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Larry Page Makes His Case

By - April 05, 2012

Given the headlines, questions, and legal actions Google has faced recently, many folks, including myself, have been wondering when Google’s CEO Larry Page would take a more public stance in outlining his vision for the company.

Well, today marks a shift of sorts, with the publication of a lenthy blog post from Larry titled, quite uninterestingly, 2012 Update from the CEO.

I’ve spent the past two days at Amazon and Microsoft, two Google competitors (and partners), and am just wrapping up a last meeting. I hope to read Page’s post closely and give you some analysis as soon as I can. Meanwhile, a few top line thoughts and points:

- Page pushes Google+ as a success, citing more than 100 million users, but still doesn’t address the question of whether the service is truly being used organically, rather than as a byproduct of interactions with other Google products. I’m not sure it matters, but it’s a question many have raised. He also doesn’t address, directly, the tempest over the integration of G+ into search.

- Page also does not directly address the issue of FTC privacy investigations into the company, not surprising, given any company’s response to these investigations is usually “no comment.” However, Google might have explained with a bit more gusto the reasons for its recent changes.

- Page tosses out another big number, this one around Android: 850K activations a day. Take that, Apple!

- Page uses the words “love” and “beauty” – which I find both refreshing and odd.

- Page also talks about making big bets, focusing on fewer products, and how it’s OK to not be exactly sure how big bets are going to make money. This is a topic where Google has a ton of experience, to be sure.

More when I get out of my last meeting….

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12 thoughts on “Larry Page Makes His Case

  1. dbv says:

    From http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-04-04/googles-page-apples-android-pique-for-show  :

    “Google was once incontrovertibly a search company. But what is Google today?”
    “I
    think you have—I mean, what does it really mean to be a search company?
    I mean, even at that time, I think at that time and now, basically our
    soul is the same. I think what we’re about is we’re about using
    large-scale kind of technology: technology advancements to help people,
    to make people’s lives better, to make community better. Obviously, our
    mission was organizing the world’s information and making it universally
    accessible and useful, and I think we probably missed more of the
    people part of that than we should have.”

    Articulate and crystal clear … ain’t it, guv.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I couldn’t believe what Page said about Steve Jobs and that he was using his remarks re: Jobs making such a big deal about Android being a rip-off of Apple was just for show.  I’m betting that this comment will haunt him for some time (and an illustration of his cognitive dissonance or of mine).

  3. Anonymous says:

    John,,
    I was just looking through some of your past posts about the future of search, in particular this one…
    http://battellemedia.com/archives/2011/11/top-searches-of-2011-start-coming-in-and-they-remain-vapid.php#ixzz1fDUopdEd

    Where a very insightful commenter (JG your a smart man- indeed contact me jeremy@see-thru.com if you would like to see results for your question!!) made this statement:

    “Google could handle the vapid, Britney Spears queries, Amazon and
    related competitors the transactional queries, and some new
    as-yet-to-exist, more librarian-oriented competitor the “what were the
    historical antecedents of the 2008 financial collapse” queries.  That
    search engine that really lets me dig deep and find statistics and other
    sources on whether the collapse was caused by the government forcing
    banks to make loans to poor people (as libertarians and conservatives
    claim) or whether it was caused by corporate greed and fiscal
    irresponsibility (as liberals claim).  That latter search engine would
     really let me compare and contrast sources, link various pieces of
    information together and train the engine myself on which items are
    related, etc., so as to really be able to dig in and let me chew on my
    question.”

    I noticed you (JB) removed your central response which was that, to paraphrase, you didn’t need that sort of search but rather liked the idea of simply going to the library and looking up disparate information yourself. Indeed that comment was bizarre and obviously detrimental to so many who want to make billions of pieces of important information about our world findable and actionable- to make us all more knowledgeable.

    I’m glad you removed your comment as really it is a million miles away from the Wired universe you dream(t?) about.

    Jeremy Lieberman ceo see-thru search

  4. Anonymous says:

    JG– Your Question…

    what were the antecedents of the 2008 financial collapse

    Your Answers…

    1 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/12/lehman-bankrutpcy-repo-10_n_496463.html

    Huffington Post
     

    Ryan McCarthy

    (function($){

    huff.js(‘jquery/jquery.tooltip.hp.js’, function(){

    $(‘.fb-tooltip’).show();
    $(‘.twitter-tooltip’).show();
    $(‘.social-icons-border’).hide();
    $(‘.posted-and-updated’).css(‘display’, ‘block’)
    $(‘.fb-tooltip’).toolTip({
    toolTipWidth : 250,
    html : ‘Get updates from Ryan McCarthyn n n n
    n Liken…

    2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deposit_insurance

    The roots of all of this well organized reform can be traced
    back to the 19th century, such as the Upper Canada’s financial problems
    of 1866, the North American panic of 1872 and the 1923 failure of
    Toronto’s Home Bank, symbolized today by Casa Loma. Historically, in
    Canada, regional risk has always been spread nationally within each
    large bank, unlike the uneven geography of US unit banking, layered with
    savings & loans of regional or national size, which in turn
    disperse their risk through investors. Generally speaking, the Canadian
    banking system is well regulated, in part by the little known Office of
    the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (Canada), which can in an
    extreme case close a financial institution. That and Canada’s tight
    mortgage rules mean the risk of bank failures similar to the US are much
    less likely…

    3 http://www.workersliberty.org/blogs/martin/2010/11/09/antecedents-and-sequels-crisis

    I will summarise arguments from a range of writers, and argue
    that the balance of evidence so far indicates that the antecedents of
    the crisis were those of a period of high capitalist dynamism, and that
    the sequels – short of revolutionary or near-revolutionary working-class
    struggle – are most likely to be on neo-liberal lines…

    4 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/03/11/lehman-bankruptcy-report_n_495668.html

    The examiner in charge of investigating the collapse of
    venerable Wall Street investment house Lehman Brothers, the most
    expensive bankruptcy in U.S. history, said in a report publicly released
    Thursday that senior officials failed to disclose key practices,
    opening them up to legal claims, and that JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup
    contributed to the firm’s collapse. In addition, the report concludes
    that the firm’s auditor, Ernst & Young, failed to meet “professional
    standards…

    5 http://www.savingiceland.org/tag/rvk9/

    A little more than a year ago, several Icelandic bankers were
    arrested and kept in custody in relation to the Special Prosecutor’s
    investigation into the 2008 economic collapse, its antecedents and
    causes. Appearing in political TV talk show Silfur Egils shortly
    afterwards, French-Norwegian magistrate Eva Joly, who at that time
    served as the Prosecutor’s special assistant, talked about how society
    does not expect—and has problems to deal with—politically and
    economically powerful people being arrested, interrogated and possibly
    sentenced…

    6 http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2008/oct/03/us.bush.financial.crisis

    He is completely correct. I have posted this point before, but
    hope no one minds my making the same point. This bailout has been
    designed on the basis that it will avoid a depression like the Great
    Depression. It is based upon lessons from that crisis. There are two
    basic problems with this idea. The first is that today is not the same
    circumstance as then. The world is a different place, and the crisis
    therefore has different antecedents. The second problem is that this is
    an imagined solution to prevent the Great Depression. There is no
    evidence that it would have worked then, so why should it work now, in a
    time when the circumstances are completely different…

    7 http://www.termpaperwarehouse.com/subcategory/enron-leadership/1

    and Andy Fashow, the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) (Gutman,
    2002). Enrons leadership were accused of profiting from their
    activities, allowing the company to hide…

    8 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_financial_crisis_of_2007%E2%80%932009

    A down payment refers to the cash paid to the lender for the
    home and represents the initial homeowners equity or financial interest
    in the home. A low down payment means that a home represents a highly
    leveraged investment for the homeowner, with little equity relative to
    debt. In such circumstances, only small declines in the value of the
    home result in negative equity, a situation in which the value of the
    home is less than the mortgage amount owed. In 2005, the median down
    payment for first-time home buyers was 2%, with 43% of those buyers
    making no down payment whatsoever.[38] By comparison, China has down
    payment requirements that exceed 20%, with higher amounts for
    non-primary residences.[39...

    9 http://www.friesian.com/british.htm

    Rudyard Kipling, "Recessional," 1897

    Poor loves. Trained to Empire, trained to rule the waves. All gone.
    Bye-bye, world.

    Connie Sachs, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, by John le Carré [David
    Cornwell], 1974, 1991, 2002, Pocket Books, p.114

    In the animated GIF file above, not all British possessions of 1937 are
    represented, only select ones for each of the 24 time zones of the
    Earth. (All British possessions are listed below.) The time zones
    themselves may be said to be artifacts of the British Empire, since they
    are based on the Meridian of Greenwich — at the original Royal
    Observatory, 1675-1953, in London (as seen in the image), where the
    building to the right contains the meridian transit instrument that
    defines the line of zero longitude. Since 1884 this has been the
    internationally accepted prime meridian for the calculation of
    longitude. The animation may also be used to inspect the operation of
    the International Dateline, which divides the -12h/+12h…

    10 http://www.economics.utoronto.ca/munro5/303lecturesummaries.htm

    My e-mail address: john.munro@utoronto.ca
    My Home Page: freely accessible to everybody.

    the ECO 303Y course web page

    Updated on: Thursday, 7 April 2011 : last day of classes

    SUMMARIES OF LECTURES IN MODERN EUROPEAN ECONOMIC HISTORY

    In ECO 303Y1: the Economic History of Modern Europe, to 1914

    The full lectures, presented in both PDF and MS-Word, will be found on
    this website. Lectures are posted online only after they
    have been deliverd in class and revised accordingly.

    See the following online ERN paper: ‘Am I Missing Something? The Effects
    of Absence from Class on Student Performance’:
    IZA Discussion Paper No. 3749 (Economics Research Network paper). To no
    one’s surprise — certainly not for me — this paper provides
    statistical proof from a UK Economics department
    that missing classes has an adverse effect on student performance and
    grades, but especially on those of the better students (perhaps more
    surprising). May I provide the timely reminder that students
    can …

    See the next 10 documents

  5. Anonymous says:

    John,,I was just looking through some of your past posts about the future of search, in particular this one… http://battellemedia.com/archives/2011/11/top-searches-of-2011-start-coming-in-and-they-remain-vapid.php#ixzz1fDUopdEd

    Where a very insightful commenter (JG your a smart man- indeed contact me jeremy@see-thru.com if you would like to see results for your question!!) made this statement:

    “Google could handle the vapid, Britney Spears queries, Amazon and related competitors the transactional queries, and some new as-yet-to-exist, more librarian-oriented competitor the “what were the historical antecedents of the 2008 financial collapse” queries.  That search engine that really lets me dig deep and find statistics and other sources on whether the collapse was caused by the government forcing banks to make loans to poor people (as libertarians and conservatives claim) or whether it was caused by corporate greed and fiscal irresponsibility (as liberals claim).  That latter search engine would  really let me compare and contrast sources, link various pieces of information together and train the engine myself on which items are related, etc., so as to really be able to dig in and let me chew on my question.”

    I noticed you (JB) removed your central response which was that, to
    paraphrase, you didn’t need that sort of search but rather liked the
    idea of simply going to the library and looking up disparate information
    yourself. Indeed that comment was bizarre and obviously detrimental to
    so many who want to make billions of pieces of important information
    about our world findable and actionable- to make us all more
    knowledgeable.

    I’m glad you removed your comment as really it is a million miles away from the Wired universe you dream(t?) about.

    Jeremy Lieberman ceo see-thru search

  6. george says:

    Generally, I’m very curious about how successful founders/leaders convey their message to inspire the faithful. I certainly don’t know enough about the inter-workings at Google but from the outside looking in, it appears to me, this message was assigned to reassure the troops and the community, everything is going to be all right!

    Perhaps we all need a little reassurance; I’ve personally debated whether the magic times are behind them. Google is locked into several high-stake battles, fighting for possession and rule of large market empires.

    Today, I believe the keys to success require more than building technical integration, you also need invisible assets – do things and make things so great, that people will love you for it! There’s a several sections in Larry’s letter devoted to this overture; which signals to me, that Google is now on a more profound level, refocusing on quality – building measurably better products, services and benefits for users in the future.

    Time will tell, but I like the message – be focused, more narrow and just do great things!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I jest with the results, obviously the question is very popular and key-wording it can give fine results. But for those who have really challenging searches there really is a better way. I look forward to hearing in the future from people like  JG who have deeper questions for search engines. Fire away and ask them on blogs like these anytime, j

  8. “Page tosses out another big number, this one around Android: 850K activations a day. Take that, Apple!”

    Ha! Go watch footage of MS Execs bragging about their marketshare like 10 years ago. They don’t sell PCs just like you don’t make phones. Other people do with actual Hardware Designers, and actual sales channels do. You guys bought a company that repackaged Linux*. Apple makes about $500 off each phone and tablet they sell. Google doesn’t sell anything except advertising.

    (*Note: Lest we forget, the resurgence of Apple goes back to a 1997 purchase of NeXT by Apple. NeXT repackaged UNIX into NeXTSTEP, which became OS X, which later became the basis for iOS).

    Take that Larry: you graduated as the country’s eminent computer scholars, and now you run the worlds biggest advertising company. And that’s why you have to come out and beg people to ‘love’ your company. Your Google+ is a pathetic Facebook ripoff, as is your Android (iOS) and GoogleTV (AppleTV). Let’s not even get into the whole Android Tablet debacle.

    Oh yeah, one more thing, “Don’t be Evil”.. I know it’s hard, but let’s see if you can go just a day or two without doing anything evil.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Hey John,
    While you look for your comment (I think we have a copy of it somewhere) about the need for deeper search (or no need for it?) …I ask you and others here why can’t I read my copy of the wall st journal like I just did yesterday morning and simply ask a deep question in relationship to a good story I have read? When I ask a simple question on google such as “is the fed ready to launch new measures” why on so many of these questions do we get such meager results? Wouldn’t better results look like this? I ask you don’t you think we need more advanced search engines? Others here?

    is the fed ready do launch new measures

    Your Answers…

    1 http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/09/21/markets-forex-idUSS1E78K1TZ20110921

    Sterling was down 1.4 percent at 1.5524 dollars GBP= and
    was already under pressure before the Fed statement after
    minutes released by the Bank of England showed it was ready to
    pump more money into the UK economy. [ID:nAHLKKE73L]
    (Additional reporting by Nick Olivari, Steven C. Johnson in
    New York and Anirban Nag in London; Editing by Jan Psachal…

    2 http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/2011/09/21/fed-expected-to-launch-new-efforts-to-boost-recovery/

    The Federal Reserve is under increased scrutiny following new
    disclosures that the central bank supplied trillions of dollars in
    emergency loans not just to Wall Street but also foreign-owned banks in
    2008 and 2009. (Reuters)Reuters…

    3 http://www.cnbc.com/id/45108837

    Tetra Images | Getty Images…

    4 http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2012/03/fed-and-qe3.html

    I always read Jon Hilsenrath’s articles on the Fed very
    closely. Right now the Fed seems uncertain about QE3, and the decision
    remains data dependent (as always) … from Hilsenrath at the WSJ: Fed
    Takes a Break To Weigh OutlookFed officials meeting next week are
    unlikely to take any new actions to spur the recovery, and they are
    likely to emerge with a slightly more upbeat—but still very
    guarded—assessment of the economy’s performance.

    A big question is whether the Fed will launch a new bond-buying program
    in an effort to push down already low long-term interest rates.

    Mr. Bernanke signaled to Congress last week that he had doubts about the
    sustainability of the employment gains. Fed officials aren’t inclined
    to move while they try to solve the puzzle. “In light of the somewhat
    different signals received recently from the labor market than from
    indicators of final demand and production,” he said, “it will be
    especially important to evaluate incoming information …

    5 http://marketday.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/03/11004897-stocks-slide-after-comments-from-fed?ocid=twitter

    “No more of that artificial sweetener that the markets have
    become so accustomed to getting a regular dose of,” said Peter Kenny,
    managing director of Knight Capital in Jersey City, New Jersey, in
    reference to the Fed’s stimulus measures…

    6 http://topics.wsj.com/organization/f/Federal-Reserve/4643

    The Federal Reserve Bank of New York asked a court to dismiss a
    lawsuit from a company controlled by former AIG CEO Maurice R. “Hank”
    Greenberg, which alleged the government’s 2008 bailout of the insurer
    was unconstitutional…

    7 http://citywire.co.uk/money/merchants-trust-fresh-fed-stimulus-risks-backfiring/a525435

    The comments came ahead of a Fed meeting after which the
    central bank is widely expected to unveil new measures – known as
    quantitative easing, or QE – to safeguard the US recovery, something its
    last $600 billion (£382 billion) in stimulus failed to do…

    8 http://www.fxstreet.com/fundamental/analysis-reports/forecast-central-banks/2012/01/20/

    Note: All information on this page is subject to change. The
    use of this website constitutes acceptance of our user agreement. Please
    read our privacy policy and legal disclaimer.Trading foreign exchange
    on margin carries a high level of risk and may not be suitable for all
    investors. The high degree of leverage can work against you as well as
    for you. Before deciding to trade foreign exchange you should carefully
    consider your investment objectives, level of experience and risk
    appetite. The possibility exists that you could sustain a loss of some
    or all of your initial investment and therefore you should not invest
    money that you cannot afford to lose. You should be aware of all the
    risks associated with foreign exchange trading and seek advice from an
    independent financial advisor if you have any doubts.Opinions expressed
    at FXstreet.com are those of the individual authors and do not
    necessarily represent the opinion of FXstreet.com or its management.
    FXstreet.com has not verified …

    9 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Reserve_System

    In 1816, however, Madison revived it in the form of the Second
    Bank of the United States. Years later, early renewal of the bank’s
    charter became the primary issue in the reelection of President Andrew
    Jackson. After Jackson, who was opposed to the central bank, was
    reelected, he pulled the government’s funds out of the bank. Nicholas
    Biddle, President of the Second Bank of the United States, responded by
    contracting the money supply to pressure Jackson to renew the bank’s
    charter forcing the country into a recession, which the bank blamed on
    Jackson’s policies[citation needed]. Interestingly, Jackson is the only
    President to completely pay off the national debt. The bank’s charter
    was not renewed in 1836. From 1837 to 1862, in the Free Banking Era
    there was no formal central bank. From 1862 to 1913, a system of
    national banks was instituted by the 1863 National Banking Act. A series
    of bank panics, in 1873, 1893, and 1907, provided strong demand for the
    creation of a centralized …

    10 http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/money_co/2011/10/fed-housing-mortgage-bonds-buying-qe-econom-dudley-yellen.html

    Dudley, speaking in New York on the economy, said that the
    continued weakness in housing was “a serious impediment to a stronger
    economic recovery. . . . Mortgage rates are at record lows and house
    prices no longer appear overvalued on affordability measures. But
    obstacles to refinancing and access to credit for home purchases are
    limiting the support provided by low rates to house prices and
    consumption…

    See the next 10 documents

  10. Anonymous says:

     I don’t know the service is truly being used organically, rather than as a byproduct of interactions with other Google products. I’m not sure it matters,but this article read and believe what page said about steve jobs and that he was using his remarks re: your answer the http://www.proloy1971.blogspot,com 

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