Held in Paradise Valley, Arizona, Google Zeitgeist is the company’s conference that hosts a series of panels and interviews designed to offer greater insight into the technological issues surrounding Google. Yesterday, before sitting for a question and answer session with Schmidt, Page engaged in a very rare solo speech in which he touched upon the company’s primary areas of focus.
Page, calling to mind the repeated refrain of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg at the recent F8 conference, described Google+ Hangouts (the video chat component of the new social network) as “a serendipitous interaction with people all around the world.” Then, addressing tech billionaire and conference attendee Mark Cuban, who last week called Google’s YouTube acquisition “a huge mistake,” Page good-naturedly went on the offensive saying, “YouTube, which Mark for some reason thinks we shouldn’t have bought… I disagree, I think it was a great acquisition. We have over 3 billion playbacks a day there, and that’s growing like crazy. We’ve multiplied our ad revenue by 3x, for two years in a row. It’s a huge business, and it’s going to be a much bigger business.”
Overall, Page managed to make his appearance, one of his first public forays as CEO, a relative success. But as expected, Schmidt delivered a few choice tidbits and inspired the most interesting exchanges when he joined Page on stage for the question and answer session.
Responding to a question about Google’s robotic car experiments, Schmidt said, “Our computers drive your car better than you do when you’re drunk. Right…? I mean… that’s our starting point.” To a question regarding who Google’s biggest enemy is, Page replied simply, “[It’s] Google.” Then Schmidt, attempting to finesse the answer said, “The problems in a company of Google’s scale are always internal at some level,” To which Page said, “Yeah, that’s why I said ‘Google.'” The two clearly enjoy each other’s company, but the awkward moment illustrated that Page is definitely in the driver’s seat at this point.
Page went on to highlight his operational method saying, “There are basically no companies that have good slow decisions.