Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Larry Page’s Dream for the Google Logo

Larry Page has a goal: “Technology should really do the hard work, and that’s so people can get on with living” was the thesis of remarks the Google CEO made last week at the company’s Zeitgeist Americas partner conference.

One of the more specific examples Page gave later in a Q&A was his own pet project to personalize the Google logo. Google for years has swapped out its own logo with “Doodles” commemorating special occasions and famous people’s birthdays. It doesn’t change all the time — not as much as Yahoo’s 30-days-of-30-logos stunt — but pretty regularly.

Page wants more. He wants personalized, localized, real-time Google logos. He wants weather widgets. “I have this idea which I’ve been trying to get our guys to do forever,” he said at Zeitgeist.

“I wanted the Google logo to change based on the weather. I wanted to simulate what would happen in the future to your house. I grew up in Michigan, there’s ice and snow, so I wanted the ice and snow to be modeled properly, so on the north side of the logo, exactly what would happen to your house. Because in Michigan that’s important — you can die in an ice storm or something like that. And I think that would be beautiful to mix technology and design.”

It was one of the more offbeat remarks in a session that included Page’s thoughts on the pace of technological change, diversity in the technology industry and helping kids learn to read.

One of the more substantive bits was when Page explained more about why he has been culling Google products over the past couple years. “My thinking about this has evolved quite a bit,” he said. “There can’t be 100 different ways that you share something, or that identity is represented. So that requires that we think carefully, when we make new products, about how they all interact together. And that limits the amount of different things we can do. We can’t do 1,000 different things, because then all 1,000 would have to talk to each other, and there’d be 1,000-squared interactions, which would be difficult.”

On the flip side, Page said this kind of integrated thinking makes projects like self-driving cars and fiber Internet connections more possible from a management point of view, because they’re not related to “the core Internet computing experience” that Google wants to provide.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald