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Live blog: Google co-founder, Google[X] leader Sergey Brin at Code Conference


We’re live on the scene at the Code Conference, and now that Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has finished up his interview and demonstration, Google co-founder and Google[X] leader Sergey Brin has entered the hot seat. Re/code’s Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher are interviewing Brin, and you can find our live updates from the interview below:

– Starting up shortly.
– Brin talking about taking research and bringing it to life. Started with search a decade ago, now onto Google[X].
– Brin says Google has many services, and responsibility for people’s data. At the same time, Google is associated negatively with social phenomenon’s worldwide.
– Brin on how to handle governments (China, U.S. etc): Brin says Google reorganized its business in China to not be affected by the country’s censorship laws. Brin says that the Snowden revelations were a huge disappointment to him personally and the world as a whole. To Brin’s perspective, the NSA spying during the Cold War was designed to protect the U.S. from attacks. He says that in the recent decade or two, counter-terrorism is very different. Brin says Google was upping all of its defenses for years prior to these revelations. Brin says that there is always more Google to do, Google has a 1000 people group working on internet security. They are very, very talented. On a policy front, the revelations have raised a lot of good policy questions.
– Brin: Yes, there is a lot of data that we process and store (for instance to enable email and web search). There are many precautions internal to Google blocking who can and cannot access certain systems and data to prevent any kind of abuse. The trust that people have in Google is very important to Google.
– Brin: We’re not perfect, but if someone roamed into our emails, executive team meetings, you would see how important privacy is to us.
– What does Brin do all day? He really loves his work at Google[X], brings him back to his roots. Brin is not CEO “very much by his choice.” Worked in GoogleX for three years. They are currently working on 8 projects and Brin does not allow new projects until the ones are “graduated.” Google X has the balloons WiFi project, indoor mapping, Google Glass (not waterproof “yet,” still in the explorer phase).
– Brin: Google Glass will be a commercial project this year… “plus or minus.”
– Google announces fully self-driving car, no steering wheel/pedals etc, Kara took it for a spin last week in a Mountain View parking lot. In prototype stage. Google has not had any crashes. Google tests these things very carefully. Steering and brakes are redundant. Software and sensors designed to avoid collisions, but nothing is perfect. There are laws of physics, Brin says. Cars have “plastic-like” glass that crushes in and 2 feet of foam padding to make the cars far safer for pedestrian protection. Google plans to build 100-200 prototypes. Car is electric. Kara: it felt like a ride, in a weird way.
– Kara: do you want to sell cars? Brin: We worked with partners to build these prototypes and we expect to work with partners in the future. Brin says people will start to see these driving around soon, but they are still in early development. Brin says cars being “broadly available” is far away. Brin says they will be testing by the end of the year. Within a couple of years, Brin hopes to surpass the safety metrics of a human driver. They will go into testing without drivers in some limited city. Brin hopes there will be no regulator problems.
– Brin says Glucose measuring contact lenses is one of the most exciting Google[x] project. Engineer from Google Glass team had passion for this.
– Kara: why is Google doing all of this? Is it to satisfy Brin’s curiosity and the team’s? Or will these be real products. Brin says it is important for companies in general to try to do new things. That’s how new things happen.

– Brin: Android project was going on a long time before Apple announced the iPhone.

– Brin: Meet with Larry regularly, does participate in broader company issues.

– Walt: What do you think of the patent system? Brin says that Google does patent “quite a bit,” particularly in Hardware. Brin thinks that the patent system could be improved greatly, but it is what it is. Brin would shorten the amount of time that patents are valid. Brin thinks that patents must be in use in order for it to be valid.

– Brin says that if there are notable competitors to what GoogleX is doing, than it is not an idea worth GoogleX pursuing. Brin is not interested in doing things that are done by many other people.

– Brin: “I am probably the worst person to speak about social.” Brin says he posts a bit to Google+, but he does not connect with a lot of people. It was probably a mistake for Brin to do anything related to social himself. But Brin thinks Google should be involved in social (particularly with pictures).

– Brin: Glass getting feature where pictures automatically transfer to connected smartphone.

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