John: how you handling the success?

Sergey: attributes success to luck. followed our hearts in terms of research areas. found they had something useful and impactful. early on talked about open sourcing, but eventually started the company. exciting and wild ride. starting to get used to it.

John: brings up terry semel conversation, how he said judge google as a portal and being #4.

Sergey: makes google the underdog. humourous aside about how google cafe ranks against other silicon valley cafes. audience laughs.

John: Microsoft said “we’re the underdog now”.

Sergey: would be exited to be viewed as #1 in technology. in tech development, we are a leader. from technical pov, likes to think they’re #1.

John: stock price and expectation of being a public company

Sergey: in terms of search market share, delighted. primarily come to google – and stay – due to search experience.

John: interface – clean blank page – will it continue as a portal

Sergey: hopes it continues to be clean. re gmail, great user experience has helped other email systems (others have increased storage etc). there are areas that have been overlooked in industry, much as search was overlooked in the 90’s. thinks they have technology, distribution infrastructure to address those things.

John: competition with microsoft. now has feed reader, platform of innovation. how do you make decisions about what to do next and make decisions about what to add to the google suite.

Sergey: Historically people who have feed reader companies may expect a lot of M&A activities. they care about “enabling other businesses”. re adsense: the idea that other companies need to make lots of money. extended technology to serve many web pages. They were worried about content being lost on the Web, one of the big motivations of adsense was to create and maintain online businesses.

John: semel, diller, miller all made user-generated and professional content as important part of what they will do on web. your view?

Sergey: we fundamentally believe in sending users to other sites (for content). so our philosphy is quite different. we want to send people to best sites (uses eg yahoo finance). we’re not about creating all of our own content, we send them off to other sites.

Questions:

Q1: google office

Sergey: i don’t really think that trying to take previous technologies in our generation and port them directly […] always makes sense. the web and 2.0 technologies give opportunity to do new and better things – some of what is done in past [on pc] and more. if there’s some combination of office type functionality, then would consider it. [nb: not verbatim – esp that last sentence]

Q2: click fraud

Sergey: something we have to work on, spend a lot of work on detecting etc. long list of protections for click fraud. a lot of our advertisers – in fact most – care about getting conversions and making sales. they know exact roi they’re getting. also ad fraud is quite complex.

Q3: what areas are you focusing on? safe to invest in?

Sergey: in general, have several kinds of projects. ones that are core and be strategic about. surprises – most successes. from engineers. some of most successful products haven’t been directed from top-level mgmt.

I feel like a lot of portals have just taken everything they see. so want to do different.

Q4: google’s vision for communications and user-gen content

Sergey: we have focused where people spend a lot of time – eg email. google made it more efficient etc. put up lot of things on labs because it’s really hard to predict. eg wikipedia many years ago – not many people would’ve believed it would work. need to experiment.

Q5: personal level, where will video search is going?

Sergey: people underestimate quality of info present in video. key not so much format, but so much effort went into preparation. some of best quality content we have is in video form – make it searchable.