Quoted: Larry Page on worrying vs. seeing the possibilities

“We get so worried about these things that we don’t get the benefits.”

Larry Page, CEO of Google, on the negative reactions that usually follow the introduction of new technology. After the Google’s I/O developers conference keynote Wednesday, Page told the New York Times’ Farhad Manjoo that if health-care data were mined, “we’d probably save 100,000 lives next year.” And Sundar Pichai, Google’s head of the Android and Chrome operating systems, said of Google’s big push to have Android incorporated into everything from cars to watches: “When we connect all these things, you can truly start assisting people in a more meaningful way.”

Some skeptics’ concerns about new technology go hand in hand with worries about Google’s growing power. One of a couple of protesters who interrupted the I/O announcements in San Francisco yesterday reportedly said: “You all work for a totalitarian company that builds robots that kill people.”

On privacy, David Price writes for Macworld UK (with the caveat that he’s an Apple fan) that Google is a bigger threat than Apple because Google barely charges for its offerings and sells its users’ data, while Apple sells its products and isn’t dependent on ad revenue. In addition, he says Apple doesn’t have enough data on its users: “Apple’s tentacles don’t reach far enough to be the same threat to user privacy that Google can be.” However, Apple earlier this month announced health and home software — which can track user data. Will Apple’s tracking be less invasive than Google’s tracking? Price thinks so, saying Apple respects people’s privacy.

Is Google getting a bum rap? When your famous company mantra is “don’t be evil,” (and you’re gargantuan) it’s probably inevitable. It can lead to quizzes like: “Which is more evil, Google or Apple?” — and, as Page says, “we get so worried.”


Photo of Larry Page by Paul Sakuma/Associated Press archives


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  • fran farrell

    Repeating the slander “sells user data” does not make it true. There is a two sided optimization in any market. Users get search-speed that reduces waste time (valuable to those who won’t live forever) purveyors of potentially useful stuff get ranked purchasing proclivities that they can bid against other purveyors for your attention.

    Those fearing that the NSA or Chinese Army is waiting to invert the proclivity list and associate it with their name have inflated self importance. To them I say “don’t be prideful”.