Google CEO Page: Facebook is 'doing a really bad job on their products'
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) co-founder and CEO Larry Page championed the growth of the company's Google+ social networking platform and slammed Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) competing efforts in a rare interview published Thursday by Wired.
Google+ launched in mid-2011 and includes mobile applications optimized for Google's Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. The platform rivals Facebook by giving users the flexibility to selectively share materials by sorting friends and family into "circles." Page told Wired that the firm launched Google+ in response to concerns over the social networking user experience.
"We had real issues with how our users shared information, how they expressed their identity, and so on," he said. "And, yeah, [Facebook is] a company that's strong in that space. But they're also doing a really bad job on their products. For us to succeed, is it necessary for some other company to fail? No. We're actually doing something different. I think it's outrageous to say that there's only space for one company in these areas. When we started with search, everyone said, 'You guys are gonna fail, there's already five search companies.' We said, 'We are a search company, but we're doing something different.' That's how I see all these areas."
Asked to evaluate Google+, Page responded "I'm very happy with how it has gone. We're working on a lot of really cool stuff. A lot of it has been copied by our competitors, so I think we're doing a good job."
The Wired interview took place several weeks before Facebook unveiled Graph Search, which indexes a wealth of Facebook data including friend connections, location updates, 'likes,' comments and tags, helping users identify potential new contacts, recommended music and videos, friend-endorsed restaurants and other content. Analysts believe Graph Search, which promises users more personalized query results than conventional search engines, could pose a major threat to companies like Google, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Yelp.
Page also addressed the growth of Android, which dominates 53.7 percent of the U.S. smartphone segment according to comScore data issued earlier this month. Asked whether Google anticipated that kind of success when it acquired the technology powering the Android platform back in 2005, Page said "We have a good ability to see what's possible and not be impeded by the status quo. At the time we bought Android, it was pretty obvious that the existing mobile operating systems were terrible. You couldn't write software for them. Compare that to what we have now. So I don't think that betting on Android was that big a stretch. You just had to have the conviction to make a long-term investment and to believe that things could be a lot better."
From there, the conversation shifted to the battle for mobile mapping dominance. Apple ended its longstanding reliance on preloaded Google Maps services with the release of its iOS 6 update, introducing its own, much-criticized Apple Maps platform. Google introduced a native Maps application for iOS late last year, racking up more than 10 million App Store downloads within its first two days of release.
"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," Page said. "That's clearly more appreciated now. Look, you may have the greatest maps in the world, but if nobody uses them, it doesn't matter."
Page also took a shot at Apple's walled-garden iOS platform ethos. "Our philosophy has always been to get our products out to as many people as possible. Unfortunately that's not always easy in this day and age," he said. "The Web has been great; we were able to get products out to everyone, quickly and with high quality. Now we're going backward with a lot of the platforms that are out there. Companies are trying to wall everything off, and I think that impedes the rate of innovation."
- read this Wired article
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