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 Interview de Larry Page et Sergey Brin, fondateurs de Google
22 juillet 2003

Retranscription d'une interview TV par Gary Price de ResourceShelf
Pour TRADUIRE en français

Larry Page:
"You think Google is good,
I still think it’s terrible..."
Larry Page Google

This article and the transcription of the TV talk are the work of Gary Price from ResourceShelf

Sergey Brin and Larry Page on TV: A Conversation at a Recent Conference
During the D: All Thing Digital Conference (held in late May) Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page* sat down with Walt Mossberg of the WSJ to talk about the company. The "D" Conference was an "executive conference" organized by The Wall Street Journal. Yesterday, CNBC aired a small portion of this conference session on television. Here are a some notes and quotes from the broadcast.
* Sergey Brin is Co-Founder & President, Technology
(CTO) of Google. Larry Page is Co-Founder & President, Products.

All questions asked by Walt Mossberg.

Q. “Why would people buy ads on Google if they can’t be disguised as search results which everyone else offers them a chance to do”?
Brin: “Ads are useful part of the product.”
Brin: Important that they be distinguished and clearly maked as advertising. Often times they are great results.
Brin: Sometimes it’s something I’m specifically searching for to buy like a green laser pointer.
Brin: “I think you run into problems when the distinction is not clear”.
Brin: Ads are a good revenue stream for us and other companies that use ads AdWords product. Ads worked so well that we are now running them on non-search sites.

Brin: Explains how AdWords operates.
Brin: “Those [ad] links will be relevant to whatever you’re searching”
Brin: “It’s not a perfect product yet.” Example of news story of boy drowning in washing machine and links to by washing machines showing up.
Brin: “We’re getting the kinks out”

Editors Note : I've noticed many of the problems Brin talks about with Google ads on Amazon.Com. These are the links labeled "Customers interested in this title may also be interested in". Here's a page from Amazon for a book about people who were killed on September 11th. The book's entry in the Amazon database features a Google ad for cheap airline tickets. Here are two other examples. First, included on a page for a book about Air Force One an ad for athletic shoes. Second, listed on a page for a book about adolescent drugs use, an ad for a sod merchant. You'll find the same ad for sod on this page for Walt Whitman's, Leaves of Grass

and another example. This one from the 7/8/03 Washington Post
Google Ads, A Democratic Presidential Hopeful, and the Drudge Report (2nd Item)
Ads for Democratic hopeful John Kerry have appearing on the Drudge Report. From the article, Yesterday Kerry spokesman Chris Lehane told us that ad was mistakenly placed on by Google, which has a contract with the Kerry campaign to direct ads to various Web sites based on their editorial content and audience. Drudge has published a great many items about Kerry, but none has been particularly flattering. The ads had has been remocvd and the Kerry campaign will now approve where ads are placed.

Q. “How do you guys make any money?”
Page: We have a large number of advertisers, over 100,000.”
Page: “We make a lot of money on advertising. The maket is estimated at a couple of billion dollars”… “we have a good chunk of that.”
Page: “We do provide search services to companies like Yahoo.”
Mossberg: “Not for long it sounds like.”
Page smiles and shrugs his shoulders.
Brin: “You’ll have to ask Terry [Semel].”

Page: “We also have a search enterprise box.”

Q: “Is advertising your biggest source of revenue?”

Page: “It’s a very large source of revenue.”
Brin: Advertising is the largest but we include in that are entire network.”

Q. Don’t the companies that advertise what to show pictures of their products and all that?”

Page mentions that prior to the text ads they had many offers to run banners.
Page: “It was a big temptation to take the money.”
Page: Noticed the click-thru rates on banners were low.
Page: “We had this big leap of faith and we said we’re going to sell text ads. The business people looked at us like we were crazy founders. Which we were of course. And it turned out that it was a really good bet. It wasn’t very obvious at the time. We were very lucky.”

Q. Is their a way you’re going to make Google better?
Page: ‘You [Mossberg] think Google is good, I still think it’s terrible. There is a huge number of questions that you can ask Google, you know, like before that before it might have been difficult to buy a steel building which are very very easy to do now and are almost trivial. It’s a wonderful thing. There’s still a huge number of things that we can’t answer. You might have a more complicated question. Like why did the GNP of Uganda decline relative to the weather last year? You type that into Google, the keywords for that, and you might get a reasonable answer. But there is probably something there that explains that, which we may or may not find. Doing a good job doing search is basically artificial intelligence, we want it to be smart."

Comments from ResourceShelf after watching the program.
1) Walt Mossberg needs to realize that most if not all of the major engines do label advertising on search result pages. However, as this new study from Consumer WebWatch points out, users are still having many problems understanding how engines work.
2) I think that at least for the time being the using specialized databases, fee-based services, and yes, even books is still necessary. Page's example of accessing an analysis of the GNP of Uganda illustrates that using Google is also limited by the content on the "open web". What do I mean? You can have powerful search technology but if the content/potential answer is not in the database the technology makes no difference. The answer to Larry's example question might be on the open web (you'll then need to analyze for credibility and currency) but it also might exist in a publication not available on the open web for free. For example, the answer might be found in an EIU publication that costs money (yes, some info still costs $) to access (or available at your corporate or academic library). It also might be in a database not accessible to Googlebot or heck, an answer might even be found in a book. I don't see the British Library, The Library of Congress, and other national libraries being fully digitized any time soon. Another service database aggregators like Dialog, ProQuest, and Gale can offer is the ability to package and search disparate fee-based databases simultaneously. An example aimed at business researchers is Gale's Business and Company Resource Center. Btw, some of you in the U.S. and Canada have access to this database via your public library. In many cases you can access "via the web" without having to go to the library building. It's free! How much time are people wasting searching Google and other open web engines for material that doesn't exist in its database or could be accessed in less time using a specialized database (fee or free) or book ?
Direct LINK to This ResourceShelf Post

All this article and the transcription of the TV talk are the work of Gary Price from ResourceShelf

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