Bloomberg Studio 1.0: Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai
Thank you so much for doing this. Thank you. Sorry I'm late and hopefully not at all. It gave us more chance to tweak the lights for the 50 thousand times. Doing well. Yes. How often are you coming into the office these days. About two to three days a week. How about you. I guess you come in. Yeah I'm in every day now so no more kids on the set. I have to ask is your son still
mining a Syrian. He and I literally were talking about it last night. He's like Dad you are the one who made me give up on it. I'm like no no I did. Yeah. The thing that's good about this is I think it excites a whole new generation about technology which is which is good. I really appreciate it. Thank you for doing it. And thank you for coming down to do it. I'm ready to go. And you guys are from Google headquarters in Mountain View California. This is Bloomberg Studio 1.0 with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai. Born and raised in India Pichai had almost no access to a computer until college. But just years later found himself rising through the ranks of the world's largest search engine.
In 2015 it was by that Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin chose to run Google and later Alphabet. Now valued at more than two trillion dollars. It's one of the most powerful companies on the planet. Senator it's great to be with you today. Thanks for doing this. Great to be here in person. Google just hit a two trillion dollar market cap alphabet I should say. Is the next trillion dollars going to come from.
You know I've always felt you know your market cap valuation is an effect of the value you provide. And I feel fortunate. Our mission is timeless. You know there is more need to organize information than ever before. I still feel surge is our biggest moonshot as a company. People will want radically more conversational experiences. They will want what we call multi-modal experiences. They may speak
to search. They may look at something and ask what what the information is being able to adapt to all that. And while search will continue to be the biggest opportunity we are so excited about the YouTube cloud are our hardware products Google Play. So we are building a diverse set of businesses but an underlying all of it is the investments we are making. I know we've
invested hundred billion dollars an hour into the past five years and so applying A.I. in a deep way is probably where we will create the biggest opportunity ahead. Microsoft is making some big acquisitions. Apple's anti ad tracking technology is shaking up the industry. What do you make of these competitive moves. Your competitors say they're on the right side of history
are they. I look at the fact that. There are 3 billion people who have access to knowledge at their fingertips. I look at the opportunity we provide. I look at the skills people are learning through YouTube. I feel it everywhere. When I go talk to people and providing access to information and knowledge I think will end up being on the right side of history as well. Your predecessor Eric Schmidt told me that he feels the latest Facebook revelations are disturbing.
Google also has access to massive amounts of data. Why should half the world's population more than half the world's population trust Google to do the right thing. We are trying to do more with less data. One of the biggest changes we made was making auto delete the default setting for new users signing in. And now we're two billion users have their data continuously being deleted. Look we rely on trust for people everyday when people come to Google. They placed their trust in us. And vulnerable moments may be a health issue in which they are trying to understand. There's no
more important responsibility we have than doing right by that trust. And when we provide G.M. to journalists and realize that that accounts may be under attack by an authoritarian government that's what motivates us to make sure be privacy security be trust. We are doing the right thing for regulation will have an important role to play here. I think privacy regulation is important in areas like a regulation will be important. And so I think those will be part of the answers as well. The Facebook fallout that Instagram can be toxic to teens for example. Has this raised more or new concerns for you about the impact of technology tech addiction algorithms YouTube even on our children and their development and their mental health. I mean
you're a parent and you also have a lot of power over how this plays out. You know I mean like you know bringing kids up in this modern digital world is something I think all parents are anxious about rightfully so. I think you know Spotify a few years ago and in YouTube you know we we were exposed to a set of concerns. You know we invested. It became then our number one priority to work harder. The reason YouTube invested so much in developing YouTube kids as a safe destination for young children. So. The technology is
going to play a big role in helping give children the next wave of opportunity as well. So the answer is to develop it responsibly. We have changed our balance in these areas and saying we think about content responsibility first and then the pace of development new features in areas like YouTube. And so that's how we approach it for a while. Facebook and Microsoft are all in on the metaverse. What do you think about the metaverse. What's Google's metaphors strategy. It's always been obvious to me that computing over time will adapt to people and people adapting to computers. You won't always interact with
computing in a black rectangle in front of you. So just like you speak to people you see and interact. Computers will become more immersive. They will be there when you needed to be. So I've always been excited about the future of immersive computing and being computing a A.R. And we are not count as the metaverse. Is that what that is your metamorphosis.
I think it means different things to different people. The way I think about it is evolving computing in an immersive way with augmented reality. As part of that there will be many experiences some of which will be immersive interactive virtual worlds you know which is which is the metaverse concept. But I think this doesn't belong to any company. Right. And this is the evolution of Internet and the Web. The Internet all of it will continue to evolve. Google was famous for its campuses where you
could go and never leave. You had everything you ever wanted. Now you've said they can be flexible. They can work from home they can work in the office. They can be hybrid. They can work remotely permanently perhaps. Are you committed to really letting them do this for ever. And if so how does that change the future of work and society.
Look we have we have we really embraced the fact that the future is going to be flexible. At Google we've always tried to give you no agency to our employees but we do realize the importance of bringing people together the creativity community and collaboration that comes with it. So the balance we are striking is is this notion of tree two and what we we're giving the strength of our companies. We have more locations than most of the companies. So we're giving people choice to move anywhere in
the world. For weeks they can work from anywhere. We can not accommodate 20 percent of our workforce to be remote over time. So we're going to embrace that flexibility and forever area. And we committed to it. Through it all it forces us to design better products. And since people use Google workspace to run their companies that it gives us a chance to innovate and bring all that out. I think there is so much value in giving people more flexibility
between their personal and professional lives. And I think it will lead to people being happier. And I think companies can be successful in that model. And so we are trying to get the best of both worlds but embrace the flexibility and and see where we go. How confident are you that when you look back you'll be able to say Google did enough to help save the world. We are putting so much energy and resources into it.
You grew up in India. You lived through droughts. Water was scarce. How has that experience shaped your feelings about the urgency of stopping climate change. You know I grew up in Chennai India and a big part of my childhood was really pretty severe water scarcity. We would get water trucked in the streets and stand in lines and carry a few buckets of water. And there was no running water for many years. And you know but
fast forward a few years ago. You know Chennai had one in a hundred year flood which was a very extreme event. Kind of drove home. That combined with a few years ago waking up to the orange skies here in the Bay Area seeing the look of concern on my children's faces and having to explain it you know all kind of drove form in a deeply personal way for me. So I think it's the most defining issue we all face. And definitely something very motivated on working towards. I remember waking up to those orange skies too and having to have that same conversation with my kids. Do you think the commitments that Cop 26 went far enough.
I'm encouraged by many things we have to tip our hat to the people who are working super hard the issues and the tradeoffs are genuinely difficult. You know you have to keep their economies growing. It really matters. But at the same time it's a pretty severe urgent issue. Some increased by the progress. I think it builds on the Paris agreement so I can see the forward progress. There is a deep anxiety that they told me not be enough. But you know we have to be optimistic and keep pushing. Google has set some aggressive targets to run entirely on clean energy to be
the first tech giant to do so. Twenty four hours a day. How confident are you that when you look back on this time let's say a decade from now you'll be able to say Google did enough to help save the world. We are putting so much energy and resources into it. It's always been kind of a founding value for us. We've been carbon neutral since 2007. We've been matching our energy consumption with renewable energy over the past few years. So this you know we are now
pushing it's a moonshot to be 24/7 carbon free. That means every search you do every e-mail you send that we can do it carbon free. We were at 61 percent in 2019. The number is now 67 percent. We have set our goals to be 100 percent by 2030. And to do it globally that means we have to solve new things which we haven't done before. Wind and solar alone won't be enough. We just started geothermal in Nevada. We will be investing in newer technologies including carbon capture etc. over time. So that's what excites me. We are a technology company at heart. So part of there are many answers to this problem. Some of it is that we are going to have to innovate our way out of it. And we want to push as hard as possible in doing that. Bloomberg New Economy
Forum is happening this year in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific region is one of the fastest growing Internet economies on the planet. Where do you see the most room and most opportunity for Google to grow there. You know it's such a fitting timeframe. You know plenty of focus on the region. It's the most vibrant region we see. It's our 20th year since we opened our office in Tokyo. It was a first office outside the Bay Area. You have two and a half billion people on the Internet. There are many areas in which there are leapfrogging trends which are here and embracing the future. Digital payments is a great example. So many of our products originated from a pack. Google
Maps Google Pay a lot of our journey to bring computing to more people. Is this playing out in Asia. Yes. Well I am excited about also the work we are doing through cloud because the companies that are rapidly transforming themselves digitally some chance to provide data something very exciting for us. So super dynamic region. I feel like we are learning as Google being in the region. And so I think it'll transform the first 10 years. I would have said
we the products here and brought a payback for the past few years. We are beginning to build things there. And some of our future global products will be a pack first and rest of the world later. You can't talk about a pipe without talking about China and you're facing stiff competition from Chinese tech giants there and beyond. What should U.S. policymakers know about competing with China. You know there's a lot of conversations about U.S. and China. The competition is fierce. Many of the areas like A.I. and quantum computing where we are investing a lot.
Chinese companies are neck to neck. What I I think about you I was impressed by the news coming out of Blasko but the US China agreement on climate to me while we talk about all the all the areas where we're competing some of the biggest areas which are common challenges for all of humanity. The pandemic was one A.I. an A.I. Safety over time will be a shared one. Obviously sustainability is on the radio like that. So I think these are all areas in which the
countries can come together. And so I think that's a way by which we think about as you know when we compete on the Internet and they may be different visions of how the Internet plays out. So I see opportunities both sides. What are the chances that Google search will ever come back to China or that Google cloud would ever come to China. Today we don't provide most of our signed and services in China and I don't see that changing. But you know there are ways as I said in areas like A.I. or sustainability. I think though the opportunities for us to work together through cloud we will support multi-national companies
which have presence everywhere. And so maybe there are opportunities to work that way as well. A.I. is advancing at an astonishing rate and it is hard to understand sometimes what this really means in concrete terms. How will our lives look different. Let's say 10 years from now as a result of a I. Done correctly. In many ways it's going to be helpful to you. You take it for granted the same way. Today for example in India or one third of the queries on many forms come through voice. But it's something people take for granted. You can do it. So over time you will expect to speak and be able to understand any language in the world. And you know those are always it's going to make it
better. You may go to a doctor's office and go through a scan and the system may be prioritizing for the radiologist so that they don't miss some important things. Maybe giving them a second opinion. So these are all ways in which it will seamlessly start playing a role. And I think we'll we'll see the efforts of that you mentioned. If done correctly and there are
concerns there are fears that I will replicate the worst of society even under Google's on this from your own researchers. What scares you most about A.I.. What keeps you up at night. It's the most profound thing we are working on as humanity and any time you're developing technology. There is a dual side to it being a journey of humanity's harnessing the benefits while minimizing the downsides. The good thing with a ISE it's going to take time. I think I've seen more focus on the downsides early on than most of the technology we've developed. So in some ways I'm encouraged by how much concern there is. And you're
right. Even within Google you know people think about it deeply. We publish a lot of research that are I think it's more important that there are outside academic institution governments nonprofits looking at this issue as well. So I think it's it'll it'll be an issue which will have a lot of attention which gives me a lot of comfort as well. You said you'd pick up some new hobbies in the pandemic. When did you start cooking pizza. Is learning to cope which I was
never good at. I've gotten a little bit better. You have presided over Google's through massive social movements that reverberated in and outside the company. What have you learned as CEO since the lockout. For me you know it was a moment. I think it changed the company for the better. You know we've always been committed. It gave us an insight on what more we could do. We undertook deep commitments. And the
biggest you know overall in diversity and inclusion. I think. If you're committed and you actually put in the effort behind it you can make a difference. Now we have stated clear goals. We are on track to meet this meet those goals but it forced us to think about new answers. So for example you know tech companies used to talk about the pipeline problem. But you we are now going to places where the talents we are working much harder. So going to Atlanta going to D.C. going to Chicago going to New York that's improving our diversity and representation at all levels. The war for talent is even more competitive now in this new world. What are you offering. Elon Musk has said big tech is a place where talent goes to die. How
do you respond to that. OK. I look at the fact that you know we are looking to hire 30000 people next year. I look at the impact we have on many people coming and working in the latest cutting edge things. And many people come in. People leave go will be a proud people who have left Google. There are I think there are over 2000 companies that have been started by whom we call as supers. I'm equally proud of that. Right. I think we are one part of a big big system. And you know
I think I think I'm proud of the role be playing bringing in people and the impact they have over time and outside. All right. That's most of the heavy stuff out of the way. Going to do some rapid fire just to get to know you a little bit better. You said you'd pick up some new hobbies in the pandemic. What did you start. Hi. You know pizza cooking pizza. It's learning to cope which I was never good at. I've gotten a little bit better. Cricket or soccer slash football. Wow. Stuff at least on me. OK. Square game or Ted Lasso.
I watched both Ted loves so much more come on so I'd rather take Ted Lasso or scoot games any day. I know you're a voracious reader. So what's the last good book that you read. You know I've I've been on a podcast binge so a lot more podcasts than books nowadays. Favorite videos you watch on YouTube with your kids. Lot of music videos music videos. This whole notion where creators are watching other things and commenting on it. It's a trend which my kids are really into and
I've kind of gotten used to it now. So you know watching other games its effects some phenomenon screen time policy that's worked for you as a parent. And what's what's not worked. You know I've kind of given agency to my kids. The only thing I tell them is that I can look at their digital well-being once in a while with them. And so you do that. I ask them to show it to me and they show it on their phone. So you know so that that's pretty much the only thing. So beyond that you know it's agency and and you know talking to them about it and making sure we are spending time doing other things and making sure they develop good habits.
Metaphors or real world done correctly. You know you shouldn't you shouldn't feel and feel the need to make a choice. You know you always want to be present in the real world. And when you feel the need to do something you want to do that. But you know I do think presence and the real ness of the real world will end up mattering for humans for a long time. Do you own any crypto. I wish I did. I've dabbled in it. But you know in and out in and out. OK. I'm not gonna make you choose how many times a week you talk to them.
I talk to them regularly. You know it kind of ebbs and flows you know. And so there are times we get excited about something and we spend a lot of time talking it through. But it depends on what I need. A piece of advice you wish you had in your 20s and a piece of advice you wish you had in your 40s. Our 20s would be you know being patient. You know I think when you're young you're very impatient which is a great thing. But sometimes you do amazing things by slowing
down and being really focused and doing it over a period of time. And so I would advise them you know the younger version of me to be more patient maybe at 40 I would say you know when I look at employment and I want want all of us to be impatient. So you know I feel like there's an urgency to it something. And I think the world needs to be impatient. So that's the advice I would give to an older version of me. How much do you personally wrestle with the decisions that you have to make.
And how much longer do you see yourself being the CEO of Alphabet not just of but also Google. Yeah. On the look on the first one there are moments we all have to make tough decisions. And you know and some decisions weigh on me and I. It's a privilege to do it. I have very good people helping me think. Think things through. So I think the combination makes it all fine. Well on a second thing I am looking at a I'm so energized by the things we need to do. You know I didn't have much access to computing growing up. It changed my life a lot. The One Laptop Per Child goal really motivated me to come into technology. And when I look at last week as launching a affordable smartphone in India the chance to
bring the next billion users in Asia and in Africa online that gives me a lot of energy. Well we'll be watching from afar. Sundar Chai thank you so much for joining us. It's a question of your.