Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Google CEO Larry Page: Can’t We All Say Kumbaya?

When it started at universities, the Internet was designed to be interoperable. But now that it’s controlled by companies, it’s a shame that their services don’t work together.

That’s the position of Google CEO Larry Page, as articulated when he was asked about competition with Apple, Amazon and others by Fortune’s Miguel Helft for an upcoming cover story.

“It would be nice if everybody would get along better and the users didn’t suffer as a result of other people’s activities,” Page said. Sometimes, he added, Google is not “allowed” to make its products available as widely as it would want.

Sure, Larry, it would indeed be nice. Though obviously, Google in particular would benefit because its search engine works best when it can access and index everything.

Still, Google has been on the defensive lately in situations like the smartphone patent war and after the iPhone map app-endectomy.

And interoperability in tech is not exactly on the rise these days. Even the younger companies — including Instagram and Twitter — have gotten in on the hostilities.

Meanwhile, when asked about antitrust in search competition — something regulators in the U.S. and Europe are seriously considering — Page admitted to Helft that it was “complicated.”

Page asserted that vertical search companies aren’t really Google competitors because they don’t offer the whole package — say, weather, airline tickets, hotel reservations, and logistics combined all together for searchers who are planning a vacation.

“I think for us our strength comes from working with everybody, but we also need to make sure we’re serving our end users with a really great experience and that we provide that detailed information to people. Sometimes those things will be complicated.”

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik