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Google CEO Chats with the BBC About Online Info, Click Fraud (Not a Problem So Far), 20% Time, and the Competition

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Google Blogoscoped points to BBC News article about Google Video that includes an "exclusive" video interview with Eric Schmidt, Google's CEO. The story and a link to the interview (look for the link in upper right hand corner of page) is available here. Here are a few quotes from Mr. Schmidt that were made during the interview.

"Google is really about changing access to information and worldwide getting people information that they couldn't get before."
"Information just doesn't mean web it also means books, newspapers, and eventually audio/video, and everything."
"We think people want to see everything online."

Q: How much further can you go with the company?

"We're clearly just beginning and the easiest way to think about it is, today if you get information that's not available on Google then we have not done our job or we're not there yet but it makes sense that there be a single place, or a few places, as opposed to a thousand of places that you have to go to get digital information. We also know that all information is either currently digital or will be digital. So, we will have to think of ways to pay for it, we will have to figure out ways to get it to you, you'll have to be able to experience it on the right type of device, it will have to be connected on your mobile phone. All of that is what we're up to."

The discussion then turns to Google and Google Video. Schmidt says that some of the video on Google Video is "hilarious" while other content is sometimes in "questionable taste."

"Advertisers are also beginning to shift dollars to the Internet so newspapers and television and so forth have to find sources of revenue that are not just newspapers and television in the old way, they have to have sources of revenue in this new online medium and Google turns out to have invented a lot of the best technology to make money for them.

Interviewer asks about abuse of advertising systems and click fraud.

"Whenever you have a large operation on the Internet you are going to have people who will to try to game it. So, we have people who for example, have people who try to unilaterally change their search rankings which we don't permit. So we guard against it using specialized computer technology, some special algorithms and some very smart people. We do the same thing for ads. It's possible you're an advertiser and you're doing a good job and somebody could come in and falsely claim that people were using your site when in fact they weren't. That's not OK with us. So we detect that and we prevent it. So far it has not been a problem. Any significant Internet company has this in the back of their mind and builds systems to combat it. It's not going away, it will be true for many many years."

On Google getting "too big," bureaucratic, with little innovation.

"We have studied this and we think we have organized the company to prevent this. Of course, time will tell. For example, we have organized our company into very small teams of engineers and we encourage the engineers to spend 20% of their time working on whatever they want to. Now, they're not going to work on something unrelated to technology, their engineers, right. But we find that many of the most creative ideas come literally, bottoms up. People come up with the most crazy ideas, not all of them are great ideas but they are all interesting and it constantly causes people to question what we are doing and I think that is the key secret for our innovation so far. Looks like we will be able to do that at significant scale growth from today. The company is on the order of 6000 employees, looks like this model of creativity will scale to many more thousands."

On "digs" from Bill Gates

"Look, this space, remember, Google is in the information business and the information business comprises huge media companies, small media publishers, books, many many many different players. It's a much much larger industry than what I've been in, the computer industry. There is plenty of room for all of the players that are trying different things. I will tell you that Microsoft's approaches are different and interesting. Yahoo's approaches are different and interesting. All of the people who are leading in this space, there is plenty of room for all of us."

Postscript: After Larry Page's keynote presentation was finished at CES he headed backstage for a press conference with well-known press members and bloggers. Eric Schmidt was also there. Paul Boutin from Engadget was one of those who received an invite and he reports about what Larry had to say here.


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