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Google's Brin keeps spotlight on future technologies

Google co-founder Sergey Brin on Thursday outlined a vision for the future in which self-driving cars whisk care-free friends to verdant parks that were once paved lots.

"It's these kinds of ideas - which have the potential to transform lives and communities - that make me excited about coming to work every day," Brin said in an annual founder's letter.

"I am optimistic that if we choose important problems -- transportation in this case -- work in partnership with others, and have a vision we believe in, the odds are on our side."

Brin, who heads the clandestine Google X team research team, seemed to build on remarks by co-founder Larry Page last week on the "big bets" that the Internet search giant is making in the swiftly evolving world of technology.

During a quarterly earnings call with financial analysts last week, Page touted Google innovations ranging from Android mobile gadget software to self-driving cars and Internet-linked glasses.

"Over the last two years we have worked hard to increase our velocity and improve our execution on the big bets that will change the world," Page said.

"Companies can tend to get comfortable doing what they've always done with a few minor tweaks," he added.

"But incremental improvement is guaranteed to be obsolete over time. That is why we are investing in what appear to be speculative products today such as self-driving cars."

The company recently began shipping its Internet-linked "Google Glass" eyewear to software developers who signed on to experiment with them at a cost of $1,500 a pair.

In another technology bet, Google has its sights set on Provo, Utah to become the third US city to get a Google Fiber network that moves Internet data at a gigabyte-per-second, about a thousand times faster than typical service.

Blazingly fast Internet connections could increase the money-making potential of data-rich services.

Google Glass, which is powered by Android software, and even cars synched to the Internet could potentially enhance the Internet giant's money-making services, such as maps.

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