Google was incorporated on September 4, 1998, though the occasion has long been celebrated on September 27. CEO Sundar Pichai shared his thoughts today on Google turning 25 and what the future holds.
Addressed to users, Googlers, and partners, the letter is split into several sections, starting with a personal anecdote and how “an essential truth of innovation is that the moment you push the boundary of a technology, it soon goes from extraordinary to ordinary.”
That’s why Google has never taken our success for granted.
A lot of the message is devoted to Search and how it’s “still at the core of our mission” with “so much more to do.” The historical framing of past challenges that Google has faced (and overcome) is quite interesting in the context of what the company is facing today.
We’ve also faced hard questions about our future as a company. In the 2000s it was how long can the web really last? In the 2010s, people asked if we could adapt to the era of mobile computing, and whether search was “over?” Each time, we’ve answered by coming back even stronger. We’ve done this guided by a singular focus on our mission, our belief in applying deep computer science to make people’s lives better, and a healthy disregard for the impossible.
Of course, AI is discussed in depth, with the CEO acknowledging how this is “bigger than the shift from desktop computing to mobile, and it may be bigger than the internet itself.”
It’s a fundamental rewiring of technology and an incredible accelerant of human ingenuity.
Pichai says making it “more helpful for everyone, and deploying it responsibly, is the most important way we’ll deliver on our mission for the next 10 years and beyond.” That decade-long timing speaks to how we’re still very much in the early days of its adoption.
Our search for answers will drive extraordinary technology progress over the next 25 years.
And in 2048, if, somewhere in the world, a teenager looks at all we’ve built with AI and shrugs, we’ll know we succeeded. And then we’ll get back to work.
Other highlights include an overview of Google’s personal computing efforts:
- “Today, Android runs on 3 billion devices all over the world, from the latest foldables to entry-level phones. It’s been at the core of our efforts to make the internet more accessible for everyone, and inspired other, transformative products.”
- “Likewise, Chromebooks made computing available to schools all over the world.”
- “And Google Pixel puts the best of our latest technology — machine learning-powered cameras, speech recognition, transcription capabilities, tensor chips and more — directly into people’s hands.”
The ads model is discussed:
Our advertising platforms and tools started out with a premise as simple as Search itself: to help businesses reach customers who were already looking for the kinds of products and services they offer. It was a platform that appealed to small businesses in particular, like the mail-order business selling lobsters that was the first to sign up. And also like Search itself, the ability for any business to advertise online has had a truly transformational impact, helping millions of businesses become part of the digital economy.
There was also a fun acknowledgment of Google Wave (but not Google+):
Of course, not every question we asked ended up as a success. In any 25-year journey, you take a few lumps, learn the lessons and work to do better. Remember Google Wave?
Augmented reality is also not mentioned.
You can read the full letter here.