Google's Larry Page has a lot to say, including about self-driving cars

Google’s Larry Page is talking again, literally, and covering a lot of ground with Fortune’s Miguel Helft while doing it.

Page had a lot of CEOly things to say about the future of Google (he sees it growing much, much bigger) about his role as CEO (go deep, form a team, get out of the way — at least for awhile), about the company’s scuffles with Apple (he doesn’t think about other companies as competitors. That’s a distraction).

He also talked about where search is (or should be headed):

“The perfect search engine would really understand whatever your need is.”

Sounds like the perfect spouse to me.

But I’ve got to say, the part of Page’s chat that I liked best is the part that will be noticed least: His brief bit on the self-driving car. Helft asked him what changes might come about in the self-driving era. Would we no longer have streetlights? (Given city budgets these, plenty of urban-dwellers are ahead of the curve on that one.)

“It’s very hard to predict entirely,” Page said. (Maybe he should consult Siri. Oh wait.) But he did talk about how auto-piloted autos might solve one bane of our existence: parking. And in Google’s case, paying to build the parking lots where Googlers park. (The quotes for adding spots come in at $40,000 each, Page said.)

Think for example, Page said, of a new driving-to-work scenario.

“When you think about your experience, the car can drop you at the front door to the building you work at and then it goes and parks itself. Whenever you need it, your phone notices that you’re walking out of the building, and your car’s there immediately by the time you get downstairs.”

For me, such a world would be heaven. I hate my car. The more time we can spend away from each other the better. I equate my time in my car with stress and being surrounded by idiot drivers. I equate it with trying to get where I’m going without being killed, only to find there is no where to park once I get there.

Don’t even get me started on the cost of gas, insurance, repairs etc.

And so if my little car wants to drop me off and go on its merry way, all the better.  Of course, if the self-driving car means employers no longer have to build parking spaces, it does raise the question of exactly where our little cars will drive to park themselves.

Then again, in the world of self-driving cars, that’s my car’s problem, not mine.

(Photo: courtesy of Google)

Mike Cassidy Mike Cassidy (173 Posts)

I write about the culture of Silicon Valley for the San Jose Mercury News.