Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai: CNBC Interview

Google CEO Sundar Pichai He said that while consumers put covid pandemic In the rearview mirror, it’s clear that the economy is a growing concern for the company and the broader market.

“We definitely see uncertainty in the future, like everyone else,” Pichai told CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa in an interview Wednesday at Google’s annual I/O conference in Mountain View, California. “The good thing is that we’ve been as a company for a while. [We] We’ve worked through past moments like this, whether it’s 2008 or the early days of the pandemic, and we’re taking a long-term view.”

He also said he believed the economy would “take time to work through” the current high inflation rate.

“What raises the uncertainty is that there are many different factors, whether it’s supply chain issues or rising energy prices,” Pichai said.

“I think people are seeing relief in certain sectors,” he suggested, citing travel as an example. “But then there are other new areas emerging problems, probably because of supply chain constraints…energy has been a problem, for example. In some cases rents have gone up, food prices.”

Watch the full interview on CNBC Pro.

The Nasdaq It is heading for its biggest quarterly decline since the end of 2008, when the economy was grappling with the housing crisis. Consumer prices It jumped 8.3% in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said on Wednesday, higher than expected and close to a 40-year high of 8.5%.

original google share the alphabet It has fallen by about 22% this year, and has fallen side by side The rest of the technology sector Concerns about inflation and rising interest rates are driving investors to assets that are seen as safer during a potential downturn.

alphabet profits In late April, it was below analyst estimates, in large part due to the huge fiasco of YouTube, which was hammered Along with other digital advertising companies in the first quarter. Executives cited poor YouTube ad spend in Europe afterwards Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

“Obviously, when you serve [ads] Across the economy…a lot of macroeconomic factors like GDP growth end up affecting advertisers’ spending as well,” Pichai said.

He said that the economic story is not all gloomy and bleak. Building on comments last month from Philip Schindler, chief business officer of Alphabet, Pichai noted that people are moving again, which is an important indicator of Google’s core advertising unit.

“We’re definitely seeing travel recover,” Pichai said. “There are signs that people are clearly on the move after the pandemic, so there is some return to normalcy. But what raises the uncertainty is that there are many different factors, whether it’s supply chain issues or rising energy prices. To bring it all together is a place uncertainty.”

Pichai cited the company’s technology investments as a vital way to keep its business strong during times of weakness, and did not indicate that the company plans to slow hiring or decline in certain areas.

“We want to be resilient in moments like this. We are very excited about the opportunities ahead. And so we are investing. We are continuing to recruit, and bring in great talent. There are areas where we are seeing a secular transformation, like the cloud and the digitization.” [we] They keep investing.”

Alphabet boosted spending on research and development 22% in the first quarter of the previous year to $9.1 billion, despite economic uncertainty and market volatility.

He also cited the company’s diversity across several business lines as a source of strength.

“We invest in foundational technologies and we’re in a lot of areas. So we’re diverse in some ways. We obviously have important products like Search and YouTube. We have computing products that include Android and Play and our own devices. And the cloud is a huge area of ​​opportunity for us as well.” So I think we’re exposed to many, many sectors. And we’re doing that globally as a company. And I think that allows us to take a long-term view and think about these stages.”

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google gives an interview to CNBC’s Deirdre Bosa.

Source: CNBC

Google started its conference on Wednesday by Announcing new smartphones and teasing augmented reality glasses It uses artificial intelligence to translate spoken words into text on the screen. Facebook Parent dead And Microsoft Also works on AR devices.

Google has to spend to keep up with competitors in a rapidly developing market, especially with the advent of the TikTok short video service, which is very popular among younger consumers. Google’s response to TikTok, YouTube Short, is growing rapidly, attracting more than 30 billion daily views as of late April, up from 15 billion in January.

“We have to respond to what users are asking,” Pichai said. “We try to give them the best experience, and so we feel challenged to do better.”

He also highlighted “things like snap chatAnd Pinterest All of this didn’t exist a few years ago,” he said, and smartphones and the mobile ecosystem are creating all kinds of new opportunities.

“We always have to be smart, we have to adapt, and that’s how I feel every Monday when I go to work,” he said.

The question of freedom of expression

He also touched on the balance between freedom of expression versus moderation in online content, a balance that has occurred new interest recently with Elon MuskPlanned acquisition Twitter.

“I grew up in a big democracy, and the importance of free speech and giving people a voice I think is really key,” said Pichai, who was born in India. “Search is what’s on the web today. We only remove things that break the law.”

He added, “In a product like YouTube, where we recommend and where we can amplify content, we have community guidelines. So we’ve put in place clear policies. And we’re taking action. And that’s what actually allows us to maximize freedom of expression, [to] It helps keep the platform safe for everyone involved.”

He also talked a little bit about the company’s approach to content editing. “I think it is important to give people a sense of transparency. And there are many ways to achieve this. For example, we publish our Community Guidelines, or in the case of research, how our reviewers rate the quality of our search, we publish that publicly.” He added: “I think it is important to do This is done in a way that spammers and others trying to circumvent your products cannot either.”

Regarding Musk’s plans for Twitter, he said, “I am an avid user of Twitter. I think it is a very important product for the world. I have benefited greatly from it. And I think there is value in investing in it in the long run… I think this is important because it plays such an important role in a democratic society.” … I would like to see the product continue to improve.”