 2 Technologies provided a backbone for Google’s Australian headquarters, and credited his wife for their decision to reside in Sydney.
“I’d like to take a lot of credit for [the establishment of the Googleplex] but they probably would have done it anyway,” he said, speculating that the Googleplex may not have been established as soon, or have been as large, without the Maps team.
Pearcey Foundation NSW chair Charles Lindop said he looked forward to the brothers’ next brainchild.
Previous NSW Pearcey Award winners included VioCorp founder Ian Gardiner, Atlassian founders Scott Farquhar and Mike Cannon-Brookes, and open source community leaders Jeff and Pia Waugh.
Other finalists for the 2010 NSW Award were:
- Christopher Mapp of privately owned media company Omnilab;
- Geoff McQueen, founder of software development company Hiive Systems and consultancy Internetrix;
- James Spenceley, who founded ASX-listed telco Vocus Communications and the AusNOG community;
- Joseph Renzi, who created online gift registry Wishing Well;
- Liesl Capper, founder of ASX-listed search targeting firm Moota and MyCyberTwin.com;
- Mick Liubinskas and Phil Morle, ex-Kazaa executives who jointly founded web business investor Pollenizer; and
- Rob Manson and Alex Young, who founded mobile and augmented reality innovation lab MOB lab.