January 6, 2006 8:38 PM PST

Cars and stars as Google's Page takes the stage

LAS VEGAS--Google co-founder Larry Page shared his keynote stage at the Consumer Electronics Show on Friday with comedian Robin Williams, NBA star Kenny Smith and a robotic car.

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Larry Page onstage
Google co-founder talks about Google's Video Store and more.

Google wasn't the only company to trot out the celebrities. This final major speech of the three-day confab followed appearances by Tom Hanks, during the Sony keynote Thursday, and Tom Cruise and Ellen DeGeneres, during the Yahoo keynote Friday.

But Page made the week's most dramatic entrance: Wearing a long white lab coat, jeans and sneakers, he rode onstage standing on the back bumper of Stanley, the driverless, robotic car that triumphed in last year's DARPA Grand Challenge in the Mojave Desert. Stanley was sponsored by Stanford University, where Page met fellow Google founder Sergey Brin as a PhD student.

After dismounting, Page wowed the audience with a demonstration movie of Google Earth that featured dizzying pans across the globe, and he said Google is working with Volkswagen on a prototype of Google Earth for car dashboards.

Page also unveiled Google Fast Food, an in-car system that directs vehicles to the nearest fast food restaurant when an in-dash button is pushed. But that was actually a bit of humor, which was followed by an announcement that Google has made a version of the search engine available for the BlackBerry PDA.

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Joined by CBS chief Leslie Moonves, Page cut the ribbon on the Google Video Store, which will let people rent or buy downloadable videos online, including contemporary and classic CBS TV fare. Google Pack, a free service that bundles and automatically installs and maintains Google software and other programs, including Firefox and Adobe Reader, was the next product to take a bow.

However, the highlight of the event was Williams' improvisation and jokes. He came onstage wearing a Google-colored wire helmet, a possible allusion to his robot role in the movie "Bicentennial Man," and proceeded to riff and free associate in response to technical terms Page presented. He sped up his speech in response to the word "download" and described "firewall" as a "condom for your computer."

Page, humble and soft-spoken, smiled boyishly alongside Williams and asked the comedian to help moderate the audience question-and-answer session at the end. When Page was asked a question about language translation on the Web, Williams quipped, "We have English-to-English translation for the president, and it's not working very well."

Earlier, Page discussed what he said was a "personal passion of his"--the standardization of basic computer products. Why can't a USB port be used to monitor a front door, and a Bluetooth cell phone be used to start a car, he asked. Any wire should be able to be used for multiple purposes, such as running software, charging devices and running other devices, and adapters should work with everything, he said.

"Why is there no standard for keypads and screens? I want to be able to buy a touch screen" to plug into a computer anywhere that turns it into an alarm clock or stereo control, he said. "I'm amazed we don't have devices like these, and the reason we don't is because we lack standards."

In a question-and-answer session with journalists after the keynote, Page said Google doesn't have immediate plans to solve these problems and that he complained about the issue merely to get people talking about it.

Google was rumored to have been planning to announce a Google PC that would serve as an Internet gateway linking various devices in the home. The company denied the reports earlier in the week, and executives continued to do so during questions on Friday, saying it has partners to do that.

5 comments

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fun times..
i think id like to see a video of the event.. sounds pretty entertaining actually..

as for Google Pack .. ehhh.. no dont think ill be downloading that anytime soon (ever). it surprisingly includes some disgusting software such as Norton antivirus (horrible) .. and Realplayer (completely clogs up computer).

of course it also has good bundles like FIREFOX, trillian, adaware and all of google's products..
Posted by assman (1101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
"road" onstage?
I believe you meant "rode"?

This really makes you look silly.
Posted by calpundit (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
STANLEY RUNS OVER CHARLES DEMERJIAN JAN '06.
ON THEIR WEBSITE AT WWW.THEINQUIRER.NET YOU CAN FIND ARTICLE WITH ACTUAL PHOTOS' OF CHARLIE BOUNCING OFF FRONT END OF STANLEY & THEN LANDING FACE DOWN UNDERNEATH FRONT END OF STANLEY. ISN'T THAT LITTLE HARD UP PAGE?


Charlie run over by Intel car

Consumer Electronics Show 2006


By Mike Magee in Las Vegas: Thursday 05 January 2006, 17:07

[Blocked Ads][Blocked Ads]IT'S A DANGEROUS life being a hack. But it's an even more dangerous life if you're a member of the INQUIRER breed of hackery.
As our Charlie Demerjian found out when he got caught between a rock and a hard place here at CES. The first picture shows the Intel car winging him.



But worse was to come. Charlie found himself under the Intel wheels after he'd been winged. What a wicked, wicked world.



I HOPE CHARLIES TYPING FINGER IS UNHARMED, IF I WHERE CHARLIE I'D SUE INTEL & GOOGLE FOR EVERYTHING THEY GOT.SIGNED:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.
Posted by thomasxstewart (6 comments )
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Once again they blow the world away!
These guys are unstoppable!
Posted by ccisat1dxj (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Google Pack
It's not a true software bundle. You can pick and choose what you'd like to download. You don't have to have Norton, RealPlayer or any other piece of it you don't want.

Quite nice actually.
Posted by Enlanra (3 comments )
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