Google CEO defends "crazy" projects like Google Glass

Larry Page hints that the firm is working on more pie-in-the-sky projects like Google Glass

Shona Ghosh
19 Apr 2013

CEO Larry Page said Google will keep making "crazy" projects such as its newly released Glass headsets, self-driving cars and high-speed broadband.

Although Google makes the bulk of its profit from online advertising, Page said that the firm would continue investing in "speculative projects", noting that the firm was just getting started.

"I get chills when I use a product that is the future, and that happens when I use Glass," he said. "Some day, we will all be amazed that computing involved fishing around in pockets and purses."

Although Page gave no specific details of forthcoming products, his comments hinted strongly at the firm’s deep interest in wearable tech and getting users "the right information at the right time".

I get chills when I use a product that is the future, and that happens when I use Glass

He highlighted the firm’s personal assistant technology, Google Now, as a particular achievement in the field and suggested the firm would work on more solutions involving voice commands.

"Voice commands are going to be increasingly important, it's just much less hassle to talk than type," he said.

He also suggested that Google’s competitors had become too comfortable with "incremental" innovation in a possible dig at Apple, though he didn't name any particular rival.

Page pointed at some of Google’s more established projects, such as YouTube, Chrome and Android, as "big bets" that paid off. He also described Gmail as a "big leap" from other email services, offering more storage than anyone else at the time.

"Take Gmail, when we released that, we were a search company. It was a leap for us to put out an e-mail product let alone one that gave users 100 times as much storage as anyone else," he said. "It was the same with Android, and that’s why we’re investing in what appears to be speculative projects to you today such as self-driving cars."

"We found that with ambitious goals and a committed team you can make progress pretty quickly," he added. "The best people often want to work on the biggest bets and there’s not much competition, because no one else is crazy enough to try."

Page also dropped further hints about new phones from Google’s Motorola Mobility hardware unit, promising devices that would be faster and "more intuitive".

Google results

Page was speaking to analysts after Google released its latest round of financial results.

Google’s core ad business remains its strongest asset, with the firm reporting an increase in profits to $3.35 billion in the first three months of the year, up from $2.89 billion last year.

Revenues came in at $3.35 billion, up from $2.89 billion last year and 93% of which came from advertising.

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