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Google's Grand Ambitions


Page went on to talk about Chrome, which now has over 750 million users, and "is super fast and secure, works seamlessly across devices. Open a map on your desktop; when you switch to your mobile device, the same tab will be open so you can pick up right where you left off."

The next major initiative for Google after desktop search has been the prolific nature of Android, with now more than 1 billion Android devices having been activated in the past six years. As the company moves Android into other arenas, including wearable devices, Page noted the opportunity for developers to earn significantly more money than in the past (earning four times more on average in 2013 than in 2012), allowing users to do so many more things than they have in the future.

Even though Android is the most popular operating system, ahead of Apple's (AAPL - Get Report) iOS, the problem for developers has always been this: build for Google, but actually make money with Apple.

Now that Google finally has the Google Play store in one location, and it's adding content all the time, the company is seeing the benefits of that. More importantly, so are consumers. "Start listening to a song on your tablet and when you switch to your mobile it will be there (as you can see there is a theme emerging here!)."

He also talked about Chromecast, Google's answer to Apple TV, Roku and other streaming devices, which allows people to watch movies from Netflix (NFLX) or from Google Play, wherever you are, using what you already own. The best part about it, according to Page? It costs just $35.

Page, not one for being shy when it comes to big bets and "moonshot" projects, noted Google is working with other companies to invest in the long-term, particularly as it relates to health. He mentioned Calico, a company being led by Apple's chairman and former Genentech CEO Art Levinson, as well as the aforementioned smart contact lens, affectionately known as Iris, and the recent acquisition of Nest.

Part of Google's problem has always been that it did one thing, search, exceptionally well, and everything else was funded by that operation. The company didn't really care about how things looked, that was Apple's concern. However, since taking back the CEO role a few years ago from Eric Schmidt, Page has placed an increased focus on design of products, though Google is still second-class in this when it comes to Apple. Now, Page is actively working on increasing the aesthetics of Google products, to match the simplicity of the Google homepage, which has worked so well for so many years: "The more choices you throw at people (even if they never use them), the longer it takes them to get stuff done. People still talk about the simplicity of the Google homepage, and that was a huge part of our original success. There's no reason the same principles can't apply across our products, especially now, with so many devices and options, and so much opportunity for distraction."

Outside of search and a mobile operating system that now has over 1 billion users, Page wants to get everyone on the Internet connected, a desire also shared by Facebook (FB), with its Internet.org initiative.

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While this may be self-serving, as more people on the Web means more people on Facebook and more people using Google Search, Page hyped up Project Loon as something that benefits mankind, and not just Google shareholders. "The idea is to create a network of balloons on the very edge of space (they fly about twice the altitude of commercial airlines) that can provide connectivity in rural and remote areas.  Soon there will be a classroom in northeast Brazil we are working to put online for the first time, using Loon. And as the program expands, we hope to bring the power of connection to more and more people-creating opportunities that none of us have yet imagined."

Also See: Here's What Google Is Working on Next

Also See: Google Glass Goes on Sale Again!

--Written by Chris Ciaccia in New York

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