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Larry Page says that when you're obsessed with the present you're not looking ahead to the future

"We're still 1 percent to where we should be. I feel a deep sense of responsibility to try to move things along. Not enough people are focused on big change. Part of what I'm trying to do is take Google as a case study and really scale our ambition such that we are able to cause more positive change in the world and more technological change."

"I have a deep feeling that we are not even close to where we should be."

I. Google -- Doing Its Own Thing

Those sound like the words of a CEO of a company struggling technologically.  But surprisingly the come from Larry Page, the current CEO of Google Inc. (GOOG) -- the maker of the world's most used search engine, most used online advertising service, and most used smartphone operating system platform.

In a new interview with Fortune, Mr. Page emphasizes Google's philosophy on how it differs from competitors.  He says that most rivals who have issues with Google are more worried about themselves than their end users, where as at Google it's all about providing the best experience for the end user, which is built on the premise of openness.  By providing Google services on as many platforms as possible (even those of arch-nemesis Apple, Inc. (AAPL)), Mr. Page says customers will have access to the best options on the market.

As for Apple locking out Google Maps and other apps from iOS 6, he simply comments, "We try pretty hard to make our products be available as widely as we can. That's our philosophy. I think sometimes we're allowed to do that. Sometimes we're not."

Larry Page
Google CEO Larry Page [Image Source: Bloomberg BusinessWeek]

The CEO accuses Apple (and its late CEO Steven P. Jobs) as being overly fixated on Google.  Reiterating his comments from a previous interview, he says that Apple's legal campaign against Google is partly to rally the company against its competitor.

But he says that if you're fixated on your competitor, you're not looking forward at your own future.  He remarks, "I don't like to rally my company in that way because I think that if you're looking at somebody else, you're looking at what they do now, and that's not how again you stay two or three steps ahead."

To him, Google has no real "competitors".  He comments, "I feel my job is mostly getting people not to think about our competition. In general I think there's a tendency for people to think about the things that exist."

II. Risky Efforts are Important to Software Giant

The interviewer asks about Google's so-called "70-20-10 model" in which 70 percent of the company's spending is devoted to search/advertising, 20 percent is devoted to apps (like Google Docs), and 10 percent is devoted to experimental efforts (like self-driving cars and Project Glass).

He says that Google still mostly follows that model, but that some projects fall on the border of categories.  He comments, "So where would you put Android? It's probably in the 70 in terms of impact -- the monetization is at an early stage."

As for Google Plus, he says the social network is faring "pretty well" and is "improving".  He suggests that with Plus and other services users may not have received quite what they initially expected, but that Google's philosophy is that users must get accustomed to services before making judgements.

Google Plus
Page is optimistic about Google Plus. [Image Source: Google]

As for how long he will remain CEO at Google (Eric Schmidt was chief for 10 years), he says, "I don't know. It seems impossible to predict."

Source: Fortune

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If you want an anti-trust suit...
By knutjb on 12/11/2012 9:29:22 PM , Rating: 2
To him, Google has no real "competitors". He comments, "I feel my job is mostly getting people not to think about our competition. In general I think there's a tendency for people to think about the things that exist."

If he thinks that what he said is alright he needs to go back and see what happened to IBM late 60s where they had the vast majority of corporate systems and late 80s where they stepped out of the PC market for fears it might open them up again. Or maybe look at the pressures Microsoft went through when accused of being a monopoly.

RE: If you want an anti-trust suit...
By MartyLK on 12/11/2012 10:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
Ehh...I think he's just spitting out hyperbole. Trying to add a philosophy to what they currently have. Maybe to seem deeper and more serious than what Google actually is.

Google is like a guy shooting in the dark. The more he shoots, the better off he is at hitting targets. But one thing Google is not: Deep. Google hasn't planned for how it currently is. They just kept shooting in the dark and succeeded.

By Mitch101 on 12/12/2012 10:01:06 AM , Rating: 2
I think this is closer to Blackberry they felt they were so market embedded especially on the corporate side that nothing could take them down.

Does anyone remember when Iraq's military leader was trying to tell its citizens that they were succeeding against American troops almost while you could see Americans in the background? This has a sad similarity behind it.

Actually this is a good example

Nothing to see here

By MozeeToby on 12/12/2012 12:39:25 PM , Rating: 2
If there's enough targets in the dark to hit and your competition is too scared to take a shot even if the lights are on, randomly shooting into the dark can still give you more hits than anyone else. Besides, taking some of the best and brightest software engineers and computer scientists and telling them to "go do something you think is cool" for 4 hours a week isn't really shooting in the dark, it's just letting relatively low level employees take aim.

By spaced_ on 12/12/2012 3:12:17 AM , Rating: 2
This article is paraphrasing from the interview. Larry did not actually say that.

But certainly, regulators are keeping a close eye on them. Why wouldn't you? They are a very large, powerful company with alot of influence.

My sense is as long as a guy like Larry is in charge, there'll be plenty of cooperation with most of the regulators.

By LRonaldHubbs on 12/12/2012 5:58:19 AM , Rating: 2
That quote has been cut down, and it's meaning as interpreted here by Jason is not what he actually said. Here is the full quote:

"Obviously we think about competition to some extent. But I feel my job is mostly getting people not to think about our competition. In general I think there's a tendency for people to think about the things that exist. Our job is to think of the thing you haven't thought of yet that you really need. And by definition, if our competitors knew that thing, they wouldn't tell it to us or anybody else. I think just our strengths, our weaknesses, our opportunities are different than any other company."

By 'things that exist' he wasn't arrogantly speaking about a lack of comptetition. He was merely saying that Google needs to focus on the future, not on what competitors are doing right now.

By Metaluna on 12/12/2012 6:38:17 AM , Rating: 2
I think you're misreading what he was talking about. He said he doesn't want his employees to think about the competition because that just creates a conceptual box where you are just trying to one-up your competitors, and everything you think about is defined by existing products.

Instead, he wants people of thinking up completely new ideas that create new markets, instead of just "what new checklist feature can we throw into Android to keep it ahead of iOS", or "how can we make this touchscreen a little bit better or this camera a little bit sharper."

Obviously, he's exaggerating a bit. I'm sure there are plenty of people at Google who do little else but keep an eye on the competition, but it's an interesting point of view nonetheless.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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