“The idea is to push information to people,” Mayer said. She noted that on mobile devices this is particularly interesting because location can provide context. One example she gave was a menu when you’re in a particular restaurant. It would be great to show up and see that on your device — maybe with a bit of social flavor based on what your friends like, she added.
MA: Why give up search and do something different?
MM: Well I had done it for about 11 years. We’re the number 1 site and number 1 search engine. It was time to try something new. Local is all very related to search, so my knowledge transfers. But now I have engineering on my team. I have 800 – 1000 people working under me. If you include all the various people around the world it’s more like 2,000. “We’re trying to build a virtual mirror of the world at all times.”
MA: Let’s talk more about contextual discovery.
MM: The idea is to push information to people. It’s location in context. Inside the browser and a toolbar, can we look at where people have been going on the web — then we deliver it. But it’s a big UI challenge. In the browser it might be a panel on the right or bottom that complements your browsing. On the mobile phone, it’s where you are in the physical world. We can figure out where the next most useful information is. In a restaurant maybe it’s a menu. Or maybe it’s a social menu. It’s about explicit and implicit location.
MA: Latitude is one of your products. Can we just agree that it’s pretty terrible?
MA: What is HotPot — a Yelp killer?
MM: No, it’s a recommendation engine. It’s built into Maps for mobile and Places. You can go to restaurants and rate them quickly. And you make connections with friends or other users like you. We try to produce good recommendations for you. It’s collaborative filtering plus the social component.
MA: But if you mess up again… Do you just turn into Microsoft while you watch Facebook rise?
MM: It’s clear that it’s really important. We really want to get it right this time. That said, we’re really patient. There’s search, mobile, local, and social. We’ve gotten three right. We’re working on the fourth one.
MM: Sort of, but they’re hosted on the network vs. on the client side. And they’re all HTML5.
MA: What about Chrome OS vs. Android?
MM: I think we haven’t really decided. We see a lot of promise in Chrome OS. We’re looking at it to be on notebooks right now. It’s not even netbooks anymore. And Android is going to tablets right now. But the form factor for either could work for the other. Like Google TV is built on top of Android. And the developer community is helping on both.
The big thing is that Chrome OS is super-fast.
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