Last year Sergey Brin and Larry Page took on new roles at Google, the company they founded together in 1998. Page took over as CEO while Brin took a more nebulous role as "director of special projects."
But this year Brin's efforts saw the light of day in spectacular fashion. At the Google I/O developer conference in June, Brin bounded onstage during a keynote presentation about Google+ to show off one of those special projects: namely, Project Glass, the futuristic heads-up display that Brin's team has been building in secret. As a zeppelin circled above Moscone Center in San Francisco, a team of skydivers plunged onto the roof while streaming the whole thing from Google Glass. From there the glasses were passed off to a team of stunt bikers, who eventually rappelled down the side of the convention center before biking into the keynote presentation to a wild ovation. The company began taking preorders for a $1,500 "developer preview" version of the glasses scheduled to arrive next year. That's just one of the special projects Brin is working on; another one, the self-driving car project, made significant progress this year. Page may get more attention as Google's CEO, but in 2012 Brin looked like he was having more fun.
For more on this story, see "Extreme keynoting: How Google pulled off its skydiving stunt."