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Hello, Larry! Google's Page on negativity, laws, and competitors

TechHive Staff | May 17, 2013
Google CEO Larry Page held court at the end of the Google I/O keynote and even answered questions. Here's a complete transcript.

So you want to think about the base thing, whatever it is. Obviously working on smartphones a lot, they're relatively expensive now. With Nexus 4, we tried to improve that a bit, but if you look at the raw cost of a smartphone, I guess it's mostly glass and silicon. Tiny bit of silicon, a little bit of fiberglass. I don't know, the raw materials cost of that is probably like a dollar or something like that. I think glass is 50 cents a pound or something like that. Metals are 20 cents a pound. Phones don't weigh very much, right? And silicon is very, very cheap.

So I think when I see people in industries like who are making things, I ask this question: How far are you off the raw materials cost? And they never know the answer to that question. So I think, kind of as an engineer, as a technologist, trying to go to first principles and say, what is the real issue? What is the real issue around our power grids? Or what's the real issue around manufacturing or whatever it is. I think people usually don't answer those questions, and as a result, most of the work that's done is very incremental. And because of that, we don't make the progress we need to.

With that said, I mean it's very hard, if you're going to make a smart phone for a dollar. One dollar, that's obviously almost impossible to do. But I think, you know, if you took a 50 year time frame or something like that, if you took a longer view, you'd probably start to make the investments you needed to. And along the way, you'd probably figure out how to make money. So I just kind of encourage non-incremental thinking and a real, deep understanding of whatever you're doing. That's what I try to do.

[Question about the future of Android. With Oracle in control of Java from 7 forward, how does Google advance Android when one of the core technical underpinnings is not in its control.]

Yeah, I mean, I think we've had a difficult relationship with Oracle. Including having to appear in court as a result of it. So I think, again I think we'd like to have a cooperative relationship with them, that hasn't seemed possible. And I think, again, money is probably more important to them than having any kind of collaboration or things like that. So I think that's been very difficult. I think we'll get through that. And I think obviously Android's very, very important to the Java ecosystem. And so we'll get through that just fine. Just not in an ideal way.


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