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Adam Lashinsky

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Larry Page: Google is helping its employees quit smoking (and other tidbits)

Google CEO Larry Page is on a mission to remodel his company’s organizational structure and preserve startup mentality that helped create the Internet’s most important asset. He has been on it ever since he took over the reigns from Eric Schmidt in April of last year, and just like Steve Jobs did upon his return from exile —Page mercilessly axed many internal projects while doubling down on a few that do matter. He namely focused on Google’s social thing marketed under the Google+ moniker.

We were promised “moonshots” as Page set out to Jobs-ify the company he cofounded with Sergey Brin. Heck, Page’s already been named ‘CEO of the Year’ by Investors Business DailyFortune’s Senior Editor-at-Large Adam Lashinsky sat down with Page to discuss life at Google. His exclusive interview with Page revealed that Google is “more realistic about recruiting” and “kinder about tolerating underperformers.”

As of last year, the company began recruiting at such nonpedigreed institutions as Texas A&M and the State University of New York at Buffalo; interview sessions that often involved as many as 12 screenings now average between four and five.

This is in stark contrast to Apple, a company built on secrets and famous for its relentless pursuit of A-players. Lashinsky profiled Apple extensively in his upcoming book called “Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired – and Secretive – Company Really Works,” due for release Jan. 25.

Page said Google’s famous perks, such as free food and gym, are remaining (“I don’t worry about the cost”). He also noted Google is going the extra mile to help employees live a healthy lifestyle, which includes helping them quit smoking…