|Google founders Brin and Page on public radio|
Broadcast archived on the Web
Earlier this evening, I heard a Commonwealth Club public radio broadcast with Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page... short speeches followed by Q&A, on the future of the internet. I thought it was worth the hour, not so much for hard information as for the feeling I got about these guys and where they think it's all going (I'm not talking about Page Rank).
They come across as people you're really happy are running a search engine. The most important point, I felt, was probably by Page, who said: "I believe information access and communications will become truly ubiquitous. That means that anyone in the world will have access to any kind of information they want or be able to communicate with anyone else instantly and for very little cost." He hoped for a subscription model of something like $20 a month for all content, with payments going to content creators using a model similar to what's used with music on radio now. He also gave a fanciful example of how he envisioned that search technology might eventually be interfaced with the real world on portable computers, making neon signs obsolete.
There's a fairly uninformative printed excerpt on the Commonwealth Club website here [commonwealthclub.org], and there's a Real Audio archive, I think of the whole speech, and also the Q&A session here [commonwealthclub.org].
Commonwealth club is [url=www.commonwealthclub.org]www.commonwealthclub.org[/url] --
Nice find Robert, thanks.
I listened to both the speeches and the Q & A. If you only have time for half, the Q & A is more interesting. These guys are definitely a cut above the usual fanged dot-com founders.
Some of the trivia I found interesting:
--> Google gets between 70 and 100 million queries per day.
--> They get more than half of their queries from outside the U.S., and have business deals with compaines in a number of other countries. There are no Google offices abroad yet, but there will be soon.
--> They now have 10,000 servers.
--> They have 200 employees, including 100 engineers, 40 of whom have PhDs.
--> They seem comfortable with their business plan, which does not include any projections for an imminent IPO.
--> They made a decision on privacy grounds to NOT include the reverse address lookup in their new "white pages" lookup feature, instead restricting it to name plus state lookup, and telephone number lookup.
--> Most refreshingly, Sergey Brin, who is a native of Moscow, seems anti-materialistic on philosophical grounds.
--> The ethical responsibility of a search engine is something they talk about every day, in terms of whether certain content should be made available. The default is for all content to be available, but in some countries they have to provide filtering in response to that country's laws. As their search engine gets larger, they recognize that their responsibility increases.
There was no discussion of issues that might interest an average person engaged in search engine optimization.
>There was no discussion of issues that might interest an average person engaged in search engine optimization.
I'm not sure what is meant by that statement Everyman, but I can assure you of one thing, there is no such animal as "an average person engaged in search engine optimization". The diversity of the membership here would surprise you and each individual will find their own points of interest within the broadcast.
The average person engaged in search engine optimization is a person whose primary interest is in improving the ranking of a particular site's pages with respect to selected keywords on one or more search engines.
There are a healthy number of very intelligent, ethical people on this forum who have a more generic interest in the technology of search engines, and in the impact of the Internet in general.
Pick which category you belong in. I wasn't trying to insult anyone; I was just trying to explain that if you're looking for ranking tips, you won't find any in this broadcast.
I like Larry Page and Sergey Brin. I wouldn't mind working for them if they had control over the company and intended to keep control. But even after hearing them say the right things on a broadcast, I still feel it's important to keep watch over Google. Look at this bio for one of the key venture capitalists behind Google, who is now on Google's board of directors:
Michael Moritz, Sequoia Capital
Michael Moritz focuses on information technology investments. He is currently a director of Flextronics (FLEX), Google, Nightfire, PayPal, RedEnvelope, Saba Software (SABA), Shockwave, WebVan (WBVN) and Yahoo! (YHOO). He previously was a founding director of Agile Software (AGIL), Global Center (acquired by Frontier Corp (FRO), LinkExchange (acquired by Microsoft, MSFT), eGroups (acquired by Yahoo!), NeoMagic (NMGC), Quote.Com (acquired by Lycos (TRLY)), and Visigenic (acquired by Borland). Before joining Sequoia Capital in 1986, Moritz worked in a variety of positions at Time Warner and was a founder of Technologic Partners.
I count five "acquireds" in this bio from the Google website. Do you get the feeling that Google might be "acquired" by someone if they don't become profitable within a short period of time?
I read Jim Clark's account of Netscape ("Netscape Time", New York: St.Martin's Griffin, 1999), and I know that Jim Clark is about 100 times more interested in making a fast buck than either Larry Page or Sergey Brin. But compared to the venture capitalists, Clark is almost like a babe in the woods, according to his own description (although he has lots of respect for John Doerr, another Google backer and member of the board).
In other words, the venture capitalists aren't into Google to lose money. That's why we can't let up on Google. I liked the broadcast by Page and Brin. I also liked the Mothers' Day page by Google. But this sort of thing is not the bottom line. It's front-office, dog-and-pony show public relations. Larry and Sergey may be the greatest guys in Silicon Valley, but as soon as they went for the $25 million in venture capital, they lost control over the future of Google, Inc.