Google CEO Larry Page has been quiet since he stepped out of the spotlight last summer due to an unspecified voice problem, but in recent months, like in today’s Fortune, he is beginning to speak up again.
He sat down recently and gave his second, as Fortune coined it, “wide-ranging conversation with a print publication since becoming CEO of Google in April 2011.” Page talked about everything from Apple and driverless cars to Android and how his company is only at 1 percent of where it should be.
While discussing Google’s impact on the world, Page specifically mentioned feeling a “deep sense of responsibility to try and move things along.” Here’s the excerpt:
How long do you see yourself being CEO? I don’t know. It seems impossible to predict. But like I said I’m motivated to make Google into something even more amazing and have a really tremendous positive impact on the world ultimately.
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.
In regards to driverless cars, Page imagined a future when autonomous vehicles could park themselves or even pick up drivers like some sort of space-age valet service:
What else would change [in a world with self-driving cars]? Would we not have streetlights? Would the cities be different? Do you have a vision for what could happen? It’s very hard to predict entirely. I think that, you know, one of the issues we face here is parking. I’m getting quotes [for] the cost for us to build a parking lot structure [of] $40,000 per space. It’s all concrete and steel. Do you really want to use all your concrete and steel to build parking lots? It seems pretty stupid. If we have automated cars, or even if we have some fraction of automated cars, we’ll save hundreds of millions of dollars on parking, just at Google. When you think about your experience, the car can drop you at the front door to the building you work at and then it goes and parks itself. Whenever you need it, your phone notices that you’re walking out of the building, and your car’s there immediately by the time you get downstairs.
As for Android, Page talked about how Google made bets “really early on on Android.” He also detailed where Android is in terms of impact and monetization:
For a long time, Google was organized on a 70-20-10 model, with 70 percent of effort going to search and ads, 20 to apps, [and 10 to completely new projects]. Does that still apply? Yeah. We still think about that. I think we’re in a bit of a unique point in the history of Google, where we have a number of things that are kind of in the 20 on the way to the 70. So where would you put Android? It’s probably in the 70 in terms of impact — the monetization is at an early stage
Another interesting excerpt concerned Apple, of course. Page thought it would be nice “if everybody would get along better,” and he divulged that his Mountain View, Calif.-based company has a “big search relationship” with the folks from Cupertino. Get all the details at 9to5Mac.
The full 70-minute transcript is at Fortune.
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