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Google's Larry Page over the moon about Glass and other moonshots

July 19, 2013|By Jessica Guynn
(David Paul Morris / Bloomberg…)

SAN FRANCISCO -- Google Chief Executive Larry Page isn't living in the moment -- that moment being not so great, what with the average rate for ads in the second quarter falling 6% when analysts thought they'd fall 3%.

Page says he's living in the future. Google will continue to invest in all of those highly risky, long-term bets such as high-altitude balloons to bring Internet access to remote areas, self-driving cars and, of course, Glass, he told analysts during a second-quarter earnings call Thursday.

So far, Google cofounder Sergey Brin has had the role of Glass cheerleader.

Brin has a pair constantly perched on his nose. He has worn Glass to the Oscars and in the Hollywood film "The Internship," and last year he stole the show at Google's annual developers conference in San francisco by skydiving onto the roof wearing Glass.

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But now that Google is gearing up to release Glass to the public early next year, Page is stepping out in Glass, too, recently making quite the splash walking a bridesmaid down the aisle at a wedding in Croatia while wearing the computerized glasses.

"I love using Glass because I feel like every time I'm using Glass I'm living that future, that's really, really exciting to me," Page said Thursday.

Of course, this is nothing new for Page who has been dreaming up far-out schemes like Glass since his days in graduate school at Stanford.

"Some people want to work on crazy things, want to change the world with 10 of their friends," Page said.

Some of those "crazy things" become bona fide successes. Think Gmail, Chrome and the mother of them all, Android.

Page says that with its Google X research laboratory, Google is again poised to come up with some moonshots that take flight.

"I look across the portfolio and we are doing quite well, and I am excited about it," Page said.

Will those efforts turn into profitable billion-dollar businesses for Google? Hard to think of anything that could rival its cash cow search advertising business.

"It's always a mistake to think that technology will be static," Page said. "Our main job is to figure out how to invest more and create greater outcomes for the company."

Not on the list of major breakthroughs but something else Page expressed excitement about: the upcoming Moto X smartphone from Motorola, which is owned by Google.

"I think they're working hard on making good products. We're really excited about it. They're excited about it," Page said. "You'll get to try it out really soon."

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