There is no arguing that Google is a unique company, that like Apple, pushes the bar time to time. Although a lot of people like to point fingers to how Android handset blatantly rip off the iPhone, this is to do with Androids manufactures not the operating system itself. Google has most certainly evolved from a software only company, to a company that actually invests in hardware development and ambitious projects.
Google’s Larry Page was recently interviewed by Wired and in this interview you will learn some interesting things about Google’s culture and core values. I am not going to copy and paste the entire interview for you to read, rather bring up a few key points that I think are worth relaying. It is indeed an interview worth reading through however, so if you get the time do check it out.
We all know that Apple’s decision to drop Google Maps in iOS 6 in favor of their own mapping platform was a big decision to make, especially because their own platform is inaccurate. Despite this however, Google came to the rescue and released an official Google Maps app that was better than anyone could have expected. Page commented “we’ve been working on Maps for a long time, and it’s nice to see people realize that we’ve put a lot of effort and investment into it. That’s clearly more appreciated now.”
It indeed was, so much so that Google Maps hit the 10 million download mark in less than 48 hours after being released.
Page didn’t just discuss typical matters however, the conversation quickly changed to Google’s “X” division that works on moon shot projects such as self driving cars.
You know, we always have these debates: We have all this money, we have all these people, why aren’t we doing more stuff? You may say that Apple only does a very, very small number of things, and that’s working pretty well for them. But I find that unsatisfying. I feel like there are all these opportunities in the world to use technology to make people’s lives better. At Google we’re attacking maybe 0.1 percent of that space. And all the tech companies combined are only at like 1 percent. That means there’s 99 percent virgin territory. Investors always worry, “Oh, you guys are going to spend too much money on these crazy things.” But those are now the things they’re most excited about—YouTube, Chrome, Android. If you’re not doing some things that are crazy, then you’re doing the wrong things.
You can indeed see how Google is not afraid of failure by how the company continues to research and develop projects such as Google Glass. Despite there being no real market for such a product yet. This is because Google hopes to make one. As for Page’s jab at Apple it is indeed true, but I know for one Apple isn’t a company that doesn’t participate in research and development of future technologies whatsoever, rather it is just that Apple doesn’t make their research public. If Apple was going to release a self driving car, they would just do it, they wouldn’t announce they were working on it until it’s release. Would Apple ever do such a thing though? Likely not, although it is impossible to say Apple is not an innovative company, the kinds of innovations Apple does are on a lesser scale in the grand scheme of things.
Take this as an example. Google is currently working on a secret project with Ray Kurzweil who is a very well known futurist and artificial intelligence expert. The company recently appointed him director of engineering. What will Kurzweil be doing at Google? Well, in an interview with Singularity Hub he reveals a lot of details “The project I plan to do is focused on natural language understanding although it may have other applications. We want to give computers the ability to understand the language that they’re reading,” he said. In essence Google wants to be able to understand at a deep level what you’re interested in.
There is definitely going to be some exciting times ahead and at the moment Google seems to be at the forefront of innovation, while still being able to make a business out of it. Something that is absolutely essential says Page, “I wanted to be an inventor. Then I realized that there’s a lot of sad stories about inventors like Nikola Tesla, amazing people who didn’t have much impact, because they never turned their inventions into businesses.”
There is no question that both Apple and Google handle things very differently. While Apple likes to hide in the shadows until the right moment, Google comes out guns blazing without fearing defeat. Do you prefer Apple or Google’s approach to technology? Let us know in the comments section below.