Google CEO Page: 'We're only at one percent of what's possible'

Google CEO Page: 'We're only at one percent of what's possible'

Summary: "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," said Page.


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.

More from Google I/O: I/O 2013: Google's location APIs likely to fuel Google Glass apps | Samsung Galaxy S4 gets Android Nexus treatment for $649 | I/O 2013: Google Plus getting 41 updates | Google aims to deliver tablets to all schools with new education initiative | Google gives digital music another look with Play Music All-Access | Google developer tool releases include new Maps, Games, Google+ APIs | Google I/O by the numbers: 900 million Android activations | Google to use open-source sensors to monitor I/O conference | Techmeme roundup |CNET roundup

Topics: Google, Tech Industry

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  • Google CEO Page: 'We're only at one percent of what's possible'

    Google has been in existence for 15 years and they are only capable of doing 1% of what they should. They need to take away the office toys from their employees and actually get them to do some real work then maybe they can raise that number to 2%. I would not be putting my money at Google at this point after they just made such a statement.
    • They are big enough

      Maybe that 2nd percent should go to someone new.
    • How are you handling ......

      the grade 3 curriculum. Must be quite a challenge for you.
    • Just His Fat Head Talking Out His Ass

      Egotistical dickwad.
    • It was a stupid thing to say and it's a stupid thing for a blog post to

      fixate on. Were obviously not even at 1% of 1% of 1% and wont be in pages lifetime.
      Johnny Vegas
  • Wouldn't saying that they are at 1% mean that Google thinks there's a cap

    to what is achievable? That doesn't sound very forward thinking.
    • Huh?

      He is saying they have barely scratched the surface of what technology can do for us. He is a visionary. Visionary thinking is clearly not a strength of yours.

      And Ballmer? He is a bully and a salesman. No wonder MS is floundering, just reacting to what companies like Apple and Google are doing. It is quite a pathetic thing to behold.
      • Hm.

        Why bring Microsoft into a conversation about Google? I doubt it's really relevant at all.
        • Because ....

          I believe Challenger R/T is a MS shill. When shills attack other platforms/companies and their representatives, bringing the shill's "pet" into the conversation is pretty fair game.
          • Maybe He Has His Own Opinion?

            When someone does not agree with you they are a shill?

            It appears by the Votes vs. Flags, I am not the only one that agrees with Challenger R/T on this one.

            I am a fan of neither Google, MS, or Apple. although I believe Google has taken the title of Evil Empire from the long time reigning MS.

            You are free to state your opinion but I for one am sick and tired of reading your comments just putting down others.

            We are responsible for what we say, NOT for what YOU understand.

            Great People talk about Ideas
            Average People talk about Things
            Small People Talk about Other People.

            Grow up. Please, I do not appreciate having to stoop to your small level.
          • While I appreciate the sentiment...

            I just skip over posts by the Usual Suspects. Replying to them just gives them the attention they so desperately crave.
        • I mean you took a swipe albeit not a big one

          at his alter... he just pad big bucks for the Google knee pads.
  • Maybe

    if they had announced or released a new Nexus 7 with the features people want, they wouldn't be stuck at 1%.
  • Is he running for President?

    The bullet points look like campaign rhetoric to me. I would prefer they spend some engineering time making their core products more reliable. Every generation has used its technology to solve the problems of their time, this generation will be no different.
    • Page is One of Obama's "Billionaire Buddies"

      according to Forbes.
  • Parasite.

    Living on others hard work, Stealing java and open source projects is only one percent possibility. Shame on you Larry P.
    • All companies iterate on the work of others

      Please don't act like it is otherwise.
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Let's see....

    If Google can do 1% of everything possible in 10 years.. in just 990 years they'll have done EVERYTHING possible (or less if more people pitch in).

    Hm.. that's actually kind of depressing...

    Fortunately, that 1% number assumes they can figure how big everything possible is.. and anyone who thinks they can predict or calculate that is probably a douche.
  • Just what we need...

    ...another billionaire talking about the 1 percent. LOL
  • So, Google's spying and collecting of personal data, for their own

    enrichment, is just at 1%. That's scary to say that they have a lot more to do to get 100%.

    If the 1% is so intrusive and damaging, imagine how destructive they'll be with 2% or 5% or more. It's beyond anyone's imagination what will happen when they attain 100% of their objectives.

    Google: the biggest stalker in the history of the world.