The first two Founders' Awards consisted of restricted stock that was worth $12 million when it was awarded in November to two teams of a dozen or so employees each.
One of the awards was given to a technology team that devised a means of linking users to the advertisements most likely to interest them. Another team, on the business side, worked on a "particularly important deal to us," said Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder and co-president. Brin, who played a principal role in establishing the award, would not discuss the projects in more detail.
The stock vests in monthly increments over four years, Brin said. "We have people who just do phenomenal things here," he said. "I wanted a mechanism to reward that."
Brin, who is expected to talk about the award in Tuesday's conference call with investors to discuss the company's quarterly earnings, said the shares were not divided evenly, but were distributed according to each individual's contribution. Some employees received millions of dollars in stock, said Brin.
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"Grads coming out of school now might want to go to Google, but want to be rewarded based on the success of their project," he said. Google already offers bonuses and options, he said, "but not to the scale where you can legitimately claim it's comparable to doing a start-up."
Rick Boardman, a software researcher from Britain who joined the company a few months ago, said: "It's really a nice thing for people who joined Google after the whole stock bonanza had passed." He was not among this round of winners.
Brin said he would like to give out Founders' Awards "at least once a quarter" and perhaps more frequently.
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