Here are notes I took from the Google live Webcast of their Press Day, a day where executives are available to the media. The Q&As are all paraphrased.
Innovation: Many Shapes, Many Sizes
Google is about helping people find things, and has 3x as many Web pages indexed as anyone else.
Much comparing of themselves with "the competition" and the gap (of how much further Google is than competitors).
Moved data centers closer to users (a.k.a more?) Most new features will be around the user interface and search.
Google sees four components of search experience:
- [lack of] latency.
- user experience.
They admit that small advertisers are difficult to figure out. I tried AdWords for 4.5 months and found it ineffective, and so don't use it anymore.
"Innovation That's Free"
Google Print provides access to the world's books for free. Sounds like libraries to me.
"Innovation, Not Instant Perfection"
Google sees what users do with it, and then iterates to improve the software. Much emphasis on how fast Google innovates. For example, Google Desktop updates twice as fast with each release.
"Innovation By Others"
Google Maps API [applications programming interface] is the most popular of Google APIs. There was a half-sentence mention of SketchUp. The Desktop SDK [software development kit] simple enough for 12-year-olds
Stuff we inthe media might have missed:
- Google Pack (not missed, just uninteresting)
- Google Maps for Mobile (don't have a device that it works with)...
... [Interrupted by an irritating phone call from a government bureaucrat wanting $$$ out of me. Leach!] ...
... seems to be talking about personalized Google Desktop with widgets that are accessible from any computer.
People working together -- an extension of the "We all now work for Google" concept, I suppose. Coop includes SubcribeLinks and Label URLs (e.g. Health) for refinements of search meaning.
(available on Google Labs week of May 15 if you have a Google account)
I find it is not innovative, because it is the copied from the Notes feature in Opera. Google Notebook can be made public and emailed to others. It is a way for Google to get specific data about information that's important to individuals.
"Where we innovate most is inside search." The live video did a poor job of showing Google screens, because the white background washed out nearly all text.
Lots of boring questions about advertising, like "How can Google ads work in tv?" In my thinking, TV ought to be irrelevant by now!
Q: Will real-time images of weather be possible on Google Earth?
A: It would be wonderful, but is unlikely to happen soon because of the number of satellites required.
Q: Will we be able to take a cell phone photo of a face and then search for it?
A: We are working to add more metatags to photos, because pictures are not searchable; they are browseable. Some early attempts are at facial recognition and recognizing object types.
Q: The definition of search seems to be changing with these new applications. Is search maturing? Are the new apps and protals bumping against MS?
A: Search is a living organism. Search is not mature yet; search will change for different devices and modes.
Q: What about competition with Microsoft over the next five years?
A: We will innovate as fast as we can. That's the way we're going to win.
Q: How will you make money from new products?
A: We don't want to make money at first. We want to see what you do with it; after we will monetize it.
Q: Will Google push IPTV [tv broadcasting over Internet]?
A: It would be great to get tv in any place you are, but a lot of work needs to be done. We're excited about it.
A: We are not limited by capital, but by how quickly we can spend capital -- the time it takes to hire people, to install new hardware.
Q: With respect to the free wireless Internet you are setting up in San Francisco, is Google becoming more a utility, a service provider that people come to rely on 24/7.
A: Our servers are up five-9s (99.999% of the time). Our partner Earthlink has experience in being a service provider.
Q: Do you have a plan to create a full API for Web services?
A: We debate this. No. But it could happen. We don't want to replicate what others have already done.
Q: Do you think that "do no evil" can withstand financial pressure?
A: Yes. But with increasing scrutiny, there will be some people who do not agree with us.
Q: No one believes they are evil. How can you guarantee you are not evil?
A: Any Internet company with a brand name has an incentive to not misuse private information.
Q: Google could be purchased in the future by another company.
A: Google has a dual-class share structure to make it hard to buy us.
Q: Do you consider your reliance on the cable companies [to provide high-speed Internet access to consumes] a threat to your future?
A: When you plug into the Internet, your packets go out to anywhere in the world. Restrictions to Internet access is harmful to innovation.
Q: What about Google storing user's files accessible from anywhere?
A: If you are a GMail user, you already do that. You can store a lot of documents there. We have requests for a less email-centric interface, but we have nothing to announce today. Our to-do list is 4,000 items long.
Q: Since there is finite ad revenue, how much more revenue can Google derive from ads?
A: Fortunately to-date, many of our advertisers will take as much inventory [places to locate ads] as we can provide at the current price.
Q: Lots of Google products are an alternative to the desktop. Where are you heading?
A: We don't really think about that. There's a number of things we use computers for. It's hard for us to predict which products will be adopted by users. We don't think about replacing, but how to make things better.
Q: What is your Clash of the Titans [Microsoft vs Google] story?
A: We worry about our competition, as any company should, but we don't focus on what they do (in general). There's lots of frustrations with using computers, and we want to make it better to use over the next ten years. Our cornerstone is solving new problems; there's room for more than one winner. Multiple strategies can co-exist.
Q: How many data centers do you have?
A: We have not released the details.