Google co-founder Larry Page has been the company's CEO for about a year now. So apparently he decided it was time to give an update on the company's products and its overall status. In a lengthy post on Google's Investor Relations web site, Page writes up front that when he first started as CEO, he had a number of changes he wanted to make. Those changes included shutting down or combining over 30 Google products in the past year, including the Picnik web site, Knol and Sidewiki.
One of the first new projects that launched in Page's first year as CEO was the Google+ social networking service. Page states that Google+ now has "well over 100 million" active users and that Google+ Stream has generated "over one million followers." He also states that Google+ has been integrated into over 120 Google products, including Google Search, YouTube and Android.
Page also talks about how Google has improved and added new features for its search product. He believes that intergration with Google+ will help users get a better search experience. He uses the example of a long time Google employee, Ben Smith. Since that name is very common, Page says it would normally be hard to find information about the Ben Smith he knows that works for Google. He states:
Google+ helps solve this problem for us because it enables Google to understand people and their connections. So when I search for Ben Smith, I get the real Ben Smith (for me), right there in my search box, complete with his picture. Previously, the search box would just have had the series of letters I had typed, with no real understanding that I was looking for a unique person.
Page then talks about the Android mobile OS, saying that 850,000 Android devices are now being activated each day. He also touches on the upcoming merger with Motorola, saying that even with this acquisition, Android will still be available for other device makers. He states, "Android was built as an open ecosystem, and we have no plans to change that."
Page also talks about Google taking on what might be considered by some as risky ventures. He mentions the launch of the Chrome web browser as an example, saying, "In 2008, people asked whether the world really needed another browser. Today Chrome has over 200 million users and is growing fast, thanks to its speed, simplicity, and security."
Much has been made in the past few months about Google's changes in its privacy policies. In his update today, Page addresses those issues, saying:
Users place a lot of trust in Google when they store data, like emails and documents, on our systems. And we need to be responsible stewards of that information. It’s why we invest a lot of effort in security and related tools for users, like 2-step verification and encryption, which help prevent unauthorized access to information. The recent changes we made to our privacy policies generated a lot of interest. But they will enable us to create a much better, more intuitive experience across Google—our key focus for the year.
Page also repeats Google's well known mantra, saying, "We have always believed that it’s possible to make money without being evil." He concludes his update with an optimistic look at Google's future, saying:
Today the opportunities are greater than ever. Things we used to think were magic, we now take for granted: the ability to get a map instantly, to find information quickly and easily, to choose any video from millions on YouTube rather than just a few TV channels. People are buying more devices and using them more because technology is playing an increasingly important role in our lives. I believe that by producing innovative technology products that touch people deeply, we will enable you to do truly amazing things that change the world. It’s a very exciting time to be at Google, and I take the responsibility I have to all of you very seriously.