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Google's Page wants a tech Burning Man

Google's CEO wishes for a safe place outside normal society where people can experiment and try new things.

Shara Tibken Former managing editor
Shara Tibken was a managing editor at CNET News, overseeing a team covering tech policy, EU tech, mobile and the digital divide. She previously covered mobile as a senior reporter at CNET and also wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. Shara is a native Midwesterner who still prefers "pop" over "soda."
Shara Tibken
2 min read
Google CEO Larry Page wants a safe place for technologists to experiment. James Martin/CNET
Google CEO Larry Page wants a tech version of the Burning Man temporary community and art event.

Page, speaking Wednesday at the Google I/O developers conference, said that societal laws and regulations aren't changing enough to keep up with advancements in technology, and there aren't mechanisms that allow for experimentation. Because of that, he would like a small part of the world outside of normal society where people can experiment and try new things.

"There are many, many exciting and important things we can do but we can't do because they're illegal or not allowed by regulations," Page said. "As technologists we should have safe places where we can try out new things and figure out the effect on society and people without having to deploy into the normal world. People who like those kind of things can go there and experiment."

Burning Man is an "annual art event and temporary community based on radical self expression and self-reliance" in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada. Page and other Google executives have been regular Burning Man attendees for years, and the first Google Doodle in 1998 was the Burning Man logo to signal that Page and co-founder Sergey Brin were out in the desert.

Google is hosting its annual developer conference, Google I/O, this week in San Francisco. The online giant has been expected to announce a host of new products and provide more details about other recently announced technology such as Google Glass. Software also has been expected to play a big role, with Google introducing new features for Android and Chrome.

Page on Wednesday made a statement to close Google's keynote event and then took questions from the audience about topics such as the future of the Web, capabilities Google Fiber can enable, and where Google sees sensors going. He also criticized fellow tech companies, such as Microsoft and Oracle, for focusing too much on negativity instead of advancing technology.

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