Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

17. Stephen Chau

Product Manager of Google Maps and Google Earth

Incorporating photos into online maps wasn't a new idea at Google, but no one had figured out how to pull it off until Stephen Chau tackled what became Street View, the company's fastest-growing product of 2008. Chau, 29, is a former Goldman Sachs banker (he worked on Google's IPO) who studied computer science and art history at Google's farm team, Stanford. His goal, he says, was to create "a 360-degree panorama to replicate what you would see if you were walking down the street." Any street. Vehicles equipped with at least a half-dozen cameras custom-designed by Google have covered much of the United States and are now photographing nine other countries for what may be the most ambitious photo project ever undertaken. -- by Chuck Salter