In an exclusive interview at the Googleplex in California, Google CEO Sundar Pichai spoke to NDTV on why India is important for Google, the benefits and dangers of Artificial Intelligence, privacy and data security, and Aadhaar. He told NDTV about a simultaneous translation tool that Google announced at its large event in 2017. "I think we are few years away from where two people you know, regardless of language they know can converse with each other and that is absolutely in line of sight," he said. He also spoke about ambient computing as the future. "Today computing means you go to a device, start it and work with that device. But to me ambient computing is that you are going about your day to day life (and) computing is there working for you," he said.
Here's the full transcript of the interview:
NDTV: Sundar Pichai, God Bless you, thank you very much for joining us.
Sundar Pichai: Pleasure seeing you as well.
NDTV: Your success is an absolute, absolute inspiration for all of us.
Sundar Pichai: Thank you, you know I grew up watching you on the news channel as well.
Sundar Pichai: Not quite kindergarten, I was in college by then.
NDTV: You know I say that we are really inspired by you but there is a real puzzle to fix, one you are not a dropout, how can you be so successful and b), you're a good guy, don't you have to be slightly nasty to be successful?
Sundar Pichai: First of all, IIT was too much fun to actually drop out, so wasn't there a movie about it or something? It was more like that. It was too much fun to drop out. And I've always felt being a good guy and doing well aren't necessarily at odds with each other, so always felt that applied.
NDTV: I totally believe that. And I think, you reflected in your handling of Google, how you changed the ethos here, the kind of team work and people enjoying everybody's company and working together, right?
Sundar Pichai: Yes. I always felt that even if you work 40 hours a week, you spend more time at work than the rest of your waking time, and so I've always felt that it's important that it be fun, you work with people you like and it feels like a team and you're in it together, so I've always cherished that.
NDTV: We've talked to a lot of Google people and they all say it starts from you. Now Androids, look at that guy there, I got more interest in, look at that. The drawing for the restroom signs, it's like everywhere.
Sundar Pichai: You are close to the place where Android gets built.
NDTV: I am told we are actually in one of the buildings where not too many people come so we are very privileged to be here, and to go out in the main campus, two problems, one is security and b), you'll be mobbed.
Sundar Pichai: You know our campus here is public space, so anyone can come. So we don't restrict access here.
NDTV: That's just the kind of openness that you have, it's beautiful. One of the things that I love about Google Maps is, it lowers my tension. Because I know I'll take 42 minutes to go from here to there. I'm in a traffic jam. It doesn't matter, it's still 42 minutes. In the old days we said, 'oh God, I'm getting late', but now, traffic jams are within an overall scheme of things, thanks to Google Maps.
Sundar Pichai: You know I love using Google Maps and in India it actually works well, we are constantly trying to make it better, but I think the traffic in India is a challenge, so hopefully that Maps makes a small difference.
NDTV: A lot of it was developed in India, right?
Sundar Pichai: That's right, India is where we had this insight, a team from India felt like it's tough to get data around Maps, so they basically said wherever there are missing roads, we actually will let users, just like Wikipedia, edit and complete map routes and so on. So that insight really changed how fast we have been building maps since then.
NDTV: I don't have a Google Map quite as big as this, look at that. This is where we are.
Sundar Pichai: Yes, this is a picture of Google right here, looking at it from top. That's where people sit and have their lunches, in good California weather, so it is pretty nice most of the year to do that.
NDTV: One of the big things about Google campuses, you've got a food place every 20 yards. The best food in the world is here.
Sundar Pichai: There is plenty of food here, we joke around, there is something called the Google 15. When you join Google, within the first year people tend to gain about 15 pounds, so everyone tries to watch out.
NDTV: Let me just show you something from here in context to where we have just come from. That's California; you go right across the world to...
Sundar Pichai: Archana Complex, is that your office?
NDTV: There we are, NDTV, that's on our roof.
Sundar Pichai: That's really nice.
NDTV: So we've come a long way, I feel the Google campus and NDTV look very similar.
Sundar Pichai: Few umbrellas?
NDTV: Those are the dishes.
Sundar Pichai: I figured.
NDTV: Uplinking and downlinking all our feeds coming in. We will take you around there too.
Sundar Pichai: Very nice, the world is getting smaller by the day.
NDTV: I took an Air India flight.
Sundar Pichai: Yes, I've been meaning to do that, direct flight from San Francisco to Delhi.
NDTV: Now tell me a little bit about what you really feel is the next big thing, which is Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. You know there is a bit of controversy; you know there is the most dangerous thing, World War 3 will be caused by Artificial Intelligence, what are the dangers of Artificial Intelligence?
Sundar Pichai: Artificial Intelligence for sure over the long run is the most powerful technology the humans will invent. For sure I think we need to have thoughtful consensus about, do we end up developing something we cannot control. I think there are deep real concerns. I don't think we have the answers. I do believe we are still in very early days. The good news is it is still far away. But I am also equally convinced that it is going to be beneficial than anything that has ever happened before and a lot of the benefits will start playing out in the next couple of decades. The important thing here is to harness the benefits but thoughtfully developing it over time so we avoid the pitfalls.
NDTV: Give me an example of a danger.
Sundar Pichai: With Artificial Intelligence, let's say, you know, first of all...
NDTV: I know you like walking, you don't like standing at one place.
Sundar Pichai: When I was young, both me and my brother would walk back and forth in the house all the time, so I would drive my mom crazy. So I am trying to slowdown.
NDTV: Sorry I interrupted. What are the dangers?
Sundar Pichai: Simplest example that gets talked about, one may say our systems are super intelligent, they are more intelligent than humans and so they have their own free will if you will and they are optimising for something else and they may make decisions which are not necessarily for the benefit of humanity. Those are the far out concerns.
NDTV: So what is the probability or the percentage chance of World War 3 being caused by Artificial Intelligence? Because if humans get in their way, what do you do as designers, so you tell a robot or the AI to go from here to there whatever happens and then a human gets in the way?
Sundar Pichai: You know I have a lot of faith in our global systems and how we would approach this. And I think it's important as an industry we self-regulate, and have strong ethical approaches to how we do this. There are good examples to be borrowed from, genetics, over the last 30-40 years, how the scientific community, the biological community has approached this. Medical communities have done that and I think these are important issues, but I sure am optimistic that we can work our way through it.
NDTV: There are dangers?
Sundar Pichai: Absolutely.
NDTV: You're more leaning towards 'be very careful of dangers'?
Sundar Pichai: You have to be to get this right.
NDTV: You mentioned medical and genetics, medical community affects the world and everybody in a massive way and has a social impact. But they do have a lot of protocols and they do have FDA and all kinds of restrictions, while the beauty of the internet and companies like yours, it's a free world. So do you feel a little more self-regulation is needed for things like this?
Sundar Pichai: We are in such early days, so, a part of it is you have to be careful. Today our computers cannot learn and understand things like a 3rd grade kid can, so you have to be careful. But any industry that AI is going to affect is already a regulated industry. So tomorrow if AI can shape healthcare, it has to work through the regulations of healthcare. In fact I see that as one of the biggest areas where the benefits will play out for the next 10-20 years. And we had recently done work on diabetic retinopathy, it's a cause for blindness, but using AI machine learning we can detect it much better than humans can. So getting a tool like that, in the next 10 years, in the hands of doctors, think of rural places in India where you don't have Ophthalmologists trained; and right there in those villages to help diagnose people, you know software, AI, will help any doctor diagnose people and maybe detect blindness early, it's completely curable if detected.
NDTV: Can you give us another example like that?
Sundar Pichai: I do think we will need AI to even solve problems like climate change over a time, to be able to understand what's happening and tackle it. Those will be big.
NDTV: My environmentalist friends say the biggest causes of environment degradation are human beings, now robots may say, if human beings are creating a problem, get rid of them.
Sundar Pichai: The right way to think about it is, humans should use AI to make the world cleaner so we won't have this problem.
NDTV: In terms of AI, I just heard yesterday, I've been travelling around the valley, there's a massive study using AI on India. They've been checking, they look at the future and they are predicting there will be a civil war in India during next 5-10 years. Now should AI...
Sundar Pichai: Based on AI?
NDTV: Yes, and other big data.
Sundar Pichai: I am not concerned about that. I think we should worry about a lot of things, but scenarios like that seem far-fetched to me.
NDTV: But you could, in some ways it's better than human beings at analyzing, so here's an AI, impartial, non-political machine, learning comes out of the forecast, the worries are big time.
Sundar Pichai: We are still remarkably far away, you know we are making extraordinary progress in certain things, you know for example AI is now able to translate much better than ever before, close to human level translation.
NDTV: I want to ask you about translations. I know you are going to have simultaneous translation, you can talk to anybody, you talk in your language, they talk in theirs. You are getting them, right?
Sundar Pichai: Yes we are constantly making progress. But I do think in a few days we will be talking about something by which you can wear it in your ears, and you know and you can speak between two people and it will make this process of translation more seamless. But I think we are few years away from where two people you know, regardless of language they know, can converse with each other and that is absolutely you know in line of sight. You know even few days from now our first headsets we will show will take good steps in that direction.
NDTV: October 4th you will announce something like that? Because that will have a mind-blowing impact on humanity, that you can go anywhere and talk to anyone you like.
Sundar Pichai: We are not quite there yet, but it'll take the first step in that direction and we will continue to build from there.
NDTV: India has done certain things that are being used around the world. For example, you got lighter products because we have less bandwidth and less speed in India. Give us some examples of things worked on in India that are being used around the world.
Sundar Pichai: Several examples, you know, we talked about Maps earlier and YouTube Go, so the ability to cache videos offline and watch it when you want to we started in India, we are taking it globally. We recently launched the product called Google Tez. We are able to do this in India first because of the digital payments infrastructure, right, that India has done, so we are doing it in India and will take to the rest of the world and say look this is how you do it. So yes, very proud.
NDTV: The whole idea of lightness, you need to have much lighter apps and lighter systems. That is something a Chinese browser company discovered in India a long time ago and they've covered 60% of the market according to them. How are you tackling the Chinese? Because they're smart.
Sundar Pichai: Look our data shows otherwise, but you know innovation should come from everywhere and I think those are all good signals for us to understand where we can do better. We adapted and made Chrome better, lighter and faster, so you know that's beginning to work.
NDTV: So when we talk about AI, privacy, it is a worry. How much privacy will companies like yours guarantee? Because there is something called data colonization. You have so much data. You know when I eat, whatever I do, what I like, because what I see, what I have done here I see elsewhere whenever I want to buy something.
Sundar Pichai: We actually don't know all that. But yes the way I think about all that is, first of all biggest risk for data for anyone is security, getting compromised from a security aspect. So just like your money is safer in the bank or something like that, we work so hard to build some of the most secure systems in the world. So we work very hard to protect your data. As a company we realise every single day, you know, users will only use us, they trust us as an institution. So, you know...
NDTV: So how important is data security and privacy?
Sundar Pichai: It is at the foundation of everything we do. Whenever we build anything new we start with, how do we, in a foundational way, secure the data and give users privacy. On top of that we do everything else. And, and...
NDTV: Nobody can hack into it and suddenly...
Sundar Pichai: I mean you work every day, you never say nobody can. Security you have to earn it every day and, but I think we are state of the art in terms of what we do to protect you know users data and give security to our users.
NDTV: You know, somehow, I feel and I totally believe that, and I trust Google and I use it without any hassle, but I worry about, I don't want to sound parochial, but will the Chinese or Russians have similar focus on privacy and security. Because we are using their browsers as well?
Sundar Pichai: You know I, in general I feel, one of the things we all do, lot of our products are open source, so people can inspect their products and you know so, and this is why partly we do our products the way we do it. I think it's good for all us to be worried about security and privacy always.
NDTV: You didn't answer my question.
Sundar Pichai: Ha
NDTV: I totally agree that you will look after and America will probably really be at the forefront. But with this internet and data colonization will other countries do it, will India do it?
Sundar Pichai: You know, I, I think so over time users will demand it. The state of what IT is doing for people, over time just like in healthcare you demand standards, I think users will demand.
NDTV: It will come from users?
Sundar Pichai: Users, they will vote with whatever they use otherwise.
NDTV: If you don't trust it, you won't use that browser.
Sundar Pichai: That's right, browsers or phone or whatever, it is right.
NDTV: We have in India the Aadhaar card, which in my opinion is a revolution. It's wonderful, but there is a lot of worry that everything is connected to it, to your phone or bank account to tax, everything which can be very positively used, but it can also be misused. How do we ensure that it is not misused?
Sundar Pichai: You know I can see all the benefits that would come from a system like that.
Sundar Pichai: Aadhaar, but I think it is important because it has a, you know, centralised aspect to it. You have to put the right checks and balances in the system. It is no different from Constitution, democracy and court systems. You have to have equivalent in a system like Aadhaar to say, you know, with the power comes great responsibility and you know what are the checks and balances in the system.
NDTV: I hate to say but our politicians, I don't have the greatest faith in them. I mean they are not the most trusted in India by most surveys, and you know to get one against each other they could break that privacy. How does one stop that? It's a worry.
Sundar Pichai: You know, which is why it cannot be a political solution alone. The solution has to be a, you know, has to have foundations in the law and in the Constitution and with the act of judiciary to support it. That's how you have to design most of these systems. I think the same thing applies to something that foundational...
NDTV: So Aadhaar, would you, one or two things you say that should be done to make Aadhaar, make us trust it. Our problem is people don't trust it, it's a great system but people don't trust it yet.
Sundar Pichai: You know I am not fully familiar with it you know. I think in a lot of these cases you have to generate benefits for the users. You have to show it with a benefit. So tomorrow when I go get a driver's licence, you know, I am giving up some privacy. I do it because I can drive and I see the benefits of it. So for Aadhaar you have to show, show use cases at the top of it. Why that collective benefit and the good that comes out of it far outweighs, you know, the privacy you give up for it and, and, then you have to put checks and balances to make sure it works well.
NDTV: I am going to ask you to one day write a book, "My checks and balances Aadhaar needs", not right now.
Sundar Pichai: I am happy to look at it, but I think very smart people looking at it as well.
NDTV: Yes, but also you worry that some are so smart that you can't worry about what their intentions are.
Sundar Pichai: Yes.
NDTV: But it is like EVMs in India, it's an area, I think that they are the most wonderful machines, they are not connected to the internet, can't be hacked, but nobody trusts them - I mean the losers don't trust them.
Sundar Pichai: I look at, I look at the fact, I wish we had EVMs here in the US and so, I think, in general you do it thoughtfully from a security stand point. I can see the benefits they bring.
NDTV: It's wonderful, you can't really do booth capturing, much more fair. Our elections are much better, and I really agree, America doesn't have it, we must export it here. It's a great machine, probably done by an IIT guy. Coming to another, oh wow, look at this.
Sundar Pichai: Lights up when you step on it, and we're not going to do Beat It now or Billy Jean rather.
NDTV: You like this song?
Sundar Pichai: Song seems good, that's Shah Rukh Khan, I can see, Kal Ho Naa Ho. I have not seen the movie yet. I think viewers in India have better options.
NDTV: Okay, just to talk about an issue which you faced, a controversy here. It was, a person wrote - you have such an open system here - he wrote saying that women can't make good engineers and you sacked him. I totally agree with, or you may not agree with it, how far does freedom of speech go?
Sundar Pichai: Okay, it's important to understand that within the context of a company things are different than a society or a nation. As a company we have values and given what we do, we cherish, we cherish diversity. You know we value freedom of speech, but in the context of a company we have to balance it against other important freedoms, the right for someone to come and work free of discrimination, harassment and equal opportunity to succeed and so we have to balance that. And in this case you know, I felt that it had gone too far. But hopefully out of that comes good debates and I think that makes people realise how important these values are. And overall it was a good debate externally that played out too.
NDTV: Yes it was a great debate. I was a little surprised because the USA prides itself on diversity. Look at California, it's fantastic. It boomed as a result of diversity. And yet there were people saying, you know, is this the new America? Is there change happening?
Sundar Pichai: You know the US also has one of the strongest constitutionally enshrined protections of freedom of speech as well. And so I think, I think there is, we live in polarized times, there is a lot of debates going on outside, and so there is some conflation of what happens within a company in the context of how you interpret it outside. But I think, you know, a company, a work place is different and we do, we have values and we expect our employees to stay true to those values.
NDTV: I totally agree with you and I think old America, not the old, but 5 years old, also has socially, there was a lot of diversity, a lot of drive in the diversity, support for diversity.
Sundar Pichai: You know I would still say, you know, I am very optimistic, because we look at every indicators and America is more diverse than ever before. And you know, I think that is an inherent product of the American fabric and I don't expect it to change.
NDTV: America has a wonderful education system and diverse society. Having said that I don't understand with this education, how did you vote Trump? I can't understand it, I am serious.
Sundar Pichai: You know, the best way I would say it is, it's a democratic process and the process plays out. And I think, President Trump clearly communicated a set of concerns which many Americans were feeling and with the rapid growth we have had, not all sections of society have felt it. There have been clear manufacturing job losses for a while. He did focus on important issues I think, which played a bigger role than election outcome.
NDTV: His reasons and causes of those problems were like it's those immigrants that are doing it. But that's not the real reason. But how did America, corporate and; anyway what he has done has made CNN its first billion dollar profit, he is the best thing that happened to media. But don't you feel...
Sundar Pichai: You have covered politics for a long time, there is political rhetoric in the context of elections and you probably know it better than I do.
NDTV: Yes, and, he just didn't quite fit in with my view of America and I think Obama was just wonderful. You are nodding, you agree?
Sundar Pichai: I am not here to talk politics, but I deeply respect a democratic process and I think it's important we do that and not use democracy. At times, we like the outcome. It's important that we cherish the foundation of it.
NDTV: I am going to ask you rapid fire questions. I will ask you quick 10 questions and you have to give one word answers. In the time you spend every day, what percentage of time is managing people and what percentage is looking after technology?
Sundar Pichai: You know I would love to spend more time on technology, but with the scale of Google and what I do, people are the most important resource we have. So I try to get great products built through people, so I spend more time, slightly more than 50-50. I would say in favour of people 60-40.
NDTV: We will have to catch you out of the tech rooms.
Sundar Pichai: I am a productive person yes, and that's what I do. But we do have a lot of people, so...
NDTV: So just looking quickly at the future, what is going to be your path? Google Home or is it going to be a watch or how we move from the phone to something else?
Sundar Pichai: I think the beauty of what I think of as the AI first world is, we don't have to, users don't have to decide, computing will be there when you want it, when you get into a car, when you go to your home, working for you. So I think this notion of ambient computing, which is there to help, so can be in the context of a watch, watch, you know, you get into your car and it's built in.
NDTV: Explain ambient computing.
Sundar Pichai: Today computing means, you go to a device, start it off and work with that device. But to me ambient computing is that you are going about your day to day life, computing is there working for you. So if I run into someone that I need to speak from Hindi to English, you know, it can happen, right. We have to figure out what it is, maybe a watch, maybe a headphone; if you are at home or in the kitchen, it's something like Google Home or, you know, the TV. Any screen in front of you can help when it needs to. So we will do the hard work.
NDTV: What will you say if Sachin Tendulkar walks up to you? I know he's your favourite.
Sundar Pichai: Oh my God, I literally remember him, his debut series and watching it around the time I started watching you. So you guys both lined up, so it would be a privilege.
NDTV: What would you say to him?
Sundar Pichai: I don't know. Maybe I would try to go play with him, cricket, if I could do that it will be an honour, so...
NDTV: And just after him there is Deepika Padukone.
Sundar Pichai: She literally walked through here, she came here.
NDTV: If she walked in just right now, what will you say to her?
Sundar Pichai: Last time she came to Google...
NDTV: You interviewed her, right?
Sundar Pichai: That's right, except she lost her voice, but she is remarkable.
NDTV: You never told me what you'd say to her?
Sundar Pichai: Oh, what would I say to her?
NDTV: Don't say 'I am your biggest fan'.
Sundar Pichai: No, I would ask her out for dinner.
NDTV: Okay I'm sure she'll learn a lot form that. Just in your daily life, what's the last YouTube video you watched?
Sundar Pichai: You won't believe it, because in YouTube you have recommendations and I, do you follow cricket.
NDTV: You saw Deepike Padukone playing cricket?
Sundar Pichai: Not quite. Last night there was a media recommended to me of one of Virat Kohli's fastest 100s, 100 off 52 balls. I got to watch that. That's remarkable. India cricket has progressed so much.
NDTV: I used to hate seeing the headline, 'India goes down fighting', now we win.
Sundar Pichai: I used to be so worried about Sachin getting out, there was always this tension. But now I look at the depth of the line and it's a lot more fun.
NDTV: Okay, one hint of what's going to come.
Sundar Pichai: What I mentioned earlier, you will see an update to our Pixel phones and our Home products. But as an accessory we are also working on what I think of as magic earphones, something which can do a little bit more than what normal headphones can do.
NDTV: Very exciting, we would be watching you. You did a beautiful talk, that last one.
Sundar Pichai: Yes, looking forward to it, I'll be there this time too.
NDTV: You practice a lot. Does it just come to you? You've been doing it for years.
Sundar Pichai: It's what I do for work every day so I get to talk about it, so it's like you doing this interview.
NDTV: No, no, you are actually almost interviewing me, two more questions on the rapid fire. What's a bad for Sundar Pichai?
Sundar Pichai: I get so excited coming to work, the choice of what we can do at scale, so normally like a kid at a candy store, bad day it means I didn't get to do what I wanted to do that day or it was a busy day, you know, but have the perspective to know that there is nothing like a really bad day.
NDTV: Maybe it is that you didn't get to spend enough time with the tech guys?
Sundar Pichai: That's about it. If I had to spend it in meetings and I didn't deal with any product reviews or something like that, we would call it a bad day.
NDTV: Bored of all these people who are taking you into meetings rather than letting you pin products. When you put your head on the pillow at night, what concerns you?
Sundar Pichai: Historically world has progressed to places where we have more global framework and countries are coming together, but there are recent forces which are pulling countries apart. So while I am optimistic it is, I worry when I put my head on bed, did we leave a world to a better place for our children than we as a generation?
NDTV: What we left for you is the pollution, but we left you democracy too.
Sundar Pichai: Yes, I think generation before us in India sacrificed a lot to give us a life we have.
NDTV: Unfortunately we came in then and gave you the pollution. Last question, what do you miss about not living in India? I mean you live in paradise, but what do you miss about not living there?
Sundar Pichai: I always miss the people, the vibrancy, the noise, it's quiet around here, so every time I go to India and come back, that's what I miss. So everything is silence, so I miss the people, the vibrancy, the life, the colors and the sounds of India.
NDTV: And when we talk about the democracy, diversity of India, the two big Ds, what's wonderful about India, the Democracy and the Diversity. Are you really worried the diversity maybe changing a bit, that not enough focus support for diversity that you have here, I mean Google is, but America too.
Sundar Pichai: You know it's amazing, when I think you look at all the difficult times India has gone through, something about India, the scale of the people and how distributed it is, the different states and the different cultures, so the only way India can work is by somehow keeping it off together and there's this magic, it's figured out a way to do it over time. So I think I have faith in that system, something deeper than all of us, I think, which will keep it together for a long time.
NDTV: People might try to affect the diversity but you feel there is a...
Sundar Pichai: I think the forces which will bring it together are a far bigger than anything which can pull it apart.
NDTV: You have always been optimist, that's why you build crazy ideas and they become reality.
Sundar Pichai: I am an optimist, but it's important to look at the world at any arc of time, you know things have gotten much, much better.
NDTV: In your time, when you were in IIT, religion didn't matter, caste didn't matter, you didn't know what people's castes were at that time, did you?
Sundar Pichai: To be very clear, when we had grown up, there were sectarian riots in Hyderabad, I think we've always had to work through difficult challenges as a country and I think it's important to focus on what matters. If it's India, we should focus on creating economic growth, creating jobs, creating prosperity and driving GDP growth higher so that more people can be better off.
NDTV: But not at the cost of diversity?
Sundar Pichai: I think doing that is what will prevent other forces taking hold of people.
NDTV: One thing that does worry us and I wonder what your answer to that will be, social media now, in India, is acting as a negative force, there is hate, there are rumours, false news, how do you tackle that?
Sundar Pichai: In Google we are particularly focused on that, search has always been about trying to give the most truthful representation of anything and we use machine learning very, very, importantly. We recently launched from our jigsaw team an effort called 'perspective' which analyses online posts for toxicity, hateful speech and can actually moderate it. So the NYT uses it for their comment section and so on, so I think we all have to work hard to make sure these tools get used for the good of humanity not otherwise.
NDTV: At the moment it is a big worry, social media is just hate.
Sundar Pichai: I think it's something we all focus on and thoughtfully work hard to make it better.
NDTV: I hope we have the same solution that you've brought to this wonderful place over the years. I wanted to ask you what did they ask you when they interviewed you for CEO?
Sundar Pichai: It wasn't a formal interview process. I had worked with Larry and Sergey and the founders for a long time. This is a question that needs to be asked of them.
NDTV: What did they ask you? Did anything unnerve you?
Sundar Pichai: Both Larry and Sergey have always focused on what we can do, something that is ambitious and would really meaningfully make something better for users. So most of our conversations are focused on how we can do things to change things for better, so we rarely talk about other things.
NDTV: When and how did they tell you?
Sundar Pichai: It was just a conversation over a period of time.
NDTV: You knew where it was going but you were not 100% sure?
Sundar Pichai: It wasn't a discreet step, as much as formally thoughtful. Internally, it was much more about a natural transition.
NDTV: What was a memorable quote of what happened during that time you became CEO? I'm sure you remember all the lovely things.
Sundar Pichai: It's almost like, I thought I was doing the job, so when they told me, in some ways it was a process, it was more continual than discreet, so I didn't even stop to think about it, I was back at work the next day and working so it was more a bigger news externally than how it played out internally.
NDTV: One quote?
Sundar Pichai: Maybe nothing stands out.
NDTV: But I'm sure they came up to you and said 'Congratulations you are the next CEO'.
Sundar Pichai: Yes, well thank you for taking the time, I appreciate it.
NDTV: There are about some 60,000 people waiting for you.
Sundar Pichai: About 70,000.
NDTV: Thank you very much indeed.
Sundar Pichai: Thank you Dr Roy, Good luck with everything. Cheers.