The State of Google, by Larry Page, and why his dream search engine is still a million miles away
In his recently published Founders’ Letter for 2013, Google CEO Larry Page talks about the company’s recent accomplishments and plans for the future.
Search is still Google’s bread and butter and its most important product, so Page unsurprisingly talks a lot about how Google works to turn Search into the “engine of [his] dreams,” which “gets you just the right information at the exact moment you need it with almost no effort.”
On Google Now
We’re still “a million miles away” from that ideal search engine, according to Google’s co-founder, but Google Now, the intelligent assistant built into Android, is a step towards solving that “hard problem.” In his letter, Page extols Google Now’s ability to deliver relevant information at the right time without any input from the user. Besides organizing and delivering information on its own, Now also attempts to understand context, and improving this ability is another of Google’s key goal.
On Google Plus
Google Plus, whose future some put into question following the departure of Vic Gundotra, is another step into providing personalized recommendation into a truly intelligent way, says the exec. By mentioning it in his letter, Page may be attempting to dispel the notion that Google is not committed to Plus, once and for all.
On Android, Larry Page says the platform is still “growing fast” and that, in 2013, developers on the Play Store earned from user payments four times what they had earned in 2012.
Page also praised the Chrome browser, now at 750 million users, and the Chromecast, products that enable users to take their media across platforms and screen sizes.
On the future
In a nod to Google’s moonshot products, the CEO mentioned some of the most important developments that the company revealed in the past year, including Project Loon, the Calico healthcare offshoot, and the smart contact lenses, which, Page revealed for the first time, will be called Iris. Talking about Loon, Page announced that the project’s first actual deployment will be in northeastern Brazil, where Google’s high-altitude balloons will give internet access to a classroom.
Larry Page’s entire letter is worth reading, for its insight into Google’s way of thinking and its plans for the future. Check it out here.