In his inaugural "founder's letter" — Google's version of a State of the Union — newly minted CEO Sundar Pichai laid out his vision of the company's future, stressing that change is on the way, and Google wants to be all-in on the artificial intelligence revolution when it arrives.
"The next big step will be for the very concept of the “device” to fade away," Pichai writes. "Over time, the computer itself — whatever its form factor — will be an intelligent assistant helping you through your day. We will move from mobile first to an AI first world. [Artificial intelligence] can help us in everything from accomplishing our daily tasks and travels, to eventually tackling even bigger challenges like climate change and cancer diagnosis."
Pichai's letter also serves as a brief highlight reel of Google's past year; Pichai references Google's AlphaGo artificial intelligence beating a world champion at the strategy game, Google Photos (which relies heavily on Google's AI strengths) reaching 100 million users in less than a year, and having over 1.4 billion active Android devices in the market.
This is Pichai's first time penning Google's annual "founder's letter." For every year since its formation, that's been handled by the company's co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. However, when Google restructured last year into Alphabet and Google, they handed over the Google reins and role of CEO to Sundar Pichai.
"Since the majority of our big bets are in Google, I wanted to give him most of the bully-pulpit here to reflect on Google’s accomplishments and share his vision," writes Page in a brief foreword to Pichai's letter. He goes on to write that he, Brin, and Pichai will likely all make these announcements moving forward.
In addition to mapping where Google is going, and what it's accomplished lately, Pichai also included the high-minded, inspirational rhetoric expected from tech CEOs in 2016. "For us, technology is not about the devices or the products we build. Those aren’t the end-goals. Technology is a democratizing force, empowering people through information," writes Pichai. "Google is an information company. It was when it was founded, and it is today. And it’s what people do with that information that amazes and inspires me every day."
You can read the full founder's letter here.
Brendan Klinkenberg is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco.
Contact Brendan Klinkenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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