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Tag: Larry Page

The Larry Page link to Google is broken

Saturday, 15 September, 2018

These are the best of times and the worst of times for the world’s predominant search engine. The best of times because the Alphabet money well continues to gush; the worst of times because the Google’s public image has been severely tarnished and its ethics have been questioned as never before. For example, this week saw the publication of that Breitbart video showing top executives gathering for a public grief session following the defeat of their US presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. Cultish and cringeworthy, this exercise in liberal groupthink should settle any remaining doubts about the bias that’s built into Google’s mindset.

That mindset also raises very disturbing questions about what Google is up to in China, where it’s said to be tinkering with a search engine that would comply with the Chinese authorities’ rigid censorship demands. Don’t be evil, and all that. Remember?

It’s in these contexts, then, that Google’s refusal to send one of its leaders to Washington earlier this month for Senate hearing on “Foreign Influence Operations’ Use of Social Media Platforms” becomes serious. Twitter sent CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook sent COO Sheryl Sandberg, but the search engine turned down the Senate committee’s requests for Google CEO Sundar Pichai or Alphabet CEO Larry Page to appear. Instead, there was an empty chair.

“In Page’s absence at the Senate hearing, louder voices filled the void, from senators criticizing Google for its dealings with China to pundits decrying Page as unpatriotic. McNamee, the early investor who’s since advocated for the company’s breakup, says Page and Pichai shirked their civic duty by skipping the hearing. ‘This is Corporate Governance 101,’ he says. ‘You’ve been invited to speak in front of a Senate hearing to protect our democracy, and your response is, ‘We’re too important to go’?”

So write Mark Bergen and Austin Carr in Businessweek, and they ask Where in the World Is Larry Page? Answer:

“It’s not just Washington. Even in Silicon Valley, people have started wondering: Where’s Larry? Page has long been reclusive, a computer scientist who pondered technical problems away from the public eye, preferring to chase moonshots over magazine covers. Unlike founder-CEO peers (Mark Zuckerberg comes to mind), he hasn’t presented at product launches or on earnings calls since 2013, and he hasn’t done press since 2015. He leaves day-to-day decisions to Pichai and a handful of advisers. But a slew of interviews in recent months with colleagues and confidants, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were worried about retribution from Alphabet, describe Page as an executive who’s more withdrawn than ever, bordering on emeritus, invisible to wide swaths of the company. Supporters contend he’s still engaged, but his immersion in the technology solutions of tomorrow has distracted him from the problems Google faces today.”

Larry Page has checked out and that’s not good news for Google. This Businessweek cover brilliantly captures his 404 status.

Businessweek


Tech elite sent to Trump Tower

Tuesday, 13 December, 2016 0 Comments

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos will be there, as will Apple CEO Tim Cook, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Oracle co-CEO Safra Catz and technology investor Peter Thiel. Making up the list is Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, CEO and chairman of Google parent Alphabet, respectively. We’re talking about the meeting between President-elect Donald Trump and tech-industry executives today in New York.

Apart from Thiel, the Silicon Valley elite backed Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, so sackcloth, ashes and humble pie will be handed out to them by liveried footmen as they trudge up the steps of Trump Tower.

Like most journalists, Kara Swisher of Recode is a certified Trump hater, and the headline on her piece ticks all the bias boxes: “As Trumplethinskin lets down his hair for tech, shame on Silicon Valley for climbing the Tower in silence.” Here’s how she imagines the thoughts of the Valley elites upon being summoned to Manhattan:

“Fuckfuckfuck — now I have to become a reality show star in a new episode of ‘The Apprentice: Nerd Edition,’ bowing and scraping to that luddite Trump, who will probably simultaneously berate us in person and bully us on Twitter later with a lot of poop emoticons. Even worse, I have to act like Thiel is a genius, which he kind of is for backing a man who called serious and sophisticated hacking incursions by sovereign nations ‘the cyber’ and said ‘somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds’ — did he mean the bed or the hacker? I have no idea still — could have pulled it off.”

As regards tech, Trump has come down hard on issues considered vital to the industry’s interests, including trade and immigration. The Trump administration will possibly restrict the number of workers who enter the US with an H-1B visa — a type used by many tech employees. Incidentally, that’s the visa Donald Trump’s wife Melania received in 1996 to legally work in the US.

Etymology note: The expression “sent to the Tower” traditionally meant being imprisoned or punished in the Tower of London.


Paging Mr Page

Thursday, 28 January, 2016 0 Comments

In total, I have encountered Mr. Page three times for a total of five minutes or so. Once was at an off-the-record gathering where nothing interesting happened, and another was at a press event where he politely shook my hand before heading in another direction.

The other time, I was at Google’s Mountain View campus, talking to an executive, when Mr. Page rode up on his bike to say hello to his employee. I introduced myself as a New York Times reporter and he immediately pedaled away.

“That went well,” the executive said.

So writes Conor Dougherty, who covers Google for the New York Times. He’s been seeking an interview with Larry Page since August 2014 and the result is “Try to Interview Google’s Co-Founder. It’s Emasculating.” And it’s revealing.


Alphabet: abc.xyz

Tuesday, 11 August, 2015 0 Comments

“We liked the name Alphabet because it means a collection of letters that represent language, one of humanity’s most important innovations, and is the core of how we index with Google search!” Larry Page, CEO of Alphabet, the new Google “Operating Structure”.

The domain name abc.xyz is clever as it indicates that Alphabet will cover everything from A to Z. And the alphabet offers endless food for Alphabet wordplay as Jean-Marie G. Le Clézio illustrates in Mondo et autres histoires. Snippet:

“At the same time, he spoke to Mondo about everything there was in the letters, about everything you could see in them when you looked and when you listened. He spoke about A, which is like a big fly with its wings pulled back; about B, which is funny, with its two tummies; or C and D, which are like the moon, a crescent moon or a half-full moon; and then there was O, which was the full moon in the black sky. H is high, a ladder to climb up trees or to reach the roofs of houses; E and F look like a rake and a shovel; and G is like a fat man sitting in an armchair. I dances on tiptoes, with a little head popping up each time it bounces, whereas J likes to swing. K is broken like an old man, R takes big strides like a soldier, and Y stands tall, its arms up in the air, and it shouts: help! L is a tree on the river’s edge, M is a mountain, N is for names, and people waving their hands, P is asleep on one paw, and Q is sitting on its tail; S is always a snake, Z is always a bolt of lightning, T is beautiful, like the mast on a ship, U is like a vase, V and W are birds, birds in flight; and X is a cross to help you remember.”


Google’s toothbrush test in Brazil

Tuesday, 17 June, 2014 0 Comments

When Larry Page returned to being Google’s CEO in 2011, he said he wanted to develop more services that people would use at least twice a day, like a toothbrush. Now that football is in the air, so to speak, the search engine giant has launched its Project Loon balloons in Northeast Brazil to connect an isolated school, Linoca Gayoso, to the internet for the first time. Interestingly, the Loon trial is using LTE technologies, which allow Google’s stratospheric balloons to link directly to smartphones and tablets.

It’s all to play for.


Google on Life and Death

Monday, 23 September, 2013 1 Comment

“One of the things I thought was amazing is that if you solve cancer, you’d add about three years to people’s average life expectancy. We think of solving cancer as this huge thing that’ll totally change the world, but when you really take a step back and look at it, yeah, there are many, many tragic cases of cancer, and it’s very, very sad, but in the aggregate, it’s not as big an advance as you might think.” So says search engine entrepreneur Larry Page in “The Audacity of Google”, the main feature article in the current issue of Time magazine, which plays up the interview on its cover with the dramatic title: Can Google Solve Death?.

In a post on Google+ dated 18 September, Page wrote: “I’m excited to announce Calico, a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases… These issues affect us all — from the decreased mobility and mental agility that comes with age, to life-threatening diseases that exact a terrible physical and emotional toll on individuals and families.”

Nabanita Das commented on the post: “quite an overpowering thought ….cancer is known to exist more than 5000 yrs back (as mentioned in epics ) ….it is the most persistent harbinger of natural (aging) death process ….any breakthrough will surely be multifaceted.”

But a close reading of Page’s comments in the Time interview suggest that “solving” the cancer problem is not what Page has in mind. Sure, the search for the cancer “cure” is regarded by many as the Holy Grail of modern medicine, but it does not follow that Page would see it this way. The reason is “Big Data”. More about that here on Wednesday.

Time