Larry Page Hopes The Future of Search Means Not Wasting His Faltering Voice on Bank Analysts

"Wouldn’t it be great if we answered your questions before you asked them?"



Since Facebook announced Graph Search last week, experts have been speculating at the implications for a certain Internet giant.

Well, a conference call to discuss Google’s quarterly earnings provided ample opportunity to ask CEO Larry Page for his thoughts on the newest entry in the field. Unfortunately, Mr. Page—dogged by a mysterious ailment that has reduced his speaking voice to an asthmatic wheeze—dodged the question about Facebook’s product. Instead, he responded with an exegesis on Google’s own search features:

When we think about search, our mission has been organizing the world’s information and making it useful … We’ve been at it for quite a while, and made all sorts of investments … and we’ll continue to do that. … Ten years ago, what Google did is almost unthinkable compared to what it now does and understands. … Look at [Google] Voice, which we’ve made huge investments in, and has applications in mobile. … [Google] Now is another great example … it’s answering a question before you think to ask it. So I feel very confident of our product.

Google Now, if you haven’t been reading your Search Engine Land, is the product that anticipates users queries, and which might be particularly useful to a certain weary-voiced tech executive. “Wouldn’t it be great if we answered your questions before you asked them?” Mr. Page said to the banking analysts dialed into today’s call. “It would save you a lot of work.”

And, presumably, it would save Mr. Page’s tired vocal cords.