The Financial Times today names Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page as its 'Men of the Year'.

The august financial organ's accolade centres on the duo's much touted goal "to make the world a better place" - an objective as laudable as it is vague.

The world has certainly become a better place for the student pals who dreamed-up the Google concept, their creation now boasting a stock market valuation of nearly $130 billion (€109.4bn; £74.7bn) - rubbing shoulders with IBM and lagging only Microsoft and Intel among IT rivals.

As to how to improve our planet, the world's richest 32-year-olds remain vague. "I don't think we particularly restrict ourselves or have a twenty-year vision or anything like that," Sergey told the FT. "I don't think we're averse to doing something new."

For instance?

Well, um ... er. The FT was in helpful mode. Applying Google's awesome computing power to problems other than tracking down cheap TVs, perhaps ... for example microbiological research?

"We have certain core assets and understand certain kinds of technology well," Brin responded.

But how might these make the world a better place? Sergey pondered awhile: "It takes a little bit of discipline to focus on the things that can be really impactful," he told the newspaper.

"The most esteemed researcher at Stanford [University] ten years ago didn't have the kind of access to information that somebody who is close to an internet café in Bangladesh has today."

And how about enhancing Google's core search engine product?

"It's clear there's a lot of room for improvement," Sergey concedes. "There's no inherent ceiling we're hitting up on."

Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff