Eric Schmidt Tells John Battelle: “We’re Not in the Portal Business”

In a new Q&A style interview in Business 2.0 , the covers a lot of ground, John “The Search” Battelle chats with Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt. Topics include:

+ Doing No Evil
Schmidt says:

You and I may disagree on the definition of what is evil, but at least it gives us a way to have a very healthy debate.

+ Does Google Have a “Grand Plan”

+ What Schmidt does with his 20% time.

+ Google Print (aka Google Book Search)

+ Wi-Fi and Free Bandwith

+ John ask Schmidt a question about MSN Search. He does not comment.

My Favorite Passage:

Battelle: OK, so does that mean Google?s a portal? Because if you think of it that way, as Terry Semel recently pointed out, it ranks as one of the smaller ones.

Schmidt: Well, if I can be obnoxious —

Battelle: Please.

Schmidt: You?re using a tired model of looking at corporate behavior. You?re looking at us based on market share for technologies and ideas that were invented 10 years ago. A much better way to ask that is to say, Are the things that we?re doing consistent with the mission of the company? We?re not in the portal business, we?re in the business of making all the world?s information accessible and useful. We never have the conversation that you just asked.

The test that I apply — and we do this every day, 70/20/10 — is to ask how a feature will extend the core, the adjacent, or the innovative stuff to fulfill our mission. That?s the sort of drug that we all take, and it works really quite well. So it may very well be that what you said is correct, and it may not matter very much.

Note: I wonder if Mr. Schmidt would agree with Danny and call Google a stealth portal? I doubt it. (-:

More in the interview titled: The 70 Percent Solution.

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