Google’s Larry Page: ‘We still feel computers are pretty bad’

July 7, 2014, 6:53 PM UTC
Google Developers Event Held In San Francisco
Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO.
Photograph by Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Despite the advances in computing power, Google’s CEO Larry Page still feels there’s a long way to go before computers effectively meet our needs.

“You’re messing around, you’re scrolling on your touchscreen phone. You’re in a car and it’s bouncy and it doesn’t really work,” said Page, who was speaking in a fireside chat posted to YouTube on Thursday, accompanied by co-founder Sergey Brin and Vinod Khosla, former CEO of Sun Microsystems and a venture capitalist.

“So, I think the actual amount of knowledge that you actually get out of the computer versus the time you spend is still pretty bad,” Page added. “So, our job is to solve that. Most of the things we’re doing make sense in that context.”

During the conversation, the trio discussed everything from a failed sale of the company in the late 1990s to why corporate leaders need to take the 20-year view, and Page’s response to Steve Jobs’ criticism.

Google (GOOG), which spreads its expertise across a range of seemingly unrelated businesses, has received a lot of criticism for not being focused.

Page said the company’s new ventures have all stemmed from its original search business, as the company tried to make computers better and more useful.

The company expanded organically based on users’ needs: People commonly searched for locations and directions, so Google added maps. Searches for content users couldn’t find multiplied, so Google added its “Books” feature.

What about trying to answer questions before people even search? The solution: Google Now.

“One of the things people have been confused about, people have been like what is Google? Why are you guys coherent?,” Page said. “It’s really interesting when you look at search just really trying to understand everything in the world to make sense of it to organize it for people.”

Page and Brin both said Google would continue to expand beyond its core search capabilities, including investing in Android and Google X projects.

For more on Brin and the variety of Google X projects (think: Internet balloons and kite-based power) skip to 27:38 in the video.


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