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Shhh: 10 Make-or-Break Trade Secrets

2. Google

Many factors contribute to Google's (GOOG) position as the top search tool for the Web, but the biggest is its proprietary search algorithm, PageRank. Rather than simply ordering sites based on their mention of a particular search term, PageRank factors in the number of links to and from a site; in so doing, it considers not only the site's content, but also its place in the Web. Google's founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin developed PageRank while students at Stanford and the university still owns the algorithm, which it has licensed to Google in return for stock in the company.

(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

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