Google reflects on Steve Jobs' passing

While Google changes its homepage to pay tribute to the late Steve Jobs, cofounders Sergei Brin and Larry Page offer some reflections on what the Apple CEO meant to them.

Googles homepage, retrieved October 6th at 1:32 AM EDT

Google's homepage, as of October 6th, 2011 at 1:32 AM EDT

Despite their continual clashes in the smartphone and tablet arenas, it's never really been in doubt that Google and Apple have anything but mutual respect for each other. That's why it's unsurprising - and touching - when Google takes the time to commemorate the October 5th passing of Steve Jobs, the man who essentially created the markets the two companies now compete in.

Google co-founders Sergei Brin and (now-CEO) Larry Page each made a rare public Google+ post sharing their short reflections on Jobs' life and legacy with hundreds of thousands of social networkers.

In his post, Page highlighted Jobs' focus on the human side of the technology equation:

I am very, very sad to hear the news about Steve. He was a great man with incredible achievements and amazing brilliance. He always seemed to be able to say in very few words what you actually should have been thinking before you thought it. His focus on the user experience above all else has always been an inspiration to me. He was very kind to reach out to me as I became CEO of Google and spend time offering his advice and knowledge even though he was not at all well. My thoughts and Google's are with his family and the whole Apple family.

Meanwhile, Brin gave Jobs his due as a key thought leader:

From the earliest days of Google, whenever Larry and I sought inspiration for vision and leadership, we needed to look no farther than Cupertino. Steve, your passion for excellence is felt by anyone who has ever touched an Apple product (including the macbook I am writing this on right now). And I have witnessed it in person the few times we have met.

On behalf of all of us at Google and more broadly in technology, you will be missed very much. My condolences to family, friends, and colleagues at Apple.

And in true Google tradition, the search engine's homepage does in fact currently mark the loss of Jobs with a typically tasteful, understated tribute that consists entirely of his name, year of birth, and year of death (as seen in the screenshot to the above right). Clicking his name leads to, which is currently displaying its own Steve Jobs memorial.

This also seems like an appropriate time to remind everybody of the Google Icon Ambulance, a story which originally circulated when Jobs stepped down as Apple's CEO, but serves just as well as a eulogy for the perfection-obsessed visionary.