Everyone is interested in when Google will finally start selling driverless cars to the public. But on
Google’s Q3 earnings callyesterday, only one Wall Street analyst actually asked about it: Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster.
In a nutshell, Munster asked “how real is this as a business?” And Page replied, “It’s still ways from being a commercial product.”
But Page’s answer betrayed how he — and Google as a whole — thinks about things: In the very, very long term. The long term is always under-estimated, Page believes.
Here’s what they said:
Gene Munster – Piper Jaffray: Hi, good afternoon. Question for Larry in terms of, you talked about R&D spending and just the amount that you’re going to be gauging at. Can you talk specifically about self driving cars that realises way down the road, but how real is this as a business?
Larry Page – CEO: OK, great questions from Gene; thank you. So I think, I guess on self driving cars specifically I think for any big innovation I think you overestimate short-term and underestimate long-term, that’s probably good summary for self driving cars. I think we made tremendous progress and we’ve driven large amounts of miles, how we change the business from being something that wasn’t going to happen at all to something that now is somewhere inevitable and people’s feelings about it which I think is tremendous progress. That said it’s still pretty early days from the product, I don’t know exactly what I have been saying but its still ways from being a commercial product. Probably overestimate that in the short-term like I said and underestimate that in the long-term.