Lesson #2: Look To the Future

“We are targeting innovation,” says Page. “The dream as conceived 25 years ago has not been achieved. Until software becomes the ultimate tool for collaboration, productivity, and efficiency, the work is not done. And there's nothing more fun than doing that work.”

Despite having created what can no doubt be considered one of the most successful Internet companies in history, Page and Brin are not content with their success. “It's clear there's a lot of room for improvement,” says Brin. “There's no inherent ceiling we’re hitting up on.” Google became an Internet giant by innovating, by looking into the future and anticipating a need. Today, the company continues to do just that, realizing that the door to greater opportunities is an ever-opening one.

“Your mind is tremendously efficient at weighing an enormous amount of information,” says Brin. “We want to make smarter search engines that do a lot of the work for us. The smarter we can make the search engine, the better. Where will it lead? Who knows? But it’s credible to imagine a leap as great as that from hunting through library stacks to a Google session, when we leap from today’s search engines to having the entirety of the world’s information as just one of our thoughts.”

When Brin and Page were first starting out, they realized the shortcomings of their competitors such as Yahoo! and decided to create their own cutting-edge technology. By creating a system that could not only organize and index web pages, but also evaluate their relevance and importance, Google had broken new ground. In order to maintain its position as one of the Internet leaders and visionaries, Google currently devotes much of its budget to exploration: 70% on core products, 20% on related products, and 10% on research.

“As we go forward, I hope we’re going to continue to use technology to make really big differences in how people live and work,” says Brin. To this end, Google has made it possible to use its technology even when you’re away from your desk. Cell phones and PDAs are just two of the devices that can now be wired with Google technology. Indeed, wherever searches are valuable, Google seems to be looking for new ways to offer solutions. Google has also started to include web search results beyond html files, such as PDF, Excel and PowerPoint files.

Google has also started expanding its infrastructure overseas in order to meet market-specific needs. In the company’s annual letter to investors, Page writes, “Our business environment changes rapidly and needs long-term investment. We will not hesitate to place major bets on promising new opportunities…We will not shy away from high-risk, high-reward projects because of short term earnings pressure.”

Despite their lofty goals and their seemingly unstoppable ambition, Brin admits that there are limits to the achievements of Google. “We are currently not planning on conquering the world,” he jokes. With four out of five Internet searches taking place on Google, Brin and Page have however undoubtedly conquered their industry.

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