free html hit counter Full Text of The Interview | John Battelle's Search Blog

Full Text of The Interview

By - August 13, 2004

ecomm_magHere’s Playboy’s online teaser for the interview. Funny, the boys’ picture didn’t make the cover. Huh.

The full text of the article is in the S-1A filed today (I bet Hef loves that…get a major scoop, then have the damn thing in a public document the day the magazine hits the newsstands). Scroll to the bottom. Highlights:

On Growth:
PAGE: I worry, but I’ve worried all along. I worried as we got bigger and there were new pressures on the company. It wasn’t so long ago that we were all on one floor. Then we moved to a new, larger office building and were on two floors. We added salespeople. Each change was huge and happened over a very short period of time. I learned you have to pay a lot of attention to any company that’s changing rapidly. When we had about 50 people, we initiated weekly TGIF meetings on Friday afternoons so everyone would know what had happened during the week. But those meetings have broken down because we now have too many people, about 1,000, including many who work in different time zones. We try to have a summation of the week’s work via e-mail, but it’s not the same. When you grow, you continually have to invent new processes. We’ve done a pretty good job keeping up, but it’s an ongoing challenge.

On Evil:
PLAYBOY: Is your company motto really “Don’t be evil”?
BRIN: Yes, it’s real.
PLAYBOY: Is it a written code?
BRIN: Yes. We have other rules, too.
PAGE: We allow dogs, for example.

On Privacy:
PLAYBOY: Did the outcry about the privacy issue surprise you?
BRIN: Yes. The Gmail thing has been a bit of a lesson.
PAGE: We learned a few things. There was a lot of debate about whether we were going to delete people’s mail if they wanted it to be deleted. Obviously, you want us to have backups of your mail to protect it, but that raises privacy issues. We created a policy statement about privacy, and the attorneys probably got a little ahead of themselves. The lawyers wrote something that was not very specific. It said something like, “If you request that we delete your e-mail, it may remain on a backup system for a while.” It led people to say, “Google wants to keep my deleted mail.” That’s not our intent at all. Since then we have added some language explaining it. We intend to try to delete it.
PLAYBOY: That’s not reassuring.
PAGE: But you wouldn’t want us to lose your mail, either. There’s a trade-off. So yes, we learned some things. We could have done a better job on the messaging. In its earliest testing stages Gmail was available only to a small number of people. People started talking about it before they could try it. I didn’t expect them to be so interested. We released the privacy policy, and they were very interested in that. It was all they had access to, so it sparked a lot of controversy. The more people tried Gmail, however, the more they understood it.

On China:
PLAYBOY: Have you ever agreed to conditions set by the Chinese government?
BRIN: No, and China never demanded such things. However, other search engines have established local presences there and, as a price of doing so, offer severely restricted information. We have no sales team in China. Regardless, many Chinese Internet users rely on Google. To be fair to China, it never made any explicit demands regarding censoring material. That’s not to say I’m happy about the policies of other portals that have established a presence there.

On Stoney Stuff:
PLAYBOY: Is your goal to have the entire world’s knowledge connected directly to our minds?
BRIN: To get closer to that — as close as possible.
PLAYBOY: At some point doesn’t the volume become overwhelming?
BRIN: Your mind is tremendously efficient at weighing an enormous amount of information. We want to make smarter search engines that do a lot of the work for us. The smarter we can make the search engine, the better. Where will it lead? Who knows? But it’s credible to imagine a leap as great as that from hunting through library stacks to a Google session, when we leap from today’s search engines to having the entirety of the world’s information as just one of our thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “Full Text of The Interview

  1. Craig says:

    The link in the post is busted, anyone willing to risk their job and find the real one?

  2. Both links work for me…

  3. Carlos Roche says:

    Search Engines are becoming more and more specific, more and more organized… will search engines ever charge per search in the future?

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