SAN FRANCISCO---Google CEO Larry Page said that technology isn't a zero sum game and that the focus needs to be on "building great things that don't exist." He advocated that technology leaders "do something crazy" and push boundaries. "Every time we have done something crazy we've pushed boundaries," he said.
Page, who has had voice troubles, took the Google I/O stage to a warm reception. Page's appearance came one day after describing his health maladies via Google Plus. Page took a high road, talked technology advancements and dinged rivals in places for lack of open standards.
For instance, Page said he was disappointed that Microsoft decided to meld Google's instant messaging protocols and didn't reciprocate. "I'm sad the Web isn't advancing as fast as it should be" due to interoperability and lack of open standards, he said.
Page's big picture technology talk resonated with developers and elevated his profile above the fray, but included a fair share of disses for rivals. One big theme from Page: Technology needs to get out of the way and become an enabler to make life easier.
"Let's get computers out of the way," said Page. He pointed to Google Maps and noted that it "got a lot of things out of the way."
"The opportunities ahead are tremendous," said Page. "We're only at one percent of what's possible. Despite the faster change in the industry we're still moving slow relative to the opportunities we have. We should be building great things that don't exist."
Page added that creating the future isn't a zero sum game and the industry is too focused on battles between vendors. From there, Page opened up the floor to questions from the audience. But Page started out by specifying, "One question per person please. We have 6,000 people."
Many of Page's responses to the questions followed a similar pattern: promoting the need to innovate and defended the company against naysayers questioning new releases.
On other themes:
- Regarding Google Glass, Page said the basic use cases are for photography for him and communcations and navigation could be amazing. However, Glass and its ecosystem will take time to develop. Page sounded like an executive who wasn't going to rush Glass.
- Regarding Android, Page said Google has had a rough relationship with Oracle. "Money is more important to them than any kind of collaboration. That has been very difficult," said Page. "Android is important to the Java ecosystem and we'll get through that. Just not in an ideal way."
- Page stressed the need for education, describing we need "more kids falling in love with math and science" and more people graduating with engineering degrees.
- Google wants its software to understand deeply and organize information and people to solve the world's problems.
Page said that the industry needs to add more female developers. "The only answer is that we have to start early and get more young girls and women excited about technology," said Page. "We're trying to help out anyway we can."
Rachel King contributed to this report.