Google driverless car needs users, then revenue

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt sits in a Google self-driving car at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Getty Images
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt sits in a Google self-driving car at the Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Google's self-driving car needs users before the company can even think about the business model, says Chief Business Officer Omid Kordestani.

"You got to build it first and if the users come, then you figure out how to monetize it," Kordestani said on Wednesday at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. "That's true of all of our friends in the industry from the Facebooks of the world and others."

In a wide-ranging interview covering everything from the core search business and relations with Apple to the European Union's investigation and Google's crazy "moonshots," Kordestani acknowledged that the company is unlikely to build and sell its own car.

Read MoreApple vs. Google: Mapping

"We'd like to do that through partnerships," he said.

Auto-related technology has been a hot topic at the conference. General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced that 14 new Chevrolet models are baking in connected media technology from Apple and Google, and Apple's Jeff Williams called cars "the ultimate mobile device."

Despite Kordestani's statement, Google recently showed a driverless car that it built from the ground up.