Google’s co-founders on how they nearly sold the company, how they differ from Apple & more

In a ‘fireside chat’ with leading venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin talked about the moment they thought they’d sold the company to him for $1.6M.

There were four of us at the time – four grad students at Stanford. I remember, we fired off this note to Vinod. It was just a little e-mail that said, “We really don’t want to sell, but for $1.6 million, you got a deal.” And a few minutes later, we got a reply that said, “That’s a lot of dough, but ok we’ll do it.” That’s characteristic Vinod there. So then, ten minutes later, Scott – one of the four of us – comes running in, laughing. Huge grin on his face. He had faked the reply and back then, the ethics around faking emails weren’t quite the same. Anyway, so he had that big joke. The deal obviously never came to fruition, and we went our own way to build search …

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Googlers turn Sergey Brin’s Tesla Model S into a pink Batmobile for April Fool’s Day (Photos)

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Google’s Nathan Johns posted a picture of an all-pink Tesla Model S yesterday complete with the official bat signal on its hood, bat wings as a spoiler, and Chrome’s logo embedded in the middle of its alloys.

This candy-coated Tesla apparently belongs to Google cofounder Sergey Brin. According to Search Engine Round Table, Brin’s beloved and spirited Googlers played an elaborate April Fool’s Day prank last Monday and transformed his zero-emissions car into a cute flashy Batmobile.

Brin—seen driving his Tesla around LinkedIn’s headquarters in the image above (via Brian Li)—is sometimes called “Batman” around Google because of his Batcave-like Google X repository.

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On eve of US elections, Google’s Sergey Brin makes plea to end political parties

Late last night, Google’s Sergey Brin took to his Google+ account to post his thoughts on the eve of the U.S. elections and offer a plea to the winner. Brin explained he is “dreading today’s elections,” while describing government as “a giant bonfire of partisanship”:

I must confess, I am dreading today’s elections…Not because of who might win or lose…Not because as a Californian, my vote for President will count 1/3 as much as an Alaskan (actually it won’t matter at all — I’m not in a swing state)…Not because my vote for Senate will count 1/50 as much as an Alaskan…But because no matter what the outcome, our government will still be a giant bonfire of partisanship

His request for the winner? Withdraw from any political party and govern independently:  Read more

Google Glass interface described in new report

The Wall Street Journal published a report with some new information on the interface for the Google Glasses:

In all, the glasses are like a wearable smartphone, allowing the user to take pictures, send messages and perform other functions via voice-activated commands. For instance, say “OK, Glass” into one of the glasses’ two microphones and a menu pops off to the side of your vision showing icons that will let you take a picture, record a video, use Google Maps or make a phone call.

After 10 minutes of playing with the glasses—which the company prefers to call Google Glass, since they don’t have lenses—I could see their long-term potential. The device fit well. It was easy to snap a picture or video without taking my smartphone out of my pocket. It was cool to see the information there in front of my right eye, though a little disorienting. I kept closing my left eye, which was uncomfortable.

Mr. Brin said his favorite feature is the time-lapse capability that lets him snap photos of his kids every 10 seconds when he is playing with them. “I never think about taking out my phone,” he said. “That would really be disruptive to my play time.”

“I have always disliked the feeling that with technology I am spending a lot of my time and attention managing it,” added Mr. Brin, dressed casually in a white T-shirt and jeans. “The notion of seamlessly having access to your digital world without disrupting the real world is very important.”

The reporter used the glasses at the DVF Fashion show in New York City this week (Gallery). It sounds like the interface options are progressing since I wore the headset briefly at Google I/O in June. However, we are still a long way from a usable product.

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Sergey Brin shows off Google Glass trackpad [Video]

Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page have sported a pair of Google Glasses while appearing on just about every major talk show/news outlet across the country at this point, but the company’s cofounders seem to do a lot of talking and not much showing.

However, Brin finally took the first step and let a non-Googler experience the augmented reality handset last week. He appeared with his wife, Anne Wojcicki, on California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom’s Current TV show on May 23 and briefly let the politician in on the secret. A video of the interview is above.

“You can easily forget you have them on, and sense the capacity of use in the future,” Newsom later told Wired, while detailing how the headset felt “incredibly light, comfortable and inconspicuous” on his head.

During his demonstration on “The Gavin Newsom Show,” Brin subsequently gave the world a glimpse as to how the space-age spectacles work. According to Wired:

In the video, Brin navigates the system via a touchpad on the right side of the headset behind the display. He slides his finger forward and back to locate a photo he took of Gavin Newsom with the contraption. He then places the headset on Newsom’s face, and continues to navigate until the photo is located. […] ‬After returning the glasses to his own face, Brin swiped down on the touchpad of the glasses and continued the interview. The down-swipe could possibly be used to exit the photo album he was demoing to Newsom. Whatever the case, Brin’s swipes answer questions about how the interface is navigated.

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Sergey Brin clarifies thoughts on internet freedom, Apple, and Facebook

recent interview with Google’s cofounder Sergey Brin received a lot of attention due to his view that Apple and Facebook are the biggest threats to the open Internet. While Brin still recommends reading the full article here, he posted a note on his Google+ account today to clarify some thoughts that he felt were “particularly distorted in the secondary coverage” of the interview.

In the post, Brin clarifies that on the issue of app ecosystems, which are not as open as the rest of the Web, he does not think the “issue is on a par with government based censorship.” He also took time to clarify his view of Apple and Facebook, noting he has “always admired Apple’s products,” especially while using an iMac to type his post. He also called Facebook “a key tool for political expression.” Brin’s full post is below:
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Sergey Brin is working on a list of 100 Secret projects at clandestine “Google X”


Fascinating story from the New York Times:

Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, is deeply involved in the lab, said several people with knowledge of it, and came up with the list of ideas along with Larry Page, Google’s other founder, who worked on Google X before becoming chief executive in April; Eric E. Schmidt, its chairman; and other top executives. “Where I spend my time is farther afield projects, which we hope will graduate to important key businesses in the future,” Mr. Brin said recently, though he did not mention Google X. Read more