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Published on March 25th, 2014 | by Cynthia Shahan

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Google CEO Larry Page On Why He Would Leave His Billions To Tesla CEO Elon Musk

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March 25th, 2014 by  

larry pageGoogle CEO and co-founder Larry Page recently shared his strong appreciation of Tesla CEO & Chief Product Architect, SolarCity Chairman, & SpaceX founder & CEO Elon Musk. The two seem to be kindred spirits, and are of course billionaires. They have also reportedly been friends for many years. Page’s statements in a recent interview acknowledged Elon Musk’s ability to change the world and posed the question of who it would be better to leave his money to than Elon Musk.

Musk responded with mutual admiration for Page’s work and Google. The two successful business innovators exchanged a back-and-forth of mutual support.

In a recent interview with Charlie Rose at the recent TED conference in Vancouver, Canada, Rose asked: “You once said you might consider giving your money to Elon Musk because you had confidence he will change the future.” Page responded:

He wants to go to Mars. That’s a worthy goal. We have a lot of employees at Google who’ve become pretty wealthy. You’re working because you want to change the world and make it better; if the company you work for is worthy of your time, why not your money as well? We just don’t think about that. I’d like for us to help out more than we are.

“[Musk] is honored by Larry’s comments and very much admires what he has accomplished with Google,” a Tesla spokeswoman wrote in an e-mail, according to Automotive News.

We appreciate the ongoing greening of Google and the reinventing of transportation ala Tesla. Perhaps Musk will also figure a way to “green up” on Mars when SpaceX gets there. ;)

Driverless cars, something both Google and Tesla are working on, also came up. Rose asked, “How close are we to the driverless car?” Page responded rather elusively, “Very close. We’ve driven well over 100,000 miles by now.

For more on Google’s focus, Charlie Rose nudged Page to share “Where is Google? And where is it going?”

The mission that we defined a long time ago was to organize the world’s information and make it usable and accessible. Now people always ask me: Is that still what you’re doing? And I’m not quite sure. But search really is such a deep thing for us. To really understand what you want, to really understand the world’s information — we’re still very much at the early stages of that. We’ve been doing this for 15 years already, but it’s not at all done.

Later in the interview, Page opened up more about this. Here’s the question (in bold) and the answer:

What state of mind, quality of mind, has served you best? Rupert Murdoch and many others have said “curiosity,” Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have said “focus.” What has enabled you to think about the future and change the present?

Lots of companies don’t succeed over time. What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future. I try to focus on that: What is the future really going to be? And how do we create it? And how do we power our organization to really focus on that and really drive it at a high rate? When I was working on Android, I felt guilty. It wasn’t what we were working on, it was a start-up, and I felt guilty. That was stupid! It was the future.


Google gets attacked a bit for trying to open up more private information to the public. Rose brought that topic up as well. Here are a few questions and Page’s responses:

Let’s talk about security, privacy, Edward Snowden.

Ha, I saw the picture of Sergey with Snowden yesterday. For me, privacy and security are really important. We think about it in terms of both: You can’t have privacy without security. For me, it’s tremendously disappointing that the government secretly did all this and didn’t tell us. We can’t have democracy if we’re having to protect you and our users from the government over stuff we’ve never had a conversation about. We need to know what the parameters are, what kind of surveillance the government is going to do and how and why.

You’re disappointed they didn’t come to Google.

No, for not coming to the public. We can’t have a functioning democracy without a conversation. It doesn’t make sense.

Let’s talk about privacy.

You carry a phone, and there’s so much information about you, so it makes sense why people are asking difficult questions. The main thing is we need to provide people with choices, show them what data’s being collected: search history, location data. I’m really excited about incognito mode. But I’m worried about throwing the baby out with the bathwater. When I lost my voice I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone’s medical conditions were available anonymously to medical doctors? You could see what doctors accessed it and why, and learn more about conditions you have. I was scared to share this voice stuff, but Sergey persuaded me, and it’s been really positive. I got all this information, I got a survey done, got medical conditions from people with similar issues. We’re not thinking about the tremendous good that could come from sharing the right information with the right people in the right ways.

For more on Google and Tesla, here are a few stories:

Deforestation In Real-Time — New Online Tool From Google Lets You See Deforestation As It Occurs

Google’s $168 Million Solar Gamble Gets Green Light

Google Signs 10-Year Deal To Buy Power From Eolus Vind In Sweden

Google On Its Way To Becoming Your Cleantech Utility?

Google Makes 15th Renewable Energy Investment In Texas

Best Overall Car Win For Tesla Model S From Consumer Reports

Tesla Gigafactory: Here’s The Plan

Co-Founder Of Tesla About Starting Tesla (VIDEO)

Image Credit: Larry Page in European Parliament by Marcin Mycielski, European Parliament (CC BY-SA 3.0 license)

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About the Author

is an Organic Farmer, Classical Homeopath, Art Teacher, Creative Writer, Anthropologist, Natural Medicine Activist, Journalist, and mother of four unconditionally loving spirits, teachers, and environmentally conscious beings who have lit the way for me for decades.



  • Michael Berndtson

    We as a country, maybe the world are way too focused on information and communication technology R&D. And dependent on the largess of weird libertarian tech billionaires – who sell a huge chunk of their products and services to governments (taxpayers).

    I just read an interesting report prepared by Battelle Memorial Institute and Research & Development Magazine that compiled world R&D spending and proposed spending for 2014.

    The Battelle and R&D Magazine report titled, “2014 GLOBAL R&D FUNDING FORECAST” is located here:
    http://www.battelle.org/docs/tpp/2014_global_rd_funding_forecast.pdf?sfvrsn=4

    I did a bullet summary of the salient points of the report and coupled it with US budget for climate change that includes anything from data collection to clean technology to tax incentives. The White House prepared report is located here:

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/fcce-report-to-congress.pdf

    My summary is located here:
    http://michaeljberndtson.com/blog/2014/3/24/what-are-they-thinking-doing-rd-spending-in-total-and-on-climate-change

    The actual numbers are in the links above. Going from memory the US R&D $465 billion on R&D, About $308 billion from non fed sources and the rest from the feds.

    The feds are spending about $2.5 billion on climate science and about $2.5 on clean technology investigation and R&D.

    However, here the interesting thing. Industry spends about $150 billion (or half) on IT and communication technology. Compared to about $7 billion on energy R&D. Much of that spending is probably on drill bit technology and well cementing, rather than renewables, I’m assuming.

    Bottom line – no wonder the Google dudes and their ilk have excess cash. We as a country are loading up on Likes(TM) and Angry Birds and other silly stuff. Instead of what really matters: energy and the environment. Oh, and that climate change thing.

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