The disappearance of Page and Brin is one of the weirder and more foreboding things. You have to wonder whether we will ever hear from them or anybody similarly rich ever again.

When, in their famous 1998 grad-school paper “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” they introduced Google to the world, they warned that if the search engine were ever to leave the “academic realm” and become a business, it would be corrupted. It would become “a black art” and “be advertising oriented.”