100 billion searches a month, but a million miles to go, say Google founders


In Google’s annual Founders Letter, Larry Page revealed that Google was handling more than 100 billion searches a month, but said that the service was still “a million miles” from the service he’d like to see Google become.

In many ways, we’re a million miles away from creating the search engine of my dreams, one that gets you just the right information at the exact moment you need it with almost no effort.  That’s partly because understanding information in a deep way is a hard problem to solve …

Personalization and context were the key challenges, he argued, and that while Google Now was “starting to tackle this challenge,” it was still early days.

More than a billion Android devices have been activated, but there were still five billion people without Internet access of any kind, something Page described as a tragedy. Project Loon, in which the company plans to launch a network of balloons into the stratosphere to provide Internet access in remote areas, got a heading of its own in the letter, suggesting Google really is serious about this one.

Page closes by talking about the need to think big and take on impossible-sounding challenges.

I’ve learned over time that it’s surprisingly difficult to get teams to be super ambitious because most people haven’t been educated in this kind of moonshot thinking.  They tend to assume that things are impossible, or get frightened of failure.  It’s why we’ve put so much energy into hiring independent thinkers at Google, and setting big goals.  Because if you hire the right people and have bold enough dreams, you’ll usually get there.   And even if you fail, you’ll probably learn something important.

Sixteen years after founding the company, he says, they are “just scratching the surface of what’s possible.”

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