Google hosted a meeting Thursday with analysts at its headquarters. Here are some interesting highlights.
Sergey Brin: "We are currently not planning on conquering the world. (Be careful, Sergey, Schmidt said.) On the question of China, that was an issue dear to my heart. I was born in Moscow during the Communist era...(Google decided not to censor its search results and, as a result, users often couldn't reach it because of government control.) We gradually came to the realization, to the fact, that we were hurting not just ourselves but the Chinese people. Having spent time talking to people who were in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and human rights organizations...we eventually came to the conclusion that we were doing a greater disservice to the Chinese people. We'll see how that evolves."
Question: "Seems like every time you launch a new product, it has to be taken off because of user demand. Where is the competitive advantage here?"
Brin: "The servers are very largely utilized. We haven't communicated as clearly about the servers (used for new products and tests) as we should have... Servers are not meant to be full production servers, but to be test servers."
Question: "Google payment has been expanded to Google Base. How will it be expanded to other advertisers, like click-per-call? Is it a threat to PayPal?"
Schmidt: "There's been a lot of speculation. We are on the record saying that we are not intending to compete with PayPal...It makes no sense to compete with what others are doing well...eBay and PayPal are very good partners to us. Google's payments approach is a tactic to solve an important problem--to have an ad turn into a purchase. The quicker we can automate that--including payment, fulfillment, etc.--the more sales there'll be."
Question: "Can Google explain how to link search with traditional media and work with the ad industry in ways that media will not consider threatening?"
Brin: "Magazines are excited. This gives them a way to sell inventory that they couldn't sell before."
Schmidt: "We're trying to bring our targeting and analytical technologies to industries that didn't have them before." That can be a significant revenue driver. Advertisers don't really want to just be on text ads and just on Google. All are amenable to higher targeting and better analytics.
You can find the webcast at http://investor.google.com/webcast.html.