Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Q&A With Google Time Magazine

A Little Q&A With Google: "Brin, Page and Schmidt, the trio that runs Google, are the cover boys of this week's Time Magazine. Asking questions like 'Can we Trust Google With our Secrets' and publishing a general Q&A with the threesome turns up some interesting tidbits of information, including a claim by the founders that porn makes up a tiny percentage of their overall search numbers... The article includes some interesting insight. For example, the decision not to run ads on Google's image search results because the estimated $80 million that it would produce in revenue each year isn't "worth it."

From the article:

Google's decision to launch a censored website in China was so jarring. (See "Google Under the Gun," TIME, Feb. 13, 2006.) Doing a totalitarian government's bidding in blocking the truth in order to make a few extra bucks is practically the definition of evil. Google acknowledges that it's in a tough situation but says it ultimately has to obey local laws. "There's a subtext to 'Don't be evil,' and that is 'Don't be illegal,'" says Vint Cerf, an Internet founding father who now serves as "chief Internet evangelist" at Google. "Overall, having Google there is better than not having Google there." But at what cost? Can Brin and Page live with the idea that Chinese Netizens can't access anything other than the official line on, say, the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and that Google is part of the cover-up?

There's another big question that makes Brin and Page squirm: Does Google have a master plan? To outsiders, it sometimes seems as if the company is investing everywhere, trying to be everything, often giving its products away. A few of the newer pursuits: a proposal to provide free wireless Internet service for San Francisco; an online video store selling TV shows and NBA games; a classified-advertising site; a project to scan every book ever published and make the texts searchable; a free desktop package loaded with software; free instant messaging and online voice communication; a $1 billion investment in America Online. (AOL, like this magazine, is owned by Time Warner.) In the past year or so, Google Inc. has doubled in size to about 6,000 employees to handle all the new work. Even the bullish Rashtchy acknowledges that "Google is a black box for most people."

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