Google: People, Just Do It Our Way

November 1, 2014

Not content to redefine relevance, Google wants Silicon Valley and by extension anyone who wants to be successful to do what Google says. Note. I am not saying “what Google does.” The point is “what Google says.” There is a difference.

In a massive public relations, marketing, brand boosting effort, Google taps the Financial Times to carry its message. You can find the 2,800 word article in the Financial Times at You may have to register or pay for access once the hoo hah about “FT Interview with Google Co-Founder and CEO Larry Page” quiets.

I urge you to read the original write up. I want to highlight three comments or passages that shed light on information retrieval, which is my area of interest. Spoiler: Not good news for those who want relevant results.

Larry Page, not content with plain search, wants to do something bigger:

to use the money that is spouting from its search advertising business to stake out positions in boom industries of the future, from biotech to robotics.

Mr. Page wants the real movers and shakers to get in gear:

Page estimates that only about 50 investors are chasing the real breakthrough technologies that have the potential to make a material difference to the lives of most people on earth. If there is something holding these big ideas back, it is not a shortage of money or even the barrier of insurmountable technical hurdles. When breakthroughs of the type he has in mind are pursued, it is “not really being driven by any fundamental technical advance. It’s just being driven by people working on it and being ambitious,” he says. Not enough institutions – particularly governments – are thinking expansively enough about these issues: “We’re probably underinvested as a world in that.”

Technology, of course, is the one true way, but some people have not embraced Google’s view of what’s logical:

“I think people see the disruption but they don’t really see the positive,” says Page. “They don’t see it as a life-changing kind of thing. I think the problem has been people don’t feel they are participating in it.”

Like the recent Eric Schmidt opus How Google Works, Google executives want to be more than rich. Google wants to be the giver of wisdom. I am okay with that, but how many of those put out of work by technology will agree?

Stephen E Arnold, November 1, 2014


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