Was Steve Jobs's anti-Android rage all just for show? Was getting into social networking a good idea for Google? Is Google even really still a search company, or are they something else? Those are the questions that Google CEO Larry Page was talked about in an interview yesterday, and some of his answers might surprise you.
In the interview, published today by Bloomberg, Page talks a lot about where Google is as a a company, and where they're going. He noted that several of the "bets" Google has made in recent years - YouTube, Chrome, and Android, specifically - have paid off well for the company. Google+ in particular, he said, is off to "a really good start" in its first year.
When asked whether Google remained a "search company" like they once were, Page said that "basically our soul is the same." He said out that Google's basic mission is the same: "using large-scale... technology advancements to make people's lives better, to make community better." While that has expanded beyond "organizing the world' information and making it universally accessible and useful," Google is still the same company at heart as it was when it first started.
When asked whether Google's foray into social networking was a good move, Page's response is clear: "definitely." Google+, he says, allows people to use Google to search for their friends in a way that hasn't been possible before.
Near the end of the interview, talk turned to Apple and its late CEO, Steve Jobs. It seems that when Page took over as CEO of Google Jobs invited him over to chat. Despite his poor health, Jobs spent quite some time with Page, offering insights about running a company. Page also let slip a very interesting detail about the ongoing iOS-Android battle that has been raging for years. When the interviewer mentions Page and Jobs's differences over Android, Page said that "I think the Android differences were actually for show."
When pressed for clarification, Page said that the rivalry serves Apple's interest: "it's useful for them to feel like they have an obvious competitor and to rally around that." He also said that Google takes a different stance: "You don't want to be looking at your competitors. You want to be looking at what's possible and how to make the world better."
It's interesting - though not altogether surprising - to find that Apple isn't quite as anti-Android as it has sometimes seemed. The simple fact of the matter is that rivalries are good for business, no matter what business you're in. Peaceful coexistence is great, but it doesn't give consumers any reason to pick an iPhone over an Android phone.