Live Blogging Google CEO Eric Schmidt At Web 2.0 Summit
Google CEO Eric Schmidt will be speaking today at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. I’m here and will be live blogging his remarks, when the session begins.
Schmidt is set to speak at 2:35pm Pacific, and he’ll be interviewed on stage by John Battelle and Tim O’Reilly. Live blogging to start shortly. There’s also a live stream here.
John asks about news from a new device from Google…
Eric: we don’t make devices
John: A new device powered by software.
Eric: I have an unannounced device here. Showing an Android phone, looks like the Nexus 2 / Nexus S that’s been rumored. Showing how you tap the phone on a Google Place icon, a picture of one in real life, one that has I guess MSE? encoding, and he taps and it finds where he’s out.
This will be in the new Gingerbread operating systemt that will come out in the next few weeks. Secure element in it.
John: you could do payment?
Eric: Yes, industry term is tap-and-pay.
Idea you could take these into stores and replace credit cards.
John. There are tons and tons of credit card numbers, say Amazon has, does this change the game.
Eric: we see ourselves as a technology provider, not trying to compete with those others.
Tim: But still if you’re doing payment, someone’s doing the processsing. You expect to partner in that.
Tim: But you have Google Checkout
Eric: That’s a piece of this. Might be an NFE chip, by the way, he mentioned it again. (Oh, and all your hot Android phones out there now won’t likely have this chip already so….)
Tim asks about search, Eric says “forget search” then jokes in the new regime you have to label jokes — IE he’s joking about forgetting search but goes on to say this is beyond search in that if you’re walking down down the street, offers and other info can just be presented to you without having to search.
John, what are you dissatisfied about with Android?
Eric: Like to have more emphasis on application side, but it’s tough, because you have to get volume of handsets and the platform first, then the apps follow.
Tim: how about search as a competitive advantage in trying to find apps.
Eric: We don’t think of it that way. People are obsessed on the competitive landscape rather than the focus on the market overall.
John: What about the divorce from the carriers, something he feels Jobs did right with iPhone, I don’t want your stuff on our phone.
Eric: Agrees with some. Talks there are open and closed system. We’re willing to let vendors do things, we think that’s the right model. So he kind of dodges it.
John: When you closed the store, you said there would never be a new model.
Eric: I said Nexus 2 (IE, if a Nexus S comes out, don’t say he said it wouldn’t).
John: What about environment now with talent, the pay raises given out recently.
Eric: The origins of the raise were in the spring. Still coming off the recession, made some core investments, looking at acquisitions, then looking also at sharing of success with others in the company.
Found there are people at Google even if well paid still struggling with sky-high property prices, so this is component about that. But more than that, “we just thought it was good for the whole company.”
John, what about trying to maintain the start-up culture.
Eric: we hire a couple hundred of people a week. reports google is losing talent is “poor writing” by journalists, in his opinion. Oh, and he wasn’t joking when he said that.
John: Google’s been in hot water with some agencies around the world, in some responses to then, you said it’s our job to push up to the “creepy” line.
Eric: again, this is an example of quotes being taken … i wish I could push everything up to YouTube so people can see it. The point I was saying is that there is clearly a line that we should not cross it.
We’ve gotten onto the auto-driving cars that Google has. Sorry, had to copy stuff over and swear didn’t miss that much. Anyway, Eric says that they think driving cars in this way are legal by various reads.
John’s getting back to the line, leading Eric to say the main issue is that society is going to have to confront all types of uncomforable questions about privacy, need for policing and all types of issues because so much is coming online or being monitored, such as street camera (run by the government) in Britain.
John: But you have to (google) make some decisions about products yourself, as with Street View
Eric: We learned that you can’t just rush a product out. The engineers’ political views, for example, might not match government views. Started with face blurring and license blurring (actually, I didn’t think that was part of the initial launch). Most countries was OK. But some wanted houses deleted, and that was added. Still in Germany, not enough, a permanent opt-out of your house. It was a reasonable accomodation to the local sensitivities. People there now love StreetView. Things this is how things will go forward.
John: are you planning a set of products around social that may be seen as competitive to Facebook.
Eric: because of this obsession with competition, everything we do seems competitive. I’d rather answer the question by saying we agree that social information is important, in particular the name value graphs. That link structure has great value. The classic example is in search, where with your permission, if information you provide is being used. And by the way, that’s a deal Facebook and Microsoft announced.
Tim: Didn’t Mark say they didn’t use you because they saw you as competitive in your space.
Eric: I can’t speak for Mark.
John: Why not use Facebook Connect. There are clearly busienss reason you aren’t donig that. You don’t want to strengthen Facebook.
Eric: That’s not literally how we think. One of the fundamental priciples on the internet is that this kind of information is open. So I worry, as a general response, not just about Facebook, that things are developing to keep too much information private.
John: Can you take a minute to educate on how came to joint statement with Verizon on net neutrality and different views on wired and wireless web.
Eric: Which is not what we said. Let’s define the terms. Net neutrality has meant if you have one video type like video, vendors won’t discriminate one video provider over others. But it has always allowed data in general to be discriminated against.
So the problem with the telcos is that they don’t want to be regulated. they say they’re OK with this, but they don’t want the govt writing regulations when they’ve just left being regulated.
So our response was lets look at wired, where you often have less choice if only one choice, so less competitive. We did that to encourage more conversation in the industry.
Tim: Location is a key part of mobile. You recently moved Marissa Mayer to a new position….
Eric: She was promoted…
Tim: We see more and more focus there?
Eric: Absolutely. Google Maps is phenomenal. It’s changed his own view of the world.
Tim: No question, just walking with Google Maps on the phone, you’re never lost.
John: Google TV just recently in market, how’s it going, what’s the beef with the networks hating on it?
Eric: Finally at a point where you can have computer-powered TVs that work, with browser, etc. As I understand the industry’s concerned, do you realize you taking a dumb TV and making it smart, one said. Yes, and the idea is that the TV will be harmed by all this access too to internet content. I disagree. I think people will watch more TV.
Tim: But they’ll also watch through other venues, like Netflix.
Eric: But Netflix pays a pretty penny for that content to the owners. But what do you think will fundamentally happen with TV, they’ll go to the web and watch stolen content or go to watch more TV. I think more TV. Stresses also that the TV now becomes a major new platform.
Q&A: What’s the next billion dollar rev opp for Google?
Eric: The next large one is clearly in the display business.
Question: You probably talked with networks before you launched Google TV and they were on-board [actually, they weren't].
Eric: Says reading more drama than there is. A whole bunch of people are happy. There are some concerned, and you’d expect that. But, “we want to make the revenue larger” for everyone and is “quite confident” that “we’ll get through this one.”
Question: Chrome, Android, I’m confused?
Eric: Fragmentation of Android could be one. The standardization of Android is there’s a standard app store, and that’s the carrot. The stick is that the terms don’t allow for fragmentation that some think.
Tim: but there are some features you can’t have.
Eric: Features aren’t fragmentation. You can add to it, but all apps have to be able to run.
Chrome OS is based off Chrome browser. We don’t want to call the question and say one (android) does one thing and (chrome) does the other. But Android seems to be more about things that need touch [except you know Google TV is non-touch] and Chrome is about keyboard, through there’s not much Chrome out there.
Question: Will we see Chrome OS on tablets and when?
Eric: Answer is that Chrome OS is open source, so you’ll see it everywhere, but more for keyboard devices likely and out in the next few months
And that’s it.
(Some images used under license from Shutterstock.com.)
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