Sundar Pichai Curated

CEO, Google

CURATED BY :      +44 others


  • You got a quantum computer to perform a very narrow, specific task. What will it take to get to a wider demonstration of quantum supremacy?

    You would need to build a fault-tolerant quantum computer with more qubits so that you can generalize it better, execute it for longer periods of time, and hence be able to run more complex algorithms. But you know, if in any field you have a breakthrough, you start somewhere. To borrow an analogy—the Wright brothers. The first plane flew only for 12 seconds, and so there is no practical application of that. But it showed the possibility that a plane could fly.

  • A number of companies have quantum computers. IBM, for example, has a bunch of them online that people can use in the cloud. Why can their machines not do what Google’s has done?

    The main thing I would comment on is why Google, the team, has been able to do it. It takes a lot of systems engineering—the ability to work on all layers of the stack. This is as complicated as it gets from a systems engineering perspective. You are literally starting with a wafer, and there is a team which is literally etching the gates, making the gates and then [working up] layers of the stack all the way to being able to use AI to simulate and understand the best outcome.

  • So how far away do you think an application like improving the Haber process might be?

    I would think a decade away. We are still a few years away from scaling up and building quantum computers that will work well enough. Other potential applications [could include] designing better batteries. Anyway, you’re dealing with chemistry. Trying to understand that better is where I would put my money on.

  • How much are you investing in quantum computing at the moment?

    It’s a relatively small team. But it builds on all the investments we've made across many years at various layers of Google. It’s built on the company’s years of research and the applied work we have done on top of it.

  • You call yourself a technology optimist, what makes you an optimist?

  • What can we expect from Quantum computing?

  • What would be the positive and negative potential of combining quantum computing and genetics?

  • What is your approach of regulating the use of Artificial Intelligence?

  • Are you satisfied with initiative of regulating the use of artificial intelligence?

  • What if there are two framework to regulate AI, one is from China and other is from OECD or other organization?

  • What is the policy of Google on anti trust and consumer privacy?

  • If you were to design data protection bill how it would look like?

  • what is Google's view on transparency and explainability of AI technology?

  • What is your thought on protecting the privacy of health related data?

  • How do you Google 5 years from now?

  • What worries keep you awake at night?

  • How do you explain the benefit of technology to people of different parts of the world?

  • How much time do you devout to explain to the world that whatever you are doing is good for humanity

  • How can you be so successful?

  • How have changed the ethos and way of working in Google?

  • How Google map is beneficial for India?

  • What is India's contribution to develop Google Map?

  • What are the dangers of artificial intelligence?

  • Give an example of danger caused by AI?

  • What is the probability of World War being caused by AI?

  • Do you think self regulation is needed for things like AI?

  • Give us some scenarios where application of AI can solve very difficult problems?

  • Is Artificial Intelligence is better than human being in analysing a particular problem?

  • when simultaneous translation would be a reality?

  • Give us some example of technologies developed in India and now they are used around the world?

  • How are you tackling the competition from Chinese companies?

  • What are your thought data privacy?

  • How important is data security and privacy to you?

  • Do you think every company from different part of the world ta data security seriously?

  • In India everything is getting connected to Aadhar card, how ensure data privacy in the system like that?

  • Can problem of data security be solved politically?

  • What should be done to make Aadhar more trusted?

  • What is your thought on freedom of speech?

  • Do you any change happening in America?

  • Do you think in America support for diversity is reducing?

  • With best education system in the world, how did you vote for Trump?

  • What percentage of your working time do you spend on managing people and what percentage managing technology?

  • What would be the nest exciting product of Google?

  • Explain Ambient computing?

  • What if Sachin Tendulkar walked in right now, what would say to him?

  • What would say to Deepika Padukone if she'd just walked in?

  • What is the last Youtube video you have watched?

  • What is new technology that is going to come?

  • How does a bad day for Sundar Pichai look like?

  • When you hit the pillow at night, what worries you the most?

  • What you miss about not living in India?

  • Are you worried that diversity of India is under threat?

  • How do you tackle rumors, fake news that are spread through social media?

  • What are you asked in the interview for the post of CEO?

  • When did the founders of Google tell you that you are going to be the CEO?

  • What is your expectation for future generation?

    How we prevent future pandemics, solve climate change, and tackle AI safety will all involve us coming together in some way or other. And that’s what gives me hope for the next generation

  • How to solve problems in the time of crisis?

    Google was founded right before the dotcom crash and built in a moment of severe, I would say, scarcity. That inspired us to solve problems with constraints. And be it distance learning, delivery – I think this moment will make people think creatively and think ahead

  • How technology can play a roll in the time of Covid-19 crisis?

    I think technology and technology companies can play a significant role, and that’s the role we’re looking to play. But I wouldn’t get carried away with it. The roles are very clear. It’s up to governments and public-health organizations

  • What is your opinion on user's data privacy?

    By putting privacy first. It’s up to the user to decide to consent. It’s transparent. They can choose whether to use it or not. And there’s no personally identifiable information or location data coming to Apple and Google as part of this.

  • There is deluge of misinformation spreading through internet and social media, how to control it?

    For me, supporting trustworthy institutions and sources has always been critical. In some ways, that’s easier right now because there is a shared sense of what is objectively right. And you can look to scientists, you can look to health authorities, and that helps you converge on facts

  • What is your opinion about social responsibility of large companies?

    I think large companies have seen a lot of growth over the past few years. So it’s a natural moment in time for that to be scrutinized. What it means to me is we, as a company, have to make sure we are doing good in society—whether it’s helping companies and schools stay connected or committing a $250 million ad grant to help organizations like the WHO disseminate important information on COVID-19. And I think that’s a test we will have to pass over and over again.

  • What would be the impact of AI on humanity?

  • How to stop AI to be the instrument of a totalitarian state?

  • You got a quantum computer to perform a very narrow, specific task. What will it take to get to a wider demonstration of quantum supremacy?

    You would need to build a fault-tolerant quantum computer with more qubits so that you can generalize it better, execute it for longer periods of time, and hence be able to run more complex algorithms. But you know, if in any field you have a breakthrough, you start somewhere. To borrow an analogy—the Wright brothers. The first plane flew only for 12 seconds, and so there is no practical application of that. But it showed the possibility that a plane could fly.

  • A number of companies have quantum computers. IBM, for example, has a bunch of them online that people can use in the cloud. Why can their machines not do what Google’s has done?

    The main thing I would comment on is why Google, the team, has been able to do it. It takes a lot of systems engineering—the ability to work on all layers of the stack. This is as complicated as it gets from a systems engineering perspective. You are literally starting with a wafer, and there is a team which is literally etching the gates, making the gates and then [working up] layers of the stack all the way to being able to use AI to simulate and understand the best outcome.

  • The last sentence of the paper says “We’re only one creative algorithm away from valuable near-term applications.” Any guesses as to what those might be?

    The real excitement about quantum is that the universe fundamentally works in a quantum way, so you will be able to understand nature better. It’s early days, but where quantum mechanics shines is the ability to simulate molecules, molecular processes, and I think that is where it will be the strongest. Drug discovery is a great example. Or fertilizers—the Haber process produces 2% of carbon [emissions] in the world . In nature the same process gets done more efficiently.

  • So how far away do you think an application like improving the Haber process might be?

    I would think a decade away. We are still a few years away from scaling up and building quantum computers that will work well enough. Other potential applications [could include] designing better batteries. Anyway, you’re dealing with chemistry. Trying to understand that better is where I would put my money on.

  • Even people who care about them say quantum computers could be like nuclear fusion: just around the corner for the next 50 years. It seems almost an esoteric research project. Why is the CEO of Google so excited about this?

    Google wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the evolution we have seen in computing over the years. Moore’s Law has allowed us to scale up our computational capacity to serve billions of users across many products at scale. So at heart, we view ourselves as a deep computer science company. Moore’s Law is, depending on how you think about it, at the end of its cycle. Quantum computing is one of the many components by which we will continue to make progress in computing.The other reason we’re excited is—take a simple molecule. Caffeine has 243 states or something like that. We know we can’t even understand the basic structure of molecules today with classical computing. So when I look at climate change, when I look at medicines, this is why I am confident one day quantum computing will drive progress there.

  • A profile of you in Fast Company described you as feeling a sense of “premonition” when you saw an AI learning to identify cat pictures all by itself, back in 2012. [“This thing was going to scale up and maybe reveal the way the universe works,” Pichai is quoted as saying. “This will be the most important thing we work on as humanity.”] Does quantum computing feel as important?

    Absolutely. Being able to be in the lab and actually physically manipulate the qubit and being able to put it in a superposition state was an equally profound moment for me because, to my earlier point, it’s how nature works. It opens up a whole new range of possibilities which didn’t exist until today.

  • It could take a very long time to get to quantum systems that can do something serious. How do you manage patience at a company that is used to very fast progress?

    You know, I was spending time with Hartmut [Neven], who leads the quantum team along with John Martinis, the chief hardware scientist. And I mentioned that I dropped out of my PhD in materials science, and people around me were working on high-temperature superconductors. This was 26 years ago, and I was sitting in the lab and I’m like, “Wow, this is going to need a lot of patience to go through.” And I felt like I didn’t have quite that kind of patience. I have deep respect for the people in the team who have stayed on this journey for a long time. But pretty much all fundamental breakthroughs work that way, and you need that kind of a long-term vision to build it.

  • How much are you investing in quantum computing at the moment?

    It’s a relatively small team. But it builds on all the investments we've made across many years at various layers of Google. It’s built on the company’s years of research and the applied work we have done on top of it.

  • Can you talk about the difference in approach between Google and IBM? For one thing, IBM has a bunch of quantum machines that it puts in the cloud for people to program, whereas you’re doing it as an in-house research project

    It’s great that IBM is providing it as a cloud facility and attracting other developers. I think we as a team have been focused on making sure we prove to ourselves and to the community that you can cross this important milestone of quantum supremacy.

  • IBM also says the term “quantum supremacy” is misleading, because it implies that quantum computers will eventually do everything better than classical computers, when in fact they will probably always have to work together on different bits of a problem. They’re accusing you of overhyping this.

    My answer on that would be, it is a technical term of art. People in the community understand exactly what the milestone means.

  • But the contention is, the public may see it as a sign that quantum computers have now vanquished classical computers.

    I mean, it’s no different from when we all celebrate AI. There are people who conflate it with general artificial intelligence. Which is why I think it’s important we publish. It’s important that people who are explaining these things help the public understand where we are, how early it is, and how you’re always going to apply classical computing to most of the problems you need in the world. That will still be true in the future.

  • AI generates business for Google at very many levels. It’s in services like Translate and Search. You provide AI tools to people through your cloud. You provide an AI framework, TensorFlow, that allows people to build their own tools. And you provide specialized chips [the TPUs mentioned above] that people can then use to run their tools on. Do you think of quantum computing as eventually being that pervasive for Google?

    I absolutely do. And if you step back, we invested in AI and developed AI before we knew it would work for us across all layers of the stack. Down the line, on all the practical applications you talked about—we don’t use AI technology just for ourselves; we provide it to customers around the world. We care about democratizing AI access. The same would be true for quantum computing, too.

  • What do you think quantum computing might mean for AI itself? Could it help us unlock the barrier to artificial general intelligence, for instance, if you combine quantum computing and AI?

    I think it’ll be a very powerful symbiotic thing. Both fields are in early phases. There is exciting work in AI in terms of building larger models, more generalizable models, and what kind of computing resources you need to get there. I think AI can accelerate quantum computing and quantum computing can accelerate AI. And collectively, I think it’s what we would need to, down the line, solve some of the most intractable problems we face, like climate change.

  • You mentioned democratizing the technology. Google has run into some ethical controversies around AI—who should have access to these tools and how they should be used. What have you learned from handling those issues, and how is it informing your thinking on quantum technology, which is much earlier in its development?

    Publishing and engaging with the academic community at these stages is very important. We work hard to engage. We’ve published our comprehensive AI principles. If you take an area like AI bias, I think we have published over 75 research papers in the last few years. So, codifying our ethics and engaging proactively. I think there are areas where regulation may make sense. We want to constructively participate and help get the right regulations. And finally, there’s a process of engaging externally and getting feedback. These are all technologies which will impact society. There’s no one company which can figure out what the right thing is. There’s no silver bullet, but this is early enough that, over the next 10 years, we have to engage and work together on all of this.

  • Isn’t there a bit of a contradiction between, on the one hand, saying you won’t develop AI for certain purposes [as per the AI principles] and, on the other, creating a platform that enables people to use AI for whatever purpose they want?

    AI safety is one of our most important ethical principles. You want to build and test systems for safety. That’s inherent in our development. If you’re worried about quantum systems breaking cryptography over time, you want to develop better quantum encryption technologies. When we built search, we had to solve for spam.The stakes are clearly higher with these technologies, but part of it is the technical approach you take, and part of it, over time, is global governance and ethical agreements. You would need to arrive at global frameworks which result in outcomes we want. We are committed to doing what we can to help develop [the technology], not just responsibly, but to use it to safeguard safety, democracy, etc. And we would do that collectively with the institutions.

  • Is there any other technology that you’re also really excited about right now?

    For me, just as a person, radically better ways to generate clean renewable energy have a lot of potential. But I’m excited just broadly about the combinations of all of this and how we practically apply it. In health care, I think we are on the verge of breakthroughs over the next decade or so which will be profound. But I would also say AI itself—the next generation of AI breakthroughs, new algorithms, better generalizable models, transfer learning, etc., are all equally exciting to me

  • When did Larry Page and Sergey Brin tell you about the change?

    It was a series of conversations over time. As Google turned 20 last year [in 2018], that was the first time I think they probably started having longer-term ­conversations. Particularly when Google hit 21 in September, that was a kind of a milestone. They did actually speak about it with me in the context of the company turning 21, like a child ready to be independent. And they did want to play a different role as advisers and founders.

  • Alphabet was formed, and you became CEO of Google, in 2015. Now that you’re running both, does the rationale hold today? Do you still need Alphabet at all?

    I definitely think so. It has allowed us to not have a single management team try to scale and deal with many different separate areas. And how we need to approach each of these areas sometimes can be very, very different. They are different businesses with different time horizons. Alphabet allows us to pursue some of the other areas with maybe different structures we need. So, for example, we have a very successful venture and growth investment portfolio¹, which allows us to partner literally with hundreds of companies. And we can manage them with the discipline and the rigor of an investment company. Also I think with the “other bets"² we are definitely at a phase where, while we take a long-term view, we also want to marry that with the discipline of making sure they are doing well. The Alphabet structure allows us to set up some of these things as independent companies and to raise money from outside investors. So if you take Verily³, for example, we have world-class investors like Silver Lake and Temasek, and we have a board. It’s a proper functioning company.

  • You mention investment discipline. The non-Google part of Alphabet loses a lot of money⁴. Now that you’re in charge, should we expect to see more investment discipline?

    The question is, how do you assess the value of the entity you’re creating and how do your other partners and other stakeholders? It’s a direction we had already gotten underway. But you will see me focused on that more and emphasize that more⁵.

  • Will you seek outside investors for additional Alphabet entities?

    We expect most of the “other bet” companies to follow a process like that over time⁶.

  • I was interested to learn that while you’re an engineer, you’re not a computer scientist. You studied ­materials science. Why did you pursue a career as a manager rather than a technologist?

    I worked in engineering for a long time. I was a semiconductor engineer. Some of my early work was on building a 1GB DRAM [chip] in ’95⁷. But with the advent of the Internet I realized it would have a profound impact on everything we do. I saw that shift and wanted to play more directly in the development of the Internet.

  • Your claim to fame at Google was overseeing the development of the Chrome browser. Why was that so important?

    In 2004, Flickr and Google Maps and Gmail were part of this exciting development where the web was shifting from just being about content to actually running applications. This was the moment when we realized the browser was actually a platform, a modern operating system for the Internet. We started working on Chrome around 2005. Chrome really found its footing in 2011 or 2012. These things take time, and that’s what innovation looks like.

  • Google is so much bigger than when you started. As a manager, how do you confront bigness?

    First of all, there are a lot of advantages of scale. It allows us to take a long-term view, be very user-focused, and pursue projects, even where the immediate value is not clear. For example, we started investing in A.I. very early on. One of the big shifts I made when I took over as the CEO was to really embrace an A.I.-first shift in terms of how we were building our products. Many years ago we had to invest tens of millions of dollars to build special A.I.-purposed chips. That was before it was clear what we would use all this for, but scale is what allows you as a company to kind of bet on those trends. But with scale comes definitely challenges. It’s tougher to execute at scale. But you constantly find when companies are smaller, they make more decisions that are more like betting the company. Then they tend to get more conservative at scale. So how do you make sure as a company, you’re ambitious, you’re willing to take risks, you’re willing to be wrong, you tolerate failures as you embrace success?

  • Other than in “other bets,” what’s an example of how you’re doing that in core Google?

    Quantum [computing] has been a 13-year effort for us. Many years ago we saw the opportunity to provide other companies with our cloud technology, but we realized it’s a deep commitment to drive that shift to be an enterprise-first company in our cloud area. That’s the kind of commitment you take and the journey you take. So we place big bets all the time. But you have to work harder at making sure you’re effective.

  • It must be a personal challenge for a CEO too. How many direct reports do you have?

    It’s about 16.

  • That’s a lot of people.

    It’s a lot of people. It’s a big company⁸.

  • Do you intend to have a No. 2, a chief operating officer?

    We have extraordinary leaders, people who are really empowered to run their businesses. And we have world-class functional leaders. I do think it’s a team sport. If you think, for example, about building the great “assistant” experience in the context of Google Pixel⁹, we need different teams to come together to make that possible. And we have very capable leaders. Take Thomas Kurian running Cloud¹⁰. He can make decisions for Cloud. And I partner with him closely.

  • So I’m hearing you say putting someone between you and your 16 direct reports is not currently a priority.

    We have a structure that works well.

  • Let’s talk about Google’s famous culture. Last year you dramatically changed the company’s TGIF all-hands tradition¹¹. Why?

    We are going to continue having TGIF, and we will always make changes to TGIF. Most employees, when they come into Google from the outside, regardless of the level they come in, they get blown away by the level of transparency within the company. Those are all cherished traditions of the company. It is just that when the company is over 100,000 people, at what unit levels do you kind of do those things?

  • But you were clear at the time that there had been a problem with information leaking from the TGIFs. That implies some employees could no longer be trusted.

    At their scale TGIF had definitely gotten harder. Transparency without context is also not easy. When you have 1,000 people, everybody has shared context for what the decisions are. To try to do this at 100,000 people doesn’t always work in that centralized form. So those are the nuances of it. And so it’s something we are going to play with and evolve and continue. But we’ll work through it as a company. We always have.

  • Do you think Google employees are too entitled¹²?

    Oh, no. I feel fortunate to have a company where employees deeply care about the work they do and the impact the work has.

  • Who do you see as your biggest competitors?

    I’ve always worried as a company at scale your biggest competition is from within, that you stop executing well, you focus on the wrong things, you get distracted. I think when you focus on competitors you start chasing and playing by the rules of what other people are good at rather than what makes you good as a company.

  • Do you have a scenario you plan for in which regulators break up Alphabet on antitrust grounds?

    At our scale we realize there will be scrutiny. We always engage constructively, and we take feedback to the extent there are areas where sometimes we may not agree with it. But obviously we understand the role of regulators.

  • How can you convince skeptics that Google can be trusted with ­users’ data?

    Today, we provide some of the most important services out there for users. Every day users come to Google to ask us profound queries. Privacy is something we are constantly evolving and trying to do better. We think we can use A.I. over time to give more benefits to users with less data. That’s the direction we are working on.

  • Your emphasis on cloud computing seems to be a clear acknowledgement that Amazon has a business worth competing against.

    We are a cloud-native company. As a company we operate many services with a billion users each, and we’ve been doing cloud as long as anybody else. It’s a big opportunity, but we are doing it because we genuinely think when we look at our technology we see that we can offer something differentiated and we are world-class in our ability to do so. We obviously have competitors. But why you do something is about user focus. You want to originate there, for that to be a true north.

  • Before we run out of time, I have my Fitbit on my wrist. I don’t see anything on yours.

    I’m careful about [what I wear] because we’re constantly testing stuff, and I never know what’s released or not. We are obviously excited by the potential for using technology to help improve fitness and health outcomes for millions of people.

  • Last thing. You got a big raise last month. Do you and your wife have a plan for what you’re going to do with your wealth?

    I’ve always viewed society having played a big role in helping me to reach where I am today, and our intent is to give back. I’ve always viewed my life as a phase in which I’m working hard and trying to achieve impact in the context of the work I do through the products we build. But there’s a phase of my life when I want to step back, and that will involve giving back to society. 

  • you are not a dropout, how can you be so successful and b), you're a good guy, don't you have to be slightly nasty to be successful?

    First of all, IIT was too much fun to actually drop out, so wasn't there a movie about it or something? It was more like that. It was too much fun to drop out. And I've always felt being a good guy and doing well aren't necessarily at odds with each other so always felt that applied.

  • I totally believe that. And I think, you reflected in your handling of Google, how you changed the ethos here, the kind of team work and people enjoying everybody's company and working together, right?

    Yes. I always felt that even if you work 40 hours a week, you spend more time at work than the rest of your waking time, and so I've always felt that it's important that it be fun, you work with people you like and it feels like a team and you're in it together, so I've always cherished that.

  • We've talked to a lot of Google people and they all say it starts from you. Now Androids, look at that guy there, I got more interest in, look at that. The drawing for the restroom signs, it's like everywhere.

    You are close to the place where Android gets built.

  • A lot of it was developed in India, right?

    That's right, India is where we had this insight, a team from India felt like it's tough to get data around Maps, so they basically said wherever there are missing roads, we actually will let users, just like Wikipedia, edit and complete map routes and so on. So that insight really changed how fast we have been building maps since then.

  • That's just the kind of openness that you have, it's beautiful. One of the things that I love about Google Maps is, it lowers my tension. Because I know I'll take 42 minutes to go from here to there. I'm in a traffic jam. It doesn't matter, it's still 42 minutes. In the old days we said, 'oh God, I'm getting late', but now, traffic jams are within an overall scheme of things, thanks to Google Maps.

    You know I love using Google Maps and in India it actually works well, we are constantly trying to make it better, but I think the traffic in India is a challenge, so hopefully that Maps makes a small difference.

  • I don't have a Google map quite as big as this, look at that. This is where we are

    Yes, this is a picture of Google right here, looking at it from top. That's where people sit and have their lunches, in good California weather, so it is pretty nice most of the year to do that.

  • One of the big things about Google campuses, you've got a food place every 20 yards. The best food in the world is here.

    There is plenty of food here, we joke around, there is something called the Google 15. When you join Google, within the first year people tend to gain about 15 pounds, so everyone tries to watch out.

  • Now tell me a little bit about what you really feel is the next big thing, which is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. You know there is a bit of controversy; you know there is the most dangerous thing, World War 3 will be caused by Artificial Intelligence, what are the dangers of artificial intelligence?

    Artificial intelligence for sure over the long run is the most powerful technology the humans will invent. For sure I think we need to have thoughtful consensus about, do we end up developing something we cannot control. I think there are deep real concerns. I don't think we have the answers. I do believe we are still in very early days. The good news is it is still far away. But I am also equally convinced that it is going to be beneficial than anything that has ever happened before and a lot of the benefits will start playing out in the next couple of decades. The important thing here is to harness the benefits but thoughtfully developing it over time so we avoid the pitfalls.

  • Give me an example of a danger.

    With artificial intelligence, let's say, you know, first of all...

  • Sorry I interrupted. What are the dangers?

    Simplest example that gets talked about, one may say our systems are super intelligent, they are more intelligent than humans and so they have their own free will if you will and they are optimising for something else and they may make decisions which are not necessarily for the benefit of humanity. Those are the far out concerns.

  • I know you like walking, you don't like standing at one place.

    When I was young, both me and my brother would walk back and forth in the house all the time, so I would drive my mom crazy. So I am trying to slowdown.

  • So what is the probability or the percentage chance of World War 3 being caused by artificial intelligence? Because if humans get in their way, what do you do as designers, so you tell a robot or the AI to go from here to there whatever happens and then a human gets in the way?

    You know I have a lot of faith in our global systems and how we would approach this. And I think it's important as an industry we self-regulate, and have strong ethical approaches to how we do this. There are good examples to be borrowed from, genetics, over the last 30-40 years, how the scientific community, the biological community has approached this. Medical communities have done that and I think these are important issues, but I sure am optimistic that we can work our way through it.

  • There are dangers?You're more leaning towards 'be very careful of dangers'?

    Absolutely.You have to be to get this right.

  • You mentioned medical and genetics, medical community affects the world and everybody in a massive way and has a social impact. But they do have a lot of protocols and they do have FDA and all kinds of restrictions, while the beauty of the internet and companies like yours, it's a free world. So do you feel a little more self-regulation is needed for things like this?

    We are in such early days, so, a part of it is you have to be careful. Today our computers cannot learn and understand things like a 3rd grade kid can, so you have to be careful. But any industry that AI is going to affect is already a regulated industry. So tomorrow if AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years. And we had recently done work on diabetic retinopathy, it's a cause for blindness, but using AI machine learning we can detect it much better than humans can. So getting a tool like that, in the next 10 years, in the hands of doctors, think of rural places in India where you don't have Opthalmologists trained; and right there in those villages to help diagnose people, you know software, AI, will help any doctor diagnose people and maybe detect blindness early, it's completely curable if detected.

  • Can you give us another example like that?

    I do think we will need AI to even solve problems like climate change over a time, to be able to understand what's happening and tackle it. Those will be big.

  • My environmentalist friends say the biggest causes of environment degradation are human beings, now robots may say, if human beings are creating a problem, get rid of them.

    The right way to think about it is, humans should use AI to make the world cleaner so we won't have this problem.

  • In terms of AI, I just heard yesterday, I've been travelling around the valley, there's a massive study using AI on India. They've been checking, they look at the future and they are predicting there will be a civil war in India during next 5-10 years. Now should AI...

    Based on AI?I am not concerned about that. I think we should worry about a lot of things, but scenarios like that seems far-fetched to me.

  • But you could, in some ways it's better than human beings at analyzing, so here's an AI, impartial, non-political machine, learning comes out of the forecast, the worries are big time.

    We are still remarkably far away, you know we are making extraordinary progress in certain things, you know for example AI is now able to translate much better than ever before, close to human level translation.

  • I want to ask you about translations. I know you are going to have simultaneous translation, you can talk to anybody, you talk in your language, they talk in theirs. You are getting them, right?

    Yes we are constantly making progress. But I do think in a few days we will be talking about something by which you can wear it in your ears, and you know and you can speak between two people and it will make this process of translation more seamless. But I think we are few years away from where two people you know, regardless of language they know, can converse with each other and that is absolutely you know in line of sight. You know even few days from now our first headsets we will show will take good steps in that direction.

  • October 4th you will announce something like that? Because that will have a mind-blowing impact on humanity, that you can go anywhere and talk to anyone you like.

    We are not quite there yet, but it'll take the first step in that direction and we will continue to build from there.

  • India has done certain things that are being used around the world. For example you got lighter products because we have less bandwidth and less speed in India. Give us some examples of things worked on in India that are being used around the world.

    Several examples, you know, we talked about Maps earlier and YouTube Go, so the ability to cache videos offline and watch it when you want to we started in India, we are taking it globally. We recently launched the product called Google Tez. We are able to do this in India first because of the digital payments infrastructure, right, that India has done, so we are doing it in India and will take to the rest of the world and say look this is how you do it. So yes, very proud.

  • The whole idea of lightness, you need to have much lighter apps and lighter systems. That is something a Chinese browser company discovered in India a long time ago and they've covered 60% of the market according to them. How are you tackling the Chinese? Because they're smart.

    Look our data shows otherwise, but you know innovation should come from everywhere and I think those are all good signals for us to understand where we can do better. We adapted and made Chrome better, lighter and faster, so you know that's beginning to work.

  • So when we talk about AI, privacy, it is a worry. How much privacy will companies like yours guarantee? Because there is something called data colonization. You have so much data. You know when I eat, whatever I do, what I like, because what I see, what I have done here I see elsewhere whenever I want to buy something.

    We actually don't know all that. But yes the way I think about all that is, first of all biggest risk for data for anyone is security, getting compromised from a security aspect. So just like your money is safer in the bank or something like that, we work so hard to build some of the most secure systems in the world. So we work very hard to protect your data. As a company we realise every single day, you know, users will only use us, they trust us as an institution. So, you know...

  • So how important is data security and privacy?

    It is at the foundation of everything we do. Whenever we build anything new we start with, how do we, in a foundational way, secure and the data give users privacy. On top of that we do everything else. And, and... I mean you work every day, you never say nobody can. Security you have to earn it every day and, but I think we are state of the art in terms of what we do to protect you know users data and give security to our users.

  • You know, somehow, I feel and I totally believe that, and I trust Google and I use it without any hassle, but I worry about, I don't want to sound parochial, but will the Chinese or Russians have similar focus on privacy and security. Because we are using their browsers as well?

    You know I, in general I feel, one of the things we all do, lot of our products are open source, so people can inspect their products and you know so, and this is why partly we do our products the way we do it. I think it's good for all us to be worried about security and privacy always.

  • Totally agree with you. Will look after and America will really be at the forefront. But with this internet and data colonization will other countries do it, will India do it?

    You know, I, I think so over time users will demand it. The state of what IT is doing for people, over time just like in healthcare you demand standards, I think users will demand... Users, they will vote with whatever they use otherwise.

  • We have in India the Aadhaar card, which in my opinion is a revolution. It's wonderful, but there is a lot of worry that everything is connected to it, to your phone or bank account to tax, everything which can be very positively used, but it can also be misused. How do we ensure that it is not misused?

    You know I can see all the benefits that would come from a system like that.

  • I hate to say but our politicians, I don't have the greatest faith in them. I mean they are not the most trusted in India by most surveys, and you know to get one against each other they could break that privacy. How does one stop that? It's a worry.

    You know, which is why it cannot be a political solution alone. The solution has to be a, you know, has to have foundations in the law and in the Constitution and with the act of judiciary to support it. That's how you have to design most of these systems. I think the same thing applies to something that foundational...

  • So Aadhaar, would you, one or two things you say that should be done to make Aadhaar, make us trust it. Our problem is people don't trust it, it's a great system but people don't trust it yet

    You know I am not fully familiar with it you know. I think in a lot of these cases you have to generate benefits for the users. You have to show it with a benefit. So tomorrow when I go get a driver's licence, you know, I am giving up some privacy. I do it because I can drive and I see the benefits of it. So for Aadhaar you have to show, show use cases at the top of it. Why that collective benefit and the good that comes out of it far outweighs, you know, the privacy you give up for it and, and, then you have to put checks and balances to make sure it works well.

  • But it is like EVMs in India, it's an area, I think that they are the most wonderful machines, they are not connected to the internet, can't be hacked, but nobody trusts them - I mean the losers don't trust them.

    I look at, I look at the fact, I wish we had EVMs here in the US and so, I think, in general you do it thoughtfully from a security stand point. I can see the benefits they bring

  • It's wonderful, you can't really do booth capturing, much more fair. Our elections are much better, and I really agree, America doesn't have it, we must export it here. It's a great machine, probably done by an IIT guy. Coming to another, oh wow, look at this.

    Lights up when you step on it, and we're not going to do Beat It now or Billy Jean rather.

  • whats your favourite song?

    Song seems good, that's Shah Rukh Khan, I can see, Kal Ho Naa Ho. I have not seen the movie yet. I think viewers in India have better options

  • Okay, just to talk about an issue which you faced, a controversy here. It was, a person wrote - you have such an open system here - he wrote saying that women can't make good engineers and you sacked him. I totally agree with, or you may not agree with it, how far does freedom of speech go?

    Okay, it's important to understand that within the context of a company things are different than a society or a nation. As a company we have values and given what we do, we cherish, we cherish diversity. You know we value freedom of speech, but in the context of a company we have to balance it against other important freedoms, the right for someone to come and work free of discrimination, harassment and equal opportunity to succeed and so we have to balance that. And in this case you know, I felt that it had gone too far. But hopefully out of that comes good debates and I think that makes people realise how important these values are. And overall it was a good debate externally that played out too.

  • Yes it was a great debate. I was a little surprised because the USA prides itself on diversity. Look at California, it's fantastic. It boomed as a result of diversity. And yet there were people saying, you know, is this the new America? Is there change happening?

    You know the US also has one of the strongest constitutionally enshrined protections of freedom of speech as well. And so I think, I think there is, we live in polarized times, there is a lot of debates going on outside, and so there is some conflation of what happens within a company in the context of how you interpret it outside. But I think, you know, a company, a work place is different and we do, we have values and we expect our employees to stay true to those values.

  • America has a wonderful education system and diverse society. Having said that I don't understand with this education, how did you vote Trump? I can't understand it, I am serious.

    You know, the best way I would say it is, it's a democratic process and the process plays out. And I think, President Trump clearly communicated a set of concerns which many Americans were feeling and with the rapid growth we have had, not all sections of society have felt it. There have been clear manufacturing job losses for a while. He did focus on important issues I think, which played a bigger role than election outcome.

  • Yes, and, he just didn't quite fit in with my view of America and I think Obama was just wonderful. You are nodding, you agree?

    I am not here to talk politics, but I deeply respect a democratic process and I think it's important we do that and not use democracy at times we like the outcome. It's important that we cherish the foundation of it.

  • In the time you spend every day, what percentage of time is managing people and what percentage is looking after technology?

    You know I would love to spend more time on technology, but with the scale of Google and what I do, people are the most important resource we have. So I try to get great products built through people, so I spend more time, slightly more than 50-50. I would say in favour of people 60-40.

  • So just looking quickly at the future, what is going to be your path? Google home or is it going to be a watch or how we move from the phone to something else?

    I think the beauty of what I think of as the AI first world is, we don't have to, users don't have to decide, computing will be there when you want it, when you get into a car, when you go to your home, working for you. So I think this notion of ambient computing, which is there to help, so can be in the context of a watch, watch, you know, you get into your car and it's built in.

  • Explain ambient computing.

    Today computing means, you go to a device, start it off and work with that device. But to me ambient computing is that you are going about your day to day life, computing is there working for you. So if I run into someone that I need to speak from Hindi to English, you know, it can happen, right. We have to figure out what it is, maybe a watch, maybe a headphone; if you are at home or in the kitchen, it's something like Google Home or, you know, the TV. Any screen in front of you can help when it needs to. So we will do the hard work.

  • What will you say if Sachin Tendulkar walks up to you? I know he's your favourite.

    Oh my God, I literally remember him, his debut series and watching it around the time I started watching you. So you guys both lined up, so it would be a privilege.

  • What would you say to Sachin Tendulkar ?

    I don't know. Maybe I would try to go play with him, cricket, if I could do that it will be an honour, so...

  • Just in your daily lie what's the last YouTube video you watched?

    You won't believe it, because in YouTube you have recommendations and I, do you follow cricket.

  • You saw Deepike Padukone playing cricket?

    Not quite. Last night there was a media recommended to me of one of Virat Kohli's fastest 100s, 100 off 52 balls. I got to watch that. That's remarkable. India cricket has progressed so much.

  • Okay, one hint of what's going to come.

    What I mentioned earlier, you will see an update to our Pixel phones and our Home products. But as an accessory we are also working on what I think of as magic earphones, something which can do a little bit more than what normal headphones can do.

  • You practice a lot. Does it just come to you? You've been doing it for years.

    It's what I do for work every day so I get to talk about it, so it's like you doing this interview.

  • What's a bad for Sundar Pichai?

    I get so excited coming to work, the choice of what we can do at scale, so normally like a kid at a candy store, bad day it means I didn't get to do what I wanted to do that day or it was a busy day, you know, but have the perspective to know that there is nothing like a really bad day.

  • Bored of all these people who are taking you into meetings rather than letting you pin products. When you put your head on the pillow at night, what concerns you?

    Historically world has progressed to places where we have more global framework and countries are coming together, but there are recent forces which are pulling countries apart. So while I am optimistic it is, I worry when I put my head on bed, did we leave a world to a better place for our children than we as a generation?

  • What we left for you is the pollution, but we left you democracy too.

    Yes, I think generation before us in India sacrificed a lot to give us a life we have.

  • Unfortunately we came in then then gave you the pollution. Last question, what you miss about not living in India? I mean you live in paradise, but what you miss not living here?

    I always miss the people, the vibrancy, the noise, it's quiet around here, so every time I go to India and come back, that's what I miss. So everything is silence, so I miss the people, the vibrancy, the life, the colors and the sounds of India.

  • And when we talk about the democracy, diversity of India, the two big Ds, what's wonderful about India, the Democracy and the Diversity. Are you really worried the diversity maybe changing a bit, that not enough focus support for diversity that you have here, I mean Google is, but America too.

    You know it's amazing, when I think you look at all the difficult times India has gone through, something about India, the scale of the people and how distributed it is, the different states and the different cultures, so only way India can work is by somehow keeping it off together and this magic, it's figured out it away to do it over time. So I think I have faith in that system, something deeper than all of us, I think, which will keep us all together for a long time.

  • People might try to affect the diversity but you feel there is a...

    I think the forces which will bring it together in a far bigger than anything which can pull it apart.

  • You have always been optimist, that's why you build crazy ideas and they become reality.

    am an optimist, but it's important to look at the world at any arc of time, you know things have gotten much, much better.

  • In your time, when you were in IIT, religion didn't matter, caste didn't matter, you didn't know what people's castes were at that time, did you?

    To be very clear, when we had grown up, there were sectarian riots in Hyderabad, I think we've always had to work through difficult challenges as a country and I think it's important to focus on what matters. If it's India, we should focus on creating economic growth, creating jobs, creating prosperity and driving GDP growth higher so that more people can be better off.

  • One thing that does worry us and I wonder what your answer to that will be, social media now, in India, is acting as a negative force, there is hate, there are rumours, false news, how do you tackle that?

    n Google we are particularly focused on that, search has always been about trying to give the most truthful representation of anything and we use machine learning very, very, importantly. We recently launched from our jigsaw team an effort called 'perspective' which analyses online posts for toxicity, hateful speech and can actually moderate it. So the NYT uses it for their comment section and so on, so I think we all have to work hard to make sure these tools get used for the good of humanity not otherwise.

  • what did they ask you when they interviewed you for CEO?

    It wasn't a formal interview process. I had worked with Larry and Sergey and the founders for a long time. This is a question that needs to be asked of them.Both Larry and Sergey have always focused on what we can do, something that is ambitious and would really meaningfully make something better for users, so most of our conversations are focused on how we can do things to change things for better, so we rarely talk about other things.

  • What was a memorable quote of what happened during that time you became CEO? I'm sure you remember all the lovely things.

    It's almost like, I thought I was doing the job, so when they told me, in some ways it was a process, it was more continual than discreet, so I didn't even stop to think about it, I was back at work the next day and working so it was more a bigger news externally than how it played out internally.

  • there’s a big NBC piece from April Glaser suggesting that your diversity efforts have been wound down [and] that the company is not even using the word “diversity” internally anymore. Is that true?

    Diversity is a foundational value for us. Given the scale at which we build products and the fact we do it locally for our users, we are deeply committed to having that representation in our workforce. I think we were one of the earliest companies to publish transparency reports, and we’ve shared that ever since. And we just released our recent annual diversity report. We’ve made modest progress in critical areas. There’s a long ways to go. But it is really important. What we are doing in the company is constantly at our scale. We look at that first — see what works, what we can scale up better. All I can say is we probably have more resources invested in diversity now than at any point in our history as a company, in terms of the scale and the resources we put in.

  • There’s part of that report, which is interesting to talk about, because we hear about it in regards to Facebook a lot, but I don’t know if we’ve ever really asked anybody at Google about it. It’s that criticism from the conservative side of the aisle is something you’re more responsive to with these initiatives, with how you’re running the company. Is that something you think about, in terms of who’s criticizing you from where?

    Our diversity efforts, we don’t bring any such lens to it. There are many areas where we are still, as an industry, as a company, dramatically underrepresented. So there’s a long way for us to go. And we’ve just not had that consideration. I think, independently, just within the company, we have definitely made efforts to make sure the company can accommodate viewpoints, and no one feels they’re not part of the company, regardless of their political viewpoints, amongst other things. But that’s about it. I think these are two independent things.

  • So the other big story that hit yesterday, from the day we’re recording, was over at The Information, about Mario Queiroz and Marc Levoy quietly leaving the Pixel division, and the Pixel sales numbers maybe not being super great. Is the Pixel business living up to where you hoped it would be right now?

    I’ll comment on hardware, and then talk about Pixel, too. The last couple of years have been a major integration phase for us because we’ve combined our Google hardware efforts with Nest. We absorbed the mobile division of HTC. So it’s been a lot of stitching together. And we have a wide product portfolio, too. So it’s definitely been a building phase. We’re super committed to it for the long run. Hardware is hard. And it definitely has components, which take real time to get it right, thinking about underlying silicon or display or camera or any of those tacks. And so we are definitely investing in it, but that timeline. I think we’ve made a lot of progress.Pixel 3A last year was one of our highest NPS-rated products ever, and definitely even benchmarked outside. So to me, it’s a clear indication we have made a lot of progress. We just launched Pixel Buds this week, which you guys covered — thank you — to a good reception. Our Nest Home Hub products are definitely doing well.We take a long-term view. We are not in it just for phones alone. We have a vision of where computing needs to go. And I think it’s really hard to drive that vision without doing hardware, software, and services together. You have to think of the intersection of it. I see a lot of value in thinking about it and doing it that way. We are definitely going to have hiccups. We are a nascent player in a really complex space, so not everything’s going to be smooth. But am I excited about our portfolio for later this year — especially if I take a longer-term view? Because some of the deeper efforts we are putting in will take three to four years to actually play out. And when they come in, I think I’m excited about how they will shape where we are going.

  • Yeah. I’ve asked you “How serious are you about hardware?” every year since you created the division, and sort of like with self-driving cars it’s, “Well, it’ll be a five-year timeframe, it’ll be a five-year timeframe.” That five-year timeframe always seems to be five years out. So when you say you’re in it for the long term, is that still the timeframe that you’re thinking of for [hardware] really bringing back really serious results in terms of big sales numbers or big influence in the market or are you looking for something more immediate?

    No, I mean we think about our hardware efforts obviously in the context of our overall computing efforts and in addition to what our ecosystem is doing. So we take that into account. I do think it’s important we build a sustainable business, financially, too. Because I look at the level of investment hardware needs, both in terms of all the technology R&D you need to do, the kind of supply chain you need to develop, as well as the go-to-market investments you need. So it’s a deep investment. So to do it well, I think you have to do it with a clear financial sustainability goal. So that’s important. So for me, three reasons. One is to drive computing forward. The second is we really guide our ecosystem. Pretty much everything we’ve done well, you can go all the way back and Android’s early days, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which we worked together, was a pivotal phone. Nexus 7 in the tablet world. I can point to Chromebooks — all along, we did our original hardware to kind of bootstrap it. And I look at areas maybe where we haven’t done opinionated [work] — maybe [smart]watch is a good example where we haven’t. And then you can see it’s tough to guide an ecosystem to what your vision of it is, just building the underlying platform. So I think that’s the second reason. And third is to really build a sustainable hardware business. I think all of it is important, and that’s how I think about it. And I’m excited. Rick [Osterloh] and team, working closely with Hiroshi [Lockheimer] and team, they have that long-term view. So we’re pretty committed to it.

  • So you’re the CEO of Alphabet now, in addition to Google. How much of your time do you actually even get to devote to hardware? Are you looking at prototypes? Is it just sort of one meeting in a week? Or is it a larger part of your time?

    It’s just a coincidence, I think, I spent my morning with the team today talking about our portfolio for next year.

  • Anything you want to tell us?

    You guys are going to figure it out anyway! It’s a good question. Rick and Hiroshi drive these efforts. But I try to spend time in a more stepped-back way on some of the bigger things they are doing over time.

  • When we think about your phones coming out, we think about are you competitive with the flagship Samsung devices? We think, are you competitive with the iPhones? But the bulk of the market is down there, at $399, $499. Is that where you want to be? Or do you want to go make a big flagship phone and take share away from the top of the market?

    The area where we have demonstrated the strongest value proposition, that’s why I gave the [Pixel] 3A example, it’s where we clearly have demonstrated it. But having said that, if you want to drive computing forward, that high end is where you’re going to also keep moving the needle. And it’s where we are putting a lot of our effort into. So you will continue to see us invest in both ends of the spectrum. We care all the way — [we’re] obviously working with our ecosystem [on] entry-level devices. I’m deeply passionate about that. But definitely, the high end is something where we’re putting in a lot of effort. That’s where some of the underlying investments pay. It accumulates over time because it takes two to three years to do some of the deeper investments you need to do it really well.

  • Are you seeing — especially now with everyone at home — are you seeing big changes in consumer behavior in terms of buying hardware? Is everyone going out and buying Nest cameras? Or they feel that they don’t need them because they’re at home anyway? Anything changing for you there?

    Obviously, on the software side, we have clearly seen impact in terms of usage across several of our products. Some products have been negatively affected, too. But we can clearly measure it. Hardware is a bit more complex because it’s really gated by the supply chain, [which] got affected for different products in different ways, and demand has definitely been affected, too. Some of it is to do with lack of retail working well and all that stuff. So I think it is tough to exactly forecast what demand will come back. So for me, it’s too early to tell.

  • Let’s skip into the broader business of Google and how it’s going. Dieter had the question about consumer behavior. I just had this guess, so I’m going to ask you: is Maps usage way down?

    Yeah, totally.You alone not using it is probably contributing. No, I’m just kidding.

  • And then in your broader business — obviously Google makes the bulk of its revenue in advertising. We have felt the effects of the advertising market changing. The whole world has felt the effects of the advertising market changing. How are you seeing those effects at Google? What are you doing to manage against them?

    I spoke about it in the earnings call. Compared to January and February, we clearly saw the impact in March. So for sure, Google is not immune to the global economy. In some ways, it’s representative across all sectors. So clearly, as entire sectors have been affected — travel being a particularly severe example of it — we have definitely felt that across the board.What’s interesting for us is, historically, compared to past cycles, search is something that is very highly ROI-driven, performance-oriented. And so advertisers adapt. They pull back quickly. We see demand shifts and people capitalizing on it. You will see activity in “office furniture” instantly, right then. So you can kind of see the economy adapt in real time. And so it’s fascinating to see it that way. But for sure, it’s definitely impacted our business.

  • In your earnings call, you hinted that this wasn’t going to turn around right away next quarter. We’re in for a tough time for a while. But coming out of this in however long it takes, do you think that the ad market is going to look substantially similar to what it looked like a year ago? Or are you thinking that things are going to fundamentally change in your ad business, or in your business generally, in a way that you’re able to look at now? Or is it just way too early to tell? It’s too hard to forecast?

    It’s the question, which is on a lot of our minds: What are the trends you are seeing which have reverted back to the mean? And what is it that is here to stay? Well, will travel ever return to what it was before? And so on. It’s obviously tough to predict with the nature of the virus, how long it’ll be. We generally assume the effects will be there for a while. I think that’s the right way to think about it. As a company, we assume that it’s going to take a while to recover, and [we’re] planning for it that way. But it’s a bit hard for me to say. Human needs are pretty fundamental, I think, in terms of being social, wanting to meet people. Personally, I can’t wait to be back in a... I wish I could go watch a football game or something. Would I like to go to a music concert? The answer is yes. So I think the innate human need is there. But I think it’ll be a while before we get back to it. So I expect it to be kind of a slow, steady recovery.

  • How are you thinking about the general push to reopen? At Google, you said people are going to work from home through 2020. What are you thinking about for Google? And then broadly, how are you thinking about this push to reopen, particularly in the United States?

    Early on, I felt we were one of the first to go to work from home, partly because I think it made sense for the health and safety of our employees. I felt that, given a lot of our work could be done from home, it made sense for us to contribute to social distancing. Clearly, the needs vary widely across different groups. We talked about hardware earlier — definitely having access to testing equipment, labs, it’s really important. You can’t test whether something works in 5G unless you can actually be in that testing environment. So it varies widely across teams. And we are going to be conservative on the return back for the broad company. When the local ordinance allows, I think we’ll probably start with trying to get 10 to 15 percent of the company back, prioritizing people who actually kind of need to be there. And that way, we can really have a de-densified environment and have a lot of safety procedures in place. And just because we are talking about 10 to 15 percent capacity doesn’t mean that many people — we can rotate and actually get more people in once or twice a week.And you have people in two different buckets. There are people who really want to come back, and they miss it. Especially at Google, for 20 years, we have genuinely invested in our physical spaces and the culture it creates with a view to having people work well together. And so I think there are people who miss that part of the experience, depending on what your personal situation is. And then there are people on the other side of the spectrum who want to be conservative. So we are trying to make that play out.But I expect by the end of the year, we’ll be at 20 to 30 percent capacity. Which may still mean we are able to get 60 percent of our employees in once a week, or something like that. And so that’s what we mean, where a vast majority of employees we think will likely work from home through the end of the year. But it’s a very fluid situation. If things, of course, look better, we will adapt to it. We want to be flexible. Trying to really understand what works, what doesn’t work in this.

  • Are you thinking longer term in terms of the number of people that might work from home or work remotely? Twitter just announced forever. You can work from home for as long as you want. Are you thinking in that way, too? Or are you going to wait and see how things play out?

    I want to be driven by data here, and so I view it as a research phase, and [we’ll] see where the data leads us. In some ways, I’m glad Twitter is running a kind of one-end-of-the-spectrum experiment. So thanks, Jack. It’s good to see that end of the spectrum. Productivity is down in certain parts, and what is not clear to me is — in the first two months, most of the people are already on projects in which they kind of know what they need to do. But the next phase, which will kick in is, let’s say you’re designing next year’s products, and you’re in a brainstorming phase, and things are more unstructured. How does that collaboration actually work? That’s a bit hard to understand and do. So we are trying to understand what works well and what doesn’t. We’re probably going to be conservative in it. We want to make sure things work well. But coming out of it all, do we all learn and have more flexibility in how we think about this? I think so, yeah. That’s how I would bet.

  • I’m going to take this moment to somehow transition and ask you about messaging strategy. I’m going to figure it out. You just come with me as we do it.

    How can I do a Verge podcast without thinking about our—

  • But there are some bigger competitors. There’s more consumer-focused companies that are succeeding, like Zoom. Is this a moment of clarity for you? To say, “We actually have to win this. We know what we need to do because we’re using our own products as much as we are.”

    It’s definitely an important moment. We brought Javier [Soltero] in a few months ago, before all this, with a clear view. So we had a clear sense of where we wanted to go, so some of the efforts were clearly underway, and in some ways, when COVID hit, we weren’t fully done with all the changes we had wanted to make. I think the irony of the Google Meet team working remotely to make and iterate the product to get it to where they wanted it to be was very interesting to see. Javier has a very, very long commute, and one of his biggest concerns was the commute when he was joining. He’s doing it all virtually now. But it is an important moment. Many schools, many organizations already use Google Meet. So we are doubling down.Obviously, COVID has blurred the lines between consumer and enterprise, and people are using products in all kinds of contexts. And so definitely, we are using it as an opportunity to make Google Meet and Google Chat, scale it up and make it more available. And obviously, we are a service provider [but] we are a platform, too. Hence RCS and all the work we are doing. RCS is where we are like United Nations. We try to herd a bunch of people. So it’s making better progress than it appears because you’re collecting so many people together on it. As people sign up, you will see more and more momentum. So all of that is coming together well, I think. I’m glad we realigned it, everything with Javier. He works both with our cloud team with Thomas [Kurian], and our platforms team with Hiroshi. And so I think we’ll get to the right place. I’m very excited.

  • In an age when Facebook is saying, “We are going to integrate all of our messaging products, and we’re going to put everything under full end-to-end encryption,” do you think that Google having multiple products in multiple contexts is still the way to go? Or do you think there needs to be more integration there?

    We definitely want to have a more integrated, simplified view, but in all scenarios, I see our platform offering. Android is open as part of the open platform stack. I think you need an open standard messaging framework. And we have to evolve that from its SMS days, and that’s RCS for me. And obviously, we’ll continue doing that in all scenarios because I think that’s part of building that open stack. I don’t see that changing. But in terms of our services, I want it to be as simplified for people as possible. And I think we’ve made great strides compared to where we were with Google Meet and Chat. Of course, we have Duo. We intended Duo for consumers and Google Meet and Chat for businesses, effectively. But the lines have blurred. And they share a lot of common underlying technology. They’re both built on WebRTC, and so there’s a lot of common work, and given its common teams, hopefully we can iterate. But some flexibility, I think it’s fine here.

  • We started out by talking about phones. One of the reasons Apple’s phones are so sticky is they have a great messaging product. Do you think that that is connected? You need a great sticky messaging product to move people over?

    Let me give a user answer and a technical answer, too. From a user standpoint, any Android phone you get, you always want a phone number-based messaging product, which you’re going to create, and you want something which comes with the platform, and we’re trying to align that. And that integration, I think is critical. And so I do feel it’s an important part and where Android has been behind. So I think it’s important there. Technically, different OEMs and different carriers having different RCS implementations was one of the biggest causes of fragmentation in Android. It caused real pain. So simplifying that is a tremendous multiplier in terms of productivity and efficiency and simplicity. And so for both reasons, I think, it’s important to invest, and get it right.

  • So we lured you here by saying we were going to talk about the pandemic. We’ve mostly talked about messaging. I want to make sure we talk about the pandemic.

    What a surprise.

  • I feel like your team prepped you well. You had to know this question was coming. I keep track every week of when Trump and his team held up the flowchart and said, “Some x thousand Google engineers are working on it.” Just walk me through that day. Did you expect that to come? The next day, Trump said someone from Google had called and apologized to him. Did that happen? Just what was that set of days like?

    Very early on through COVID, we decided as a company we should do everything [in] areas where our expertise could help. And so we had a wide set of efforts. I think there were two efforts, and we were in touch with the [White House] coronavirus task force. And there were two efforts, both in terms of what Google can do to provide more information, and Verily was working on a way to develop wide-scale testing, particularly with an emphasis on drive-through testing, with a focus on first responders. And we were in touch on both efforts. And so that’s what it was.Today, I think Verily right now is in 86 sites across 13 states. And that’s what that effort was. It’s obviously taken more time than most of us expected to get there, but there were real constraints along the way. But I think we’ve made a lot of progress. My view on this is, at a time of global pandemic, we want to do everything we can to help the US government succeed. And so we’re trying to play our role in it.

  • I’m just going to ask you directly: did you call President Trump and apologize?

    My discussions were with the task force, so that’s who I was talking to.

  • It’s quite a quote. It just struck me at that time that the distinction between Google and Verily was not being well-made. And so I think my follow-up here is: is that clearer now? You’re the CEO of Alphabet. Verily is under Alphabet. You’re also the head of Google.

    I think we were communicating across two areas. We were communicating both. I do feel like the onus is on us as a company to clarify and be clear in terms of how we are communicating. I don’t think we got everything right in terms of communicating across the two groups, which were talking back and forth. So I just wanted to make sure we were clear in terms of how we were communicating.

  • So what now is the relationship between Verily and Google? Do you still have volunteers working at the Verily project?

    Yes. Because they’re both under Alphabet, we view it as areas where we help. So sometimes Google is doing work on health care, Verily is doing health care. If we share resources where we need to, sometimes there could be an AI breakthrough from Google, which is what Verily uses to commercialize. But at a technical level, we can exchange ideas. At a regulatory level, we work together to have a compliance process, and all that framework we built in. But I’m excited at the progress Verily is making as well.

  • Do you find that separation, as sort of two separate companies under one umbrella, it’s still useful? Or has your thinking changed about the distinction between Alphabet company Verily and Alphabet company Google?

    It’s a good question. There are many areas where I find the distinction to actually help because when you take something like Waymo, and the timeframe it needs to operate in, [it’s] dealing with a very different set of issues than building a typical internet product. I like the fact that there’s structural separation, that the Google management team doesn’t have to sit and think through that breadth, and they can be more focused. And it allows us to play these different bets with the different characteristics they would need and different time horizons and so on. So Alphabet creates that flexibility. The underlying commonality across all of Alphabet is we think [there] has to be a deeper technology play — something based on some foundational technology to solve something. That’s the underlying commonality. Google is broadly focused on the internet space, and you know if [a problem] is distinctly different from that, and allows us to still apply the technology — maybe share common things like AI and our data centers but have the right structure, right incentives, right approach to go tackle that problem. And so I think it’s been really helpful to have that flexibility. I would expect sometimes we may look at something and say, “Hey, it’s in Google. Maybe it makes sense to be more in Alphabet” or vice versa. We created that structure to create that flexibility. Nest is a good example. It made more sense that it’s aligned closer with the hardware team, and obviously, there’s convergence there.

  • So there’s a couple big health initiatives inside the Alphabet umbrella. Verily is one of them. This is a moment, I think, for biotech, for health sciences. Would you say Verily is entirely now focused on COVID and the pandemic? Or is it one of many things it’s doing?

    It’s one of many things. There are a lot of folks there who are doctors and health care people. Obviously, by calling, they feel motivated to help at a moment like that. So there is a lot of focus. But they’re focused on areas like diabetes, a longer-term disease. So they’re clearly focused on other aspects of health care as well, and they will continue doing that. And so those are big doubled-up efforts already underway.

  • Google is doing a bunch of other stuff around the coronavirus and COVID-19. What are some of those other things outside of the website?

    It’s a big part. By now, we’ve committed over a billion dollars in various ways, be it grants to public health organizations, ad credits to small / medium businesses, and then working in each country through the official agencies’ direct loan programs to small / medium businesses as well. We have undertaken efforts on PPE. There’s the deep work we have done on ventilators out of Rick’s team. And obviously, our support for schools through products like Meet. We have provided Chromebooks. So it spans a wide variety of effort. And obviously, exposure notification, and the work in the contact tracing has a big effort, jointly with Apple as well.

  • Is it not often that Google and Apple collaborate at this level. How did that come about? What was your conversation with Tim Cook like? How’s it going in terms of the two companies working together?

    It’s been a really terrific effort. It started, I think both of us saw the problem and saw the opportunity to do something, and the teams had started working on it. And at the right point, you realize in this problem, particularly to do it well, we saw some of the earlier app efforts actually struggling to work well. And so we realized as platform providers, we really want to make it easy, and to make it work at scale, obviously with user consent and privacy protection. And the teams started talking, they saw an opportunity to do it better, so Tim and I connected, and we talked, and we said, “Let’s announce it jointly.” That helps clarify that we are going to approach it consistently. And so for public health organizations planning, we wanted to give a clear commitment and a framework that they can actually invest, and we’re going to support it as a platform. The teams talk multiple times a week across the two companies, and we are in conversations with public health organizations around the world. You will see there are large countries where they are fully developing a service on top of it. Our goal here is to have one more toolkit in all the efforts you need to manage COVID. We wanted to make sure we created the option value and add one more step in that toolkit.

  • When you’re on the phone with Tim Cook, what was a problem that needed the two of you to solve or decision that needed the two of you to make?

    One example I would give, when Tim and I talked, it was mainly actually deciding to just go public and lay it all out, earlier than both companies would normally do in a process like this. We would have probably normally waited to develop, hash out more issues fully. But we both realized, given the public nature of it, given the responsible conversation you need to have with many societal institutions as part of it, it was important that we put it out and shared details, and engaged in a conversation. So we basically made that decision, I think teams had maybe different timelines on when they should be announced. And so we talked through, and we decided to announce it sooner rather than later.

  • You and I have talked previously about Google’s responsibility when it comes to AI and making sure AI was ethical. With this, you’re in the middle of a pandemic, you’re in the middle of a whole bunch of different countries with their own health organizations. How do you think about your responsibility as the CEO of Google in this pandemic? Because from a certain perspective, it rises to a governmental level of a social contract with users. Or you could say, “No, no. We’re just a tech company.” So how do you see that?

    It’s a good question. It’s a one in 100-year kind of issue we are dealing with. So it’s important. I want to do everything we can [and] always be aware that we are a company, a private company, working through an extraordinarily public moment. We clearly have products, which people come and rely on, and so doing that well, both in terms of providing high-quality information and getting it right trumps everything as we handle that. And that is the biggest way by which we can do well. Beyond that, supporting our employees, supporting the communities we operate in, all that goes hand in hand. And then there are longer-term efforts where, because we have deep technological underpinnings, we can bring that technology to bear to support health care organizations and so on. But that’s the way I think about it. I think it’s an important moment where the big companies need to step up. But I think you need to do it in a construct in which you realize you’re a private company, and you’re one small part of big value chain to solve this.

  • there are some very old problems to solve here. Are people getting reliable information? Can they trust their leaders? Can they trust the companies they rely on? Google obviously provides a lot of information in search. You provide a lot of information in YouTube.Are you thinking you need to do something at that scale to manage the very old problems of reliable information on your platforms?

    It’s the foundation of what our company is built on. Search was designed across the web to surface the highest-quality information. So it’s something we’ve thought about for a long time. Obviously, the challenges have gotten more complex and harder, for sure. And so we have evolved our approaches, too. I’m following what everybody is doing with a lot of interest here. So for example, in YouTube, over the past maybe four years, we have definitely, for categories of information, relied on external experts. On violent extremism, we partner with counter-extremism organizations. So we tap their expertise to help shape our policies. And as we evolved our hate and harassment policies last year, we consulted many organizations. We took inputs. So I think relying on deep experts, other nonprofit institutions, governmental expertise, is a natural way we want to approach our work. And so I think to me, whether you set up an oversight board — I will look to see what the learnings from it are, and definitely going to study that. I think it’s important to understand that.I think we are going to be flexible. If we find something works, we will be really open to adopting it. But we also, I think directionally, have really worked hard to bring outside input in terms of policy definition and so on. So that’s how we generally think about it.

  • I want to just ask about how you are managing Google. Vergecast listeners know I tend to end all these interviews by saying, “How do you manage your time?” And that question, it used to have one kind of very clear set of answers. Now, it’s all different. So as CEO of Google, you’re obviously managing a giant company remotely. You’re dealing with governments. You’re dealing with your own employees. How are you currently just managing your time operating the company?

    I’ve tried to have two parallel tracks. One is explicitly, there’s a definite focus on COVID response. So I’m spending a significant chunk of my time on something like that, which I wasn’t spending two months ago. But also making sure the company operationally is focused on continuing to pursue all efforts they are doing and being able to compartmentalize, and do that, too. And so I’m making sure that our meetings just have a real sense of normalcy, and that’s why I gave the example of the earlier morning meeting today when I was reviewing our product plan for next year. It’s just a normal meeting, which I would have done. And so being able to do—

  • What surprised you in that meeting?

    It is just — timelines are hard to plan around. Your disruptions are kind of concerning. So when you plan timelines — and they’re for sure hard — it’s not a surprise. It’s what was different about the meeting.

  • I almost got you. I was this close.

    Almost. That’s why I’m laughing.

  • So you’re having meetings on sort of a normal cadence with a sense of normalcy. What else has shifted for you in how you’re managing your time?

    The art of doing this, and I’m actually talking to others who have worked from home before, and the line I heard was, “Working from home is as much about not working from home, too.” I think that’s been harder for IT. How do you draw the boundaries? I miss transitions giving me a chance to drive and think about stuff and process. And so on hand, it’s a bit more efficient because you can move across what we are doing right now might have taken a lot more time, maybe not as a podcast.But I miss the transition. I miss that space to think quietly. And so for me, that’s definitely something I need to progress better. But I’m managing my time. I have a clear sense of the major areas in the company I want to spend a percentage of my time [on]. I actually look back at my calendar every three months to see whether I spent my time on the things I wanted to spend. And I’ve always done that. So any aberrations that come out, I step back and think, “What can I do structurally to make sure I get back to how I want to spend my time?” So it’s a constant reiterative process. And sometimes you look back in horror, and you realize you got it wrong, and then you course-correct. So that’s how I think about it.

  • So the classic question I ask is “When do you work?” Because it’s a question I’m very focused on. It sounds like you did a lot of your time working and thinking in those transitions. How are you building that time now? Or is that something you’re just working on?

    It’s a good question. I’m trying to force-block times on the calendar, specifically to read and think. I think it’s hard to do. But actually block the time and do that. That’s how I had the time to watch your Galaxy A51 video. Sometimes just trying to understand what’s going on and spend time outside. So I think carving out that thinking time is one tool I have. But drawing boundaries is something I’m working on as well. Definitely picking up hobbies, which I never thought I had before. I made pizza last week from scratch, thanks to some YouTube cooking video. It turned out okay. And so things like that help.

  • As you look out over the course of this next year, over the course of the crisis unfolding, what are the leading indicators of change that you’re looking at that maybe other people aren’t looking at? Maybe that’s specific to Google, maybe it’s broader than that. But what are the signals that you see? You have access to a lot of signals. What are the signals you see that indicate change is coming, one way or the other?

    It’s effectively user pattern shifts, trying to understand — is telemedicine a real thing? Does it sustain? Or is it just something people do, and do people revert back to how they do things. So looking at recovery patterns and seeing where you’re actually seeing a difference, a long-run difference, is what we are trying to piece out and understand, where we can. And we’re very interested in how does work culture shift? How does travel and meetings shift for the long run? And hence its impact on things which will do well because of that, and things which will have to adapt. So shifts like that. Education is a big area where we are watching, and definitely I know you’ve been passionate about rural broadband and connectivity. To me, distance learning really identifies those gaps, too. And so figuring out how through both connectivity and computing we reach those things, is a long-run journey, I think, which we’re working on. But I think trying to get those snapshots of where things are changing and trying to be data-driven and adapt is something — I do think these are moments of opportunity as well to build a future. History shows through times like this because so many people are facing so many problems, entrepreneurs rethink things and solve things. So it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.

  • Do you see it differently around the world? You have access to a lot of data from around the world. Some parts of the world are in different states of this. What are you seeing around the world that is giving you an indication that things are going to change in the long term?

    One thing, which has been striking is — I don’t think in our lifetimes we have seen such a global moment where everyone seems to be going through a shared experience. That’s unique. So it’s kind of one of the few positives. It feels like a moment for humanity together as a whole. But for sure, when you look at places in Asia, which have gone through and come back, we do see some shifts in areas, like as people get used to ordering online, some of those effects seem — some of the shift stays. So we see trends like that. But I see a lot more common than not, which, to me, shows the commonality of humanity, more than how different we are. So there’s more common patterns I see rather than differences.

  • Can you tell us a little bit about the story of this video on the app that you've developed?

  • Talk to us a little bit about your own journey that connects these two countries (US-India) cultures and industries?

  • Talk to us a little bit about how you see google and India and what's the story, what's the narrative you see unfolding?

  • Some of the products that you have developed for the Indian market, certainly the app that we just saw, another one is the work that you are doing with breath um the bolo app for literacy for children, are these also innovations that you think have applications in other parts of the world and here in the Unites states?

  • One of the very important serious issues that we are grappling with it with deep geopolitical resonance is whats going on right now in the UK with the world cup cricket

  • Who do you think is gonna be the final match?

  • You have stated that privacy should not be a luxury good, share some thoughts with us on how the US India and other global systems can try to create an appropriate balance and are there ways that we can have a consensus and a convergent way of approaching this?

  • How you think of leadership and what are your views and values as a leader of a global company like Google?

  • You know I say that we are really inspired by you but there is a real puzzle to fix, one you are not a dropout, how can you be so successful and b), you're a good guy, don't you have to be slightly nasty to be successful?

  • I totally believe that. And I think, you reflected in your handling of Google, how you changed the ethos here, the kind of team work and people enjoying everybody's company and working together, right?

  • I am told we are actually in one of the buildings where not too many people come so we are very privileged to be here, and to go out in the main campus, two problems, one is security and b), you'll be mobbed.

  • That's just the kind of openness that you have, it's beautiful. One of the things that I love about Google Maps is, it lowers my tension. Because I know I'll take 42 minutes to go from here to there. I'm in a traffic jam. It doesn't matter, it's still 42 minutes. In the old days we said, 'oh God, I'm getting late', but now, traffic jams are within an overall scheme of things, thanks to Google Maps.

  • A lot of it was developed in India, right?

  • I don't have a Google map quite as big as this, look at that. This is where we are

  • One of the big things about Google campuses, you've got a food place every 20 yards. The best food in the world is here.

  • Let me just show you something from here in context to where we have just come from. That's California; you go right across the world to...

  • So we've come a long way, I feel the Google campus and NDTV look very similar.

  • Now tell me a little bit about what you really feel is the next big thing, which is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. You know there is a bit of controversy; you know there is the most dangerous thing, World War 3 will be caused by Artificial Intelligence, what are the dangers of artificial intelligence?

  • Give me an example of a danger.

  • So what is the probability or the percentage chance of World War 3 being caused by artificial intelligence? Because if humans get in their way, what do you do as designers, so you tell a robot or the AI to go from here to there whatever happens and then a human gets in the way?

  • You mentioned medical and genetics, medical community affects the world and everybody in a massive way and has a social impact. But they do have a lot of protocols and they do have FDA and all kinds of restrictions, while the beauty of the internet and companies like yours, it's a free world. So do you feel a little more self-regulation is needed for things like this?

  • Can you give us another example like that?

  • My environmentalist friends say the biggest causes of environment degradation are human beings, now robots may say, if human beings are creating a problem, get rid of them.

  • But you could, in some ways it's better than human beings at analyzing, so here's an AI, impartial, non-political machine, learning comes out of the forecast, the worries are big time.

  • I want to ask you about translations. I know you are going to have simultaneous translation, you can talk to anybody, you talk in your language, they talk in theirs. You are getting them, right?

  • October 4th you will announce something like that? Because that will have a mind-blowing impact on humanity, that you can go anywhere and talk to anyone you like.

  • India has done certain things that are being used around the world. For example you got lighter products because we have less bandwidth and less speed in India. Give us some examples of things worked on in India that are being used around the world.

  • The whole idea of lightness, you need to have much lighter apps and lighter systems. That is something a Chinese browser company discovered in India a long time ago and they've covered 60% of the market according to them. How are you tackling the Chinese? Because they're smart.

  • So when we talk about AI, privacy, it is a worry. How much privacy will companies like yours guarantee? Because there is something called data colonization. You have so much data. You know when I eat, whatever I do, what I like, because what I see, what I have done here I see elsewhere whenever I want to buy something.

  • So how important is data security and privacy?

  • Nobody can hack into it and suddenly..

  • You know, somehow, I feel and I totally believe that, and I trust Google and I use it without any hassle, but I worry about, I don't want to sound parochial, but will the Chinese or Russians have similar focus on privacy and security. Because we are using their browsers as well?

  • Totally agree with you. Will look after and America will really be at the forefront. But with this internet and data colonization will other countries do it, will India do it?

  • I hate to say but our politicians, I don't have the greatest faith in them. I mean they are not the most trusted in India by most surveys, and you know to get one against each other they could break that privacy. How does one stop that? It's a worry.

  • So Aadhaar, would you, one or two things you say that should be done to make Aadhaar, make us trust it. Our problem is people don't trust it, it's a great system but people don't trust it yet

  • But it is like EVMs in India, it's an area, I think that they are the most wonderful machines, they are not connected to the internet, can't be hacked, but nobody trusts them - I mean the losers don't trust them.

  • Okay, just to talk about an issue which you faced, a controversy here. It was, a person wrote - you have such an open system here - he wrote saying that women can't make good engineers and you sacked him. I totally agree with, or you may not agree with it, how far does freedom of speech go?

  • Yes it was a great debate. I was a little surprised because the USA prides itself on diversity. Look at California, it's fantastic. It boomed as a result of diversity. And yet there were people saying, you know, is this the new America? Is there change happening?

  • Yes it was a great debate. I was a little surprised because the USA prides itself on diversity. Look at California, it's fantastic. It boomed as a result of diversity. And yet there were people saying, you know, is this the new America? Is there change happening?

  • I totally agree with you and I think old America, not the old, but 5 years old, also has socially, there was a lot of diversity, a lot of drive in the diversity, support for diversity.

  • America has a wonderful education system and diverse society. Having said that I don't understand with this education, how did you vote Trump? I can't understand it, I am serious.

  • His reasons and causes of those problems were like it's those immigrants that are doing it. But that's not the real reason. But how did America, corporate and; anyway what he has done has made CNN its first billion dollar profit, he is the best thing that happened to media. But don't you feel...

  • Yes, and, he just didn't quite fit in with my view of America and I think Obama was just wonderful. You are nodding, you agree?

  • I am going to ask you rapid fire questions. I will ask you quick 10 questions and you have to give one word answers. In the time you spend every day, what percentage of time is managing people and what percentage is looking after technology?

  • So just looking quickly at the future, what is going to be your path? Google home or is it going to be a watch or how we move from the phone to something else?

  • Explain ambient computing.

  • What will you say if Sachin Tendulkar walks up to you? I know he's your favourite.

  • What would you say to him?

  • If she walked in just right now, what will you say to her? You interviewed her, right?

  • Okay I'm sure she'll learn a lot form that. Just in your daily life what's the last YouTube video you watched?

  • I used to hate seeing the headline, 'India goes down fighting', now we win.

  • Okay, one hint of what's going to come.

  • You practice a lot. Does it just come to you? You've been doing it for years.

  • No, no, you are actually almost interviewing me, two more questions on the rapid fire. What's a bad day for Sundar Pichai?

  • Bored of all these people who are taking you into meetings rather than letting you pin products. When you put your head on the pillow at night, what concerns you?

  • What we left for you is the pollution, but we left you democracy too.

  • Unfortunately we came in then then gave you the pollution. Last question, what you miss about not living in India? I mean you live in paradise, but what you miss not living here?

  • And when we talk about the democracy, diversity of India, the two big Ds, what's wonderful about India, the Democracy and the Diversity. Are you really worried the diversity maybe changing a bit, that not enough focus support for diversity that you have here, I mean Google is, but America too.

  • People might try to affect the diversity but you feel there is a...

  • You have always been optimist, that's why you build crazy ideas and they become reality.

  • In your time, when you were in IIT, religion didn't matter, caste didn't matter, you didn't know what people's castes were at that time, did you?

  • But not at the cost of diversity?

  • One thing that does worry us and I wonder what your answer to that will be, social media now, in India, is acting as a negative force, there is hate, there are rumours, false news, how do you tackle that?

  • At the moment it is a big worry, social media is just hate.

  • I hope we have the same solution that you've brought to this wonderful place over the years. I wanted to ask you what did they ask you when they interviewed you for CEO?

  • What did they ask you? Did anything unnerve you?

  • When and how did they tell you?

  • You knew where it was going but you were not 100% sure?

  • There’s three things I really want to talk about. One, how Google is handling the pandemic. Two, how your business is being impacted. And three, I talk to every CEO about how they manage their time, and I’m confident that managing a company the size of Google remotely has changed that. I want to talk about all that stuff. But there were two big stories about Google that are important [from last week]. I want to ask two questions about them right away. First, there’s a big NBC piece from April Glaser suggesting that your diversity efforts have been wound down [and] that the company is not even using the word “diversity” internally anymore. Is that true?

  • There’s part of that report, which is interesting to talk about, because we hear about it in regards to Facebook a lot, but I don’t know if we’ve ever really asked anybody at Google about it. It’s that criticism from the conservative side of the aisle is something you’re more responsive to with these initiatives, with how you’re running the company. Is that something you think about, in terms of who’s criticizing you from where?

  • So the other big story that hit yesterday, from the day we’re recording, was over at The Information, about Mario Queiroz and Marc Levoy quietly leaving the Pixel division, and the Pixel sales numbers maybe not being super great. Is the Pixel business living up to where you hoped it would be right now?

  • Yeah. I’ve asked you “How serious are you about hardware?” every year since you created the division, and sort of like with self-driving cars it’s, “Well, it’ll be a five-year timeframe, it’ll be a five-year timeframe.” That five-year timeframe always seems to be five years out. So when you say you’re in it for the long term, is that still the timeframe that you’re thinking of for [hardware] really bringing back really serious results in terms of big sales numbers or big influence in the market or are you looking for something more immediate?

  • So you’re the CEO of Alphabet now, in addition to Google. How much of your time do you actually even get to devote to hardware? Are you looking at prototypes? Is it just sort of one meeting in a week? Or is it a larger part of your time?

  • Anything you want to tell us?

  • That’s a cheap phone. He gave it a seven. The reason we reviewed it, it actually was the top-selling phone last quarter worldwide.

  • That’s the question here. When we think about your phones coming out, we think about are you competitive with the flagship Samsung devices? We think, are you competitive with the iPhones? But the bulk of the market is down there, at $399, $499. Is that where you want to be? Or do you want to go make a big flagship phone and take share away from the top of the market?

  • Are you seeing — especially now with everyone at home — are you seeing big changes in consumer behavior in terms of buying hardware? Is everyone going out and buying Nest cameras? Or they feel that they don’t need them because they’re at home anyway? Anything changing for you there?

  • Let’s skip into the broader business of Google and how it’s going. Dieter had the question about consumer behavior. I just had this guess, so I’m going to ask you: is Maps usage way down?

  • And then in your broader business — obviously Google makes the bulk of its revenue in advertising. We have felt the effects of the advertising market changing. The whole world has felt the effects of the advertising market changing. How are you seeing those effects at Google? What are you doing to manage against them?

  • In your earnings call, you hinted that this wasn’t going to turn around right away next quarter. We’re in for a tough time for a while. But coming out of this in however long it takes, do you think that the ad market is going to look substantially similar to what it looked like a year ago? Or are you thinking that things are going to fundamentally change in your ad business, or in your business generally, in a way that you’re able to look at now? Or is it just way too early to tell? It’s too hard to forecast?

  • How are you thinking about the general push to reopen? At Google, you said people are going to work from home through 2020. What are you thinking about for Google? And then broadly, how are you thinking about this push to reopen, particularly in the United States?

  • Are you thinking longer term in terms of the number of people that might work from home or work remotely? Twitter just announced forever. You can work from home for as long as you want. Are you thinking in that way, too? Or are you going to wait and see how things play out?

  • I’m going to take this moment to somehow transition and ask you about messaging strategy. I’m going to figure it out. You just come with me as we do it.

  • Google has historically been good at dogfooding and using its own products. Obviously, this is a moment to use these products in a way that maybe had never been stressed before. You added gallery view to Meet. That seems like a button that should have been there, and suddenly everybody realized it’s not there, and snap, it’s there. But there are some bigger competitors. There’s more consumer-focused companies that are succeeding, like Zoom. Is this a moment of clarity for you? To say, “We actually have to win this. We know what we need to do because we’re using our own products as much as we are.”

  • In an age when Facebook is saying, “We are going to integrate all of our messaging products, and we’re going to put everything under full end-to-end encryption,” do you think that Google having multiple products in multiple contexts is still the way to go? Or do you think there needs to be more integration there?

  • In an age when Facebook is saying, “We are going to integrate all of our messaging products, and we’re going to put everything under full end-to-end encryption,” do you think that Google having multiple products in multiple contexts is still the way to go? Or do you think there needs to be more integration there?

  • We started out by talking about phones. One of the reasons Apple’s phones are so sticky is they have a great messaging product. Do you think that that is connected? You need a great sticky messaging product to move people over?

  • I feel like your team prepped you well. You had to know this question was coming. I keep track every week of when Trump and his team held up the flowchart and said, “Some x thousand Google engineers are working on it.” Just walk me through that day. Did you expect that to come? The next day, Trump said someone from Google had called and apologized to him. Did that happen? Just what was that set of days like?

  • I’m just going to ask you directly: did you call President Trump and apologize?

  • It’s quite a quote. It just struck me at that time that the distinction between Google and Verily was not being well-made. And so I think my follow-up here is: is that clearer now? You’re the CEO of Alphabet. Verily is under Alphabet. You’re also the head of Google.

  • So what now is the relationship between Verily and Google? Do you still have volunteers working at the Verily project?

  • Do you find that separation, as sort of two separate companies under one umbrella, it’s still useful? Or has your thinking changed about the distinction between Alphabet company Verily and Alphabet company Google?

  • So there’s a couple big health initiatives inside the Alphabet umbrella. Verily is one of them. This is a moment, I think, for biotech, for health sciences. Would you say Verily is entirely now focused on COVID and the pandemic? Or is it one of many things it’s doing?

  • Google is doing a bunch of other stuff around the coronavirus and COVID-19. What are some of those other things outside of the website?

  • Is it not often that Google and Apple collaborate at this level. How did that come about? What was your conversation with Tim Cook like? How’s it going in terms of the two companies working together?

  • When you’re on the phone with Tim Cook, what was a problem that needed the two of you to solve or decision that needed the two of you to make?

  • You and I have talked previously about Google’s responsibility when it comes to AI and making sure AI was ethical. With this, you’re in the middle of a pandemic, you’re in the middle of a whole bunch of different countries with their own health organizations. How do you think about your responsibility as the CEO of Google in this pandemic? Because from a certain perspective, it rises to a governmental level of a social contract with users. Or you could say, “No, no. We’re just a tech company.” So how do you see that?

  • So that’s an interesting way of putting it because some of the problems you’re solving are new. We’re going to use the Bluetooth radios in everybody’s cellphone to do exposure notification. I think, historically, that’s a new idea. I don’t think people had that before. It’s obviously got a bunch of new problems to solve. On the flip side, there are some very old problems to solve here. Are people getting reliable information? Can they trust their leaders? Can they trust the companies they rely on? Google obviously provides a lot of information in search. You provide a lot of information in YouTube. There have been some massive coordinated disinformation campaigns on both of those platforms. Facebook just recently announced what amounts to a worldwide supreme court for free speech on its platform. Are you thinking you need to do something at that scale to manage the very old problems of reliable information on your platforms?

  • I want to just ask about how you are managing Google. Vergecast listeners know I tend to end all these interviews by saying, “How do you manage your time?” And that question, it used to have one kind of very clear set of answers. Now, it’s all different. So as CEO of Google, you’re obviously managing a giant company remotely. You’re dealing with governments. You’re dealing with your own employees. How are you currently just managing your time operating the company?

  • What surprised you in that meeting?

  • I almost got you. I was this close.

  • So you’re having meetings on sort of a normal cadence with a sense of normalcy. What else has shifted for you in how you’re managing your time?

  • So the classic question I ask is “When do you work?” Because it’s a question I’m very focused on. It sounds like you did a lot of your time working and thinking in those transitions. How are you building that time now? Or is that something you’re just working on?

  • As you look out over the course of this next year, over the course of the crisis unfolding, what are the leading indicators of change that you’re looking at that maybe other people aren’t looking at? Maybe that’s specific to Google, maybe it’s broader than that. But what are the signals that you see? You have access to a lot of signals. What are the signals you see that indicate change is coming, one way or the other?

  • Do you see it differently around the world? You have access to a lot of data from around the world. Some parts of the world are in different states of this. What are you seeing around the world that is giving you an indication that things are going to change in the long term?

  • How were the childhood days during growing up in Chennai?

    There was a simplicity to my life, which was very nice compared with today’s world. We lived in a kind of modest house, shared with tenants. We would sleep on the living room floor. There was a drought when I was growing up, and we had anxiety. Even now, I can never sleep without a bottle of water beside my bed. Other houses had refrigerators, and then we finally got one. It was a big deal. But I had a lot of time to read. I was processing a lot. I read whatever I could get my hands on. I read Dickens. Friends, playing street cricket, reading books — that was kind of the totality of life. But you never felt lacking for anything.

  • What was it like coming over to attend Stanford?

    It was the first time I had ever been on a plane. I always wanted to be in the Valley. I kind of knew that’s where everything happened. I remember landing in California, and I stayed with a host family for about a week. I was in the car going from the airport, and was like, “Wow, it’s so brown here.” The family was like, “We like to call it golden.”When I was back at I.I.T., I had access to the computer so rarely — maybe I’d been on it three or four times. To come and just have these labs in which you had access to computers and you could program, it was a big deal to me. I was so wrapped up in that, that to some extent I didn’t understand there was a much bigger shift happening with the internet

  • You started at Google 14 years ago. Does it still feel like the same company you joined?

    When I first joined Google I was struck by the fact that it was a very idealistic, optimistic place. I still see that idealism and optimism a lot in many things we do today. But the world is different. Maybe there’s more realism of how hard some things are. We’ve had more failures, too. But there’s always been a strong streak of idealism in the company, and you still see it today.

  • What’s your approach to technology and screen time with your family?

    When I come home on a Friday evening, I really do want to let go of my devices for a couple days. I haven’t quite succeeded in doing that. At home, our television is not easily accessible, so that there is “activation energy” before you can easily go watch TV. I’m genuinely conflicted, because I see what my kids learn from all this. My son is 11 years old, and he is mining Ethereum and earning money. He’s getting some insight into how the world works, how commerce works. Every generation is worried about the new technology, and feels like this time it’s different. Our parents worried about Elvis Presley’s influence on kids. So, I’m always asking the question, “Why would it be any different this time?” Having said that, I do realize the change that’s happening now is much faster than ever before. My son still doesn’t have a phone.

  • Why does it seem so easy for tech companies like Google to ban pornography and graphic violence from social media platforms, but so much harder for them to root out propaganda, misinformation and disturbing content aimed at kids?

    There are areas where society clearly agrees what is O.K. and not O.K., and then there are areas where it is hard as a society to draw the line. What is the difference between freedom of speech on something where you feel you’re being discriminated against by another group, versus hate speech? The U.S. and Europe draw the line differently on this question in a very fundamental way. We’ve had to defend videos which we allow in the U.S. but in Europe people view as disseminating hate speech. Should people be able to say that they don’t believe climate change is real? Or that vaccines don’t work? It’s just a genuinely hard problem. We’re all using human reviewers, but human reviewers make mistakes, too.

  • An estimated 20,000 Googlers participated in a sexual harassment protest this month. What’s your message to employees right now?

    People are walking out because they want us to improve and they want us to show we can do better. We’re acknowledging and understanding we clearly got some things wrong. And we have been running the company very differently for a while now. But going through a process like that, you learn a lot. For example, we have established channels by which people can report issues. But those processes are much harder on the people going through it than we had realized.

  • Do you worry that Silicon Valley is suffering from groupthink and losing its edge?

    There is nothing inherent that says Silicon Valley will always be the most innovative place in the world. There is no God-given right to be that way. But I feel confident that right now, as we speak, there are quietly people in the Valley working on some stuff which we will later look back on in 10 years and feel was very profound. We feel we’re on the cusp of technologies, just like the internet before.

  • Do you still feel like Silicon Valley has retained that idealism that struck you when you arrived here?

    There’s still that optimism. But the optimism is tempered by a sense of deliberation. Things have changed quite a bit. You know, we deliberate about things a lot more, and we are more thoughtful about what we do. But there’s a deeper thing here, which is: Technology doesn’t solve humanity’s problems. It was always naïve to think so. Technology is an enabler, but humanity has to deal with humanity’s problems. I think we’re both over-reliant on technology as a way to solve things and probably, at this moment, over-indexing on technology as a source of all problems, too.

  • How do you approach in China, where Google is considering returning to the market with a search engine?

    One of the things that’s not well understood, I think, is that we operate in many countries where there is censorship. When we follow “right to be forgotten” laws, we are censoring search results because we’re complying with the law. I’m committed to serving users in China. Whatever form it takes, I actually don’t know the answer. It’s not even clear to me that search in China is the product we need to do today

  • What’s your leadership style?

    I believe in working with people who share your vision for making a difference. Then half your job is done. You effectively have people who share your aspiration. Bringing people like these and then empowering them. At the practical level, it’s (about) staying out of the way. When coordinating such a large ecosystem like Android, people need to share your concerns.

  • Will we see the Chrome OS and Android OS merging at some point?

    We invest both in Android and Chrome. Computing is integral to people’s lives. The onus is on us to deliver more useful things to them. We have a huge opportunity across Android to make computing more useful. We are investing in both areas, and we will converge organically. In L (the new Android L release is an update that will offer Google’s new design, improved battery life, enhanced security features and smarter notifications), we are doing a lot of work on making Android and Chrome integrated with the rest of our offerings. So while there will be a unifying experience across services, Chrome OS and Android One won’t be a single OS since they have unique attributes.

  • Was there any incident which you may recall during your college days at IIT Kharagpur?

    As a freshman, couple of weeks into being here.. I came from Chennai. I had learnt Hindi in school but never spoke much. Just listening to other people, I thought that’s how you address people. One day, there was someone in the mess, and I had to call him, and I called him Abey Saale. In my first couple of weeks I thought you call people that way. Next thing, I know folks in the mess were quite upset, and they closed down the mess temporarily.

  • Can you share the incident when you went for the interview at Google?

    I interviewed at Google on April 1, 2004, which is April Fool’s Day. Google had just announced Gmail and it was invite-only. But people weren’t exactly sure if it was an April Fool’s joke. So, I remember doing my interviews during the day and people kept asking me what do you think of Gmail, but I didn’t have a chance to use it and I thought it was an April Fool’s joke.

  • You were an IITian. What you want to say to those students who are preparing to get into IIT or failed to get admission?

    It's shocking that people start preparing for IITs in their 8th grade. It's absolutely okay if you don't make it to IITs. Life is much bigger than that and it really doesn't matter whether you are from IIT or not.

  • What is your view on the education system in India?

    Education system in India is made in such a way that students have to follow set rules. I think it is more important to try different things, take more risks and students should follow their passions more.

  • You have achieved tremendous success in life. How does it feel?

    I might be leading one of the biggest tech giants in the world, but my father still does not consider me as a true engineer because i cannot fix his old computer. My relatives keep pestering me, asking if i really work at a top notch software company, why can't i get free antivirus for them.

  • How does Google reconcile the tension between building seamless products that help users accomplish their goals easily and ensuring their privacy?

    I actually think they are not necessarily at odds with each other. Great design can help affect privacy and ensure well-being. For example, hush mode in Android—being able to place your phone down [for] “do not disturb”—is a good example of that. If you go to our “My Account” page, we’ve done a lot around privacy settings for our users. Over time we can do more and more. I think things like voice give you new affordances for better control.

  • Is it mandatory to go to the West to become a Tech Star?

  • Is there any possibility of companies like Google could be established in India?

  • This mentality of “Think Big” has inside you. Was this developed from your childhood days or it was nurtured when you set your foot at the U.S.?

  • Is Google a fun place or its a place for workaholic?

  • Did you ever feel insecure in your field and feeling some people are better than you?

  • Google has installed free wifi services across 400 railway stations in India. What is the reason behind such initiative and India will benefit from such services?

  • What will Google do to involve women in technology as there are few women in the app ecosystem?

  • How is your vision for Google different from that of Larry Page and Sergey Brin?

  • Why some of the Google’s biggest services are still not available in India?

  • Where do you see Google in the next thirty years?

  • What is your view on the Artificial Intelligence as there are contradictions on this issue?

  • China is another nation who has a strong presence in the Technology leadership. What do you think about this?

  • What is your view on Data Security of the users?

  • There is a controversy growing up in India regarding the Aadhar card issue of its misuse besides its benefits. What do you think about this?

  • Being a CEO and also a techwizard, which part of your time is spent more on looking people and technology?

  • What worries Sundar Pichai?

  • You are in US for a long time. Borned and raised in India what do you miss about the country most?

  • There is a growing tendency of hatred comments, fake news on the world of social media. How google is working in filtering those negativities?

  • What is your morning routine like?

  • What is your favourite feature of Google Home?

  • Alphabet Inc (GOOG) CEO, Google LLC Sundar Pichai Sold $10.2 million of Shares

    CEO, Google LLC of Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Sundar Pichai sold 10,000 shares of GOOG on 01/02/2019 at an average price of $1023.13 a share. The total sale was $10.2 million. Alphabet Inc is a provider of internet content products and portals. Its suite of brands includes Search, Android, YouTube, Apps, Maps & Ads. Alphabet Inc has a market cap of $725.48 billion; its shares were traded at around $1038.50 with a P/E ratio of 39.48 and P/S ratio of 5.74. Alphabet Inc had annual average EBITDA growth of 16.60% over the past ten years. GuruFocus rated Alphabet Inc the business predictability rank of 3-star.