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Want to make a fortune at Google? Rub lots of backs

Want to make $5 million or more? Become a masseuse.

Some people at Google slave away at building a better search engine, or enabling social networks like Orkut, or helping people find directions to places. Not Bonnie Brown. She rubs people's backs. And she has made multiple millions doing so.

Ms. Brown didn't get rich on her salary. In fact, Google paid her a miserly $450 per week (part-time, mind you). No, it was her stock options that have crowned her queen of the massage parlor.

She's not alone, either. There are apparently lots of millionaire-masseuses-in-waiting at Google:

It is estimated that 1,000 employees, Ms Brown among them, have accrued fortunes worth at least $5 million apiece from the nine-year-old web giant's rise and rise. The money has flowed from Google's stranglehold of the hugely lucrative online advertising market (it reported revenues of $7.5 billion in the first half of the year alone) and investors? seemingly insatiable appetite for the group?s shares. Yesterday, the company, founded in a garage by two students, sported a stock market value of some $207 billion.

There is, moreover, plenty left in the kitty. According to a recent filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Wall Street watchdog, Google's 16,000 staff, together with former workers, are holding options that they could cash in today worth more than $2 billion. A further $4 billion exists in options (which give holders the right to buy shares in the future at a price set in the past, allowing them to cash in any rise as a profit) that cannot yet be cashed in.

$6 billion in options sitting in the company. Given the wealth that still lies fallow within the company, it's perhaps surprising that some Googlers are leaving for "greener" pastures at Facebook and elsewhere.

Maybe massage pays better at Facebook, but I doubt it....