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“We shouldn’t be designing for mobile,” says Google CEO Larry Page

AP/Seth Wenig
Larry Page is frustrated by your company's misguided attempts to cater to him
By Christopher Mims
Published This article is more than 2 years old.

In today’s earnings call, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page mentioned his high-end Android-powered phone, the Nexus 4, and then unleashed this editorial about mobile websites. This is my own quick transcript:

We don’t necessarily want [our advertisers] to have mobile sites… I find I get frustrated on my phone when I hit these mobile sites… I just find it confusing… As an industry, we need to improve these experiences… I’d almost say that we shouldn’t be designing for mobile. The kind of mobile phones we have now, the state of the art, are a little bit beyond, and those experiences [i.e., full websites] should work on those devices as well. I’d like to see us move in that direction.

Page’s thoughts on designing for mobile echo a larger trend in “responsive web design,” which scales websites according to the form factor of the screen they’re on, rather than dividing them into strict categories of mobile versus desktop. (Quartz is among an increasing number of sites built this way.) Last year, Google officially endorsed the responsive design approach over standalone mobile sites.

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