In a snapshot of the competing pressures on Google as a large and lucrative Internet business whose revenue nevertheless comes primarily from its original search business, CEO Larry Page emphasized the importance of the big bets on radical innovation for the future of the company while also highlighting the company’s quieter play for the un-sexy enterprise side of the industry.
Page defined his role on a quarterly call with investors as encouraging the company to invest in bold, seemingly “speculative products.”
“Companies can get stuck working on the same things with just a few minor tweaks. A big part of my job is to get people focused on things that are not just incremental,” Page said.
Although he indicated there was no change in the company’s philosophy of investing 80 percent of its resources on core products, Page said that the company shouldn’t shy away from investing too much in its farther afield products, like self-driving cars and Google Glass.
“The reality is it’s difficult to invest significant amounts in those things because it’s difficult to get people to do those things,” Page said.
Andy Rubin, who recently stepped down as the head of Android, will reportedly lead a new moon shot effort, but Page declined on the call to “make news” by providing more details.
Yet, even as Page’s rhetoric beat the drum of a company driving radical technological changes, Page and fellow executives also noted recent successes in some of the more buttoned-up areas of the technology industry.
Nearly 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies now use some of Google’s subscription-based cloud hosting and application services, the company said.
Executives also continued to describe YouTube as a major anchor of online advertising. The site has seen a 50 percent jump in viewer numbers over a year ago, said Nikesh Arora, Google’s chief business officer.
Page declined to provide an update on how many Knowledge Graph entries the company has developed, a metric that until recently it loved to tout.