Larry Page Talks Future of Search and Company Projects

  • Google CEO Larry Page, who rarely agrees to interviews, sat down with Fortune to discuss the future of search, clashes with Apple, the company’s numerous Google X projects, and more.
  • Page acknowledges the change in advertising models, but views disruption as a good thing. Google still devotes 70 percent of its effort into search and ads.
  • “The perfect search engine would really understand whatever your need is,” he says. “So one of my favorite examples I like to give is if you’re vacation planning. It would be really nice to have a system that could basically vacation plan for you. It would know your preferences, it would know the weather, it would know the prices of airline tickets, the hotel prices, understand logistics, combine all those things into one experience. And that’s kind of how we think about search.”
  • On Google’s competition with Apple, Amazon and others: “I’d like to see more cooperation on the user side. The Internet was made in universities and it was designed to interoperate. And as we’ve commercialized it, we’ve added more of an island-like approach to it, which I think is a somewhat a shame for users,” Page says.
  • “I think it would be nice if everybody would get along better and the users didn’t suffer as a result of other people’s activities. I try to model that. We try pretty hard to make our products be available as widely as we can. That’s our philosophy,” he notes.
  • The remaining effort at Google is split between apps (20 percent) and new projects (10). “I think investors always worry about this. You know, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to spend all their money on self-driving cars.’ I feel like no matter how hard I try, I can never make the 10 bigger, because it’s actually hard to get people to work on stuff that’s really ambitious. It’s easier to get people working on incremental things.”

Google Acquires Motorola Mobility: Will Competition Really Increase?

  • If you haven’t already seen the flood of reports online (including a number of related stories on ETCentric), Google announced it will acquire Motorola for $40 per share in cash, or a total of about $12.5 billion. The deal has led to a great deal of speculation this week regarding the future of the Android ecosystem and other enterprises such as Google TV.
  • “This acquisition will not change our commitment to run Android as an open platform. Motorola will remain a licensee of Android and Android will remain open. We will run Motorola as a separate business,” stated Larry Page in the official Google blog. “Many hardware partners have contributed to Android’s success and we look forward to continuing to work with all of them to deliver outstanding user experiences.”
  • Page believes the acquisition will also serve as a buffer to anti-competitive patent attacks on Android: “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anti-competitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”
  • This deal raises a number of compelling questions (see thoughts by Robert Scoble, Peter Kafka and others in the related posts listed below), but first I have to ask: Can Google have its “open platform” and compete with its licensees too?

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