It was a decent back and forth, without any real show-stopping nuggets of news, which isn't a huge surprise for this sort of thing. It's a conversation more than it is an interrogation, and Pichai put in a good half-hour.
A few highlights:
On machine learning and its importance for Google:
The actual way in which machine learning can do a much better job in many specific instances has been much more recent for us. About three years ago we felt we were at an inflection point. ... Mobile gives a great platform, a great way to do that.
On competing with the likes of Amazon and Microsoft and Apple on AI:
We've been doing it for a lot longer. So when you look at the scale at which we do it today — either in terms of the raw computational power we apply to it, how many years we've been doing it, or if you benchmark it in terms of any quality metrics ... those are the areas the difference really shows through. People have been asking questions to Google for a long time.
[Those companies] are phenomenal companies. It's not like Game of Thrones. It's more like the NBA championship or something like that. ... I think of it more like we're all bringing electricity to Westeros. We're not trying to kill each other.
And it's still early days for all of us.
On "what makes you think you can do this Google Home thing better than Amazon?"
In the next 5 to 10 years, building the true conversational understanding, and being able to have the dialog is where we plan to differentiate. The hardware is just a manifestation of that. We want to help people get things done. There's a lot of work ahead. We're at the 1 percent stage of what we can do here.
On Samsung being the only profitable large-scale partner for Android:
I've always felt Samsung is important for Android. They drive the high end of computing on the Android side. ... But Android is a very open ecosystem. The answer may not be a global one player. ... We've had many examples of regional players serve the needs of those markets.
Android is an enabler. ... It's a very complicated marketplace.
On the potential of Google making its own phones:
We today do these Nexus devices. _("Ahhhhhh, not made by you," Mossberg pressed. He was _really ) ... You'll see us put a lot more thought into our Nexus devices going forward. And there are categories beyond phones, like Home.
You'll see us thoughtfully add more features on top of Android. We could be more opinionated as to the design of the phone. ... Our plan is to still work with OEMs.
On China ...
We've always — and personally for me — care about serving users globally in every corner. And that applies to China, too. ... We aspire to do things like Google Play, where we can get our services working.
It's definitely something we would like to see more of. ... We are definitely open to it.
On messaging, and Google's work in RCS messaging and the upcoming Allo and Duo:
At a platform level, at an Android level, we call it RCS, and it's an evolution of SMS. We're working with the carriers to evolve the platform so we have an interoperable messaging standard. But it's not a Google service. It's an open-platform level thing. ... I would love to see messaging services be more interoperable. I would love to see users on iOS be able to message users on Android. [Almost certainly referring to Facetime] and vice-versa. ... I hope that we in the industry head that direction.
On the Daydream VR play:
Daydream to us is building the ecosystem ... To build VR well you need to build great hardware ... Just like we did with Android in its early days, Daydream is a way to create an end to end ecosystem around VR.
We're thoughtfully building it step by step.
On the EU complaints:
We are engaging thoughtfully with them. I think there are many areas in which they have thoughtful questions. ... It plays out sensationally in the press. They are looking it at thoughtfully. We are responding to it thoughtfully.
Most of the company is not consumed by it.
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