Google CEO Larry Page covers a lot of ground in a new interview with Wired's Steven Levy, but we were struck most by his poke at Facebook:
"Yeah, they're a company that's strong in that space," he says. "But they're also doing a really bad job on their products. For us to succeed, is it necessary for some other company to fail? No. We're actually doing something different."
Sadly, Page doesn't elaborate on what products he's not impressed with. The interview was conducted before this week's introduction of Graph Search, in which Facebook began what may well be an attempt to encroach on Google's core business.
In any case, Page says Google's social-networking effort, Google+, still has plenty of room to grow, noting accurately that search too was a crowded space when Google got into that market.
"I think it's outrageous to say that there's only space for one company in these areas," he told Levy. "When we started with search, everyone said, 'You guys are gonna fail, there's already five search companies.' We said, 'We are a search company, but we're doing something different.' That's how I see all these areas."
If nothing else, Page's comments put added pressure on the Google+ team to deliver some big wins in 2013. It's easy to call your competitors' products bad, but it raises expectations for your own. And with Google+ still struggling to escape punch line status, now might not be the best time to invite heightened scrutiny.