Larry Page talks about Google's future at TED
At the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference in Vancouver, Google co-founder Larry Page spoke of the company's future and advancements the US government could be making.
Page criticised the government for its mass surveillance programme, stating that "It is disappointing that the government secretly did this stuff and didn't tell us about it", yet added that consumers need to accept that a new era of open data is inevitable as technology advances.
Google looks to improve computing
In January this year, Google purchased UK start up Deep Mind in its largest European acquisition to date which cost the company a total of $400m (£242.35m). At TED, Page spoke to US chat show host Charlie Rose about why Google has begun investing in machine learning and what it hopes to achieve in coming years. Page said:
"I was looking at search and trying to understand how to make computers less clunky and also thinking about how speech recognition is not very good...We are still at the very early stages with search. Computers don't know where you are and what you are doing...It was really exciting, we have not been able to do this before."
Page added that Google is already working on its own machine learning project, using YouTube to "teach" computers.
Google and the government
Following the surprise appearance from whistleblower Edward Snowden at TED, Page was asked about the revelations made as well as Google's own data collection policies that have seen the company come under fire from European regulators. Mr Page responded with:
"It is not possible to have a democracy if we have to protect our users from the government. The government has done itself a tremendous disservice and we need to have a debate about it...We are not thinking about the tremendous good that can come with sharing information with the right people in the right ways."
Page supported his statement by suggesting that if currently anonymous medical records were made available to researchers "it could save 100,000 lives this year".
Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword said: "Google has invested a lot in ventures beyond search in recent years, including project Loon which hopes to provide internet access to third world countries using balloons.
"However, as comfortable as Google may be with its data collecting policy, is the world ready for complete unfettered access to consumer data?"