August 12, 2004 5:18 PM PDT

Excerpts from Google co-founders' Playboy interview

These are excerpts from Playboy's interview with Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page in the magazine's September issue. Did the two step over the line? Share your opinion.

On whether Google considering selling out:
Larry Page "No. We think we're an important company, and we're dedicated to doing this over the long term. We like being independent." -- Larry Page

On whether Google might be pressured to commercialize its "objective" search results after the IPO:
"It doesn't make sense. Why don't you, as a magazine, accept payments for your articles? Why are advertisements clearly separate?" -- Sergey Brin

On how Google will be used in the future:
"Probably in many new ways. We're already experimenting with some. You can call a phone number and say what you want to search for, and it will be pulled up. At this stage, it's obviously just a toy, but it helps us understand how to develop future products." -- Brin

On the dot-com bust:
"A lot of those companies were around for less than a year or two before they went public. We've been around for five. We're at a pretty significant scale, too. We have more than 150,000 advertisers and a lot of salespeople. Millions of people use Google. It's a completely different thing." -- Page

On Gmail, Google's free Web-based e-mail service that scans messages to display related ads:
Sergey Brin "All we're doing is showing ads. It's automated. No one is looking, so I don't think it's a privacy issue. To me, if it's a choice between big, intrusive ads and our smaller ones, it's a pretty obvious choice. I've used Gmail for a while, and I like having the ads." -- Brin

On Google as a portal:
"We built a business on the opposite message. We want you to come to Google and quickly find what you want. Then we're happy to send you to other sites. In fact, that's the point. The portal strategy tries to own all the information." -- Page

On China blocking Google:
"China actually shut us down a couple of times. There was enough popular demand in China for our services--information, commerce and so forth--that the government re-enabled us...To be fair to China, it never made any explicit demands regarding censoring material. That's not to say I'm happy about the policies of other portals that have established a presence there." -- Brin

On Google's power:
"People were checking out who they were dating by Googling them. I think it's a tremendous responsibility. If you think everybody is relying on us for information, you understand the responsibility. The amazing thing is that we're part of people's daily lives, like brushing their teeth." -- Page

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What do I have to gain as a Google user?
I like the way Google was, they are a profitable company and definately not broken. Without the need to answer to stockholders, the good folks at Google seem to know exactly how to run the company.

The focus at google seems to be to create products that are uselul to people, with designing a non-intrusive way to make money from those ideas only the afterthought.

Google going public worries me that they will become too focused on "growth" areas and revenue, just like every other public company.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
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