"It will be a long time before displays [online] will be as good as paper. A laptop runs out of battery and you can't tuck it under your arm," Page said.
Questioned further, Page admitted he doesn't generally read newspapers, while Brin said he bought the New York Times on Sundays. Page said he might be happy to pay for access to a newspaper group's content online. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the Dead Tree Medium, is it?
Readers are abandoning newspapers. Last year the number of adults that read newspapers in the US fell below 50 per cent according to figures from the Newspaper Association of America. The stats reveal a steady fall, from 58.6 per cent 1998 to 49.9 per cent in 2006. The fall in readership would be largely due to the internet and its ability to deliver news when and where you want it. No one would know this better than Larry and Sergey, with Google playing a large role in making online news more accessible.
As well as stealing newspapers' readers, the internet is also stealing their advertising. Newspapers once referred to classified advertising as "the rivers of gold", but now the gold is flowing elsewhere according to NAA figures (with annual spending growth falling from 17.9 per cent in 1976 to 1.6 per cent in 2000).
Combine a loss of readers with a loss of advertising and the future looks bleak for newspapers. Page told the forum Google is working "really hard" on helping its advertisers also advertise in newspapers. After stealing newspapers' bread and butter, the internet is now throwing them the crumbs of the table. This must be a real comfort to them.
Larry and Sergey can pretend it's not happening, but newspapers are destined for the obituary pages.