Google CEO Eric Schmidt: 'all world's information includes personal information'

Google CEO Eric Schmidt: Google is not a "truth machine."
Written by Donna Bogatin, Contributor
Google CEO Eric Schmidt sat down with Danny Sullivan at the Search Engine Strategies conference this morning to discuss Google philosophy.

The Google mission to “organize all the world’s information and make it universally accessible” informs all that Google does, according to Schmidt.

For Schmidt, organizing the world’s information and making it universally accessible means to “solve problems people have online” and to “fundamentally affect, in a positive sense, the online user experience.”

Schmidt reiterated that Google undertakes its mission primarily via its core search platform, Google.com, but also indicated that all Google initiatives reflect Google’s guiding mission; AdSense, Video Ads, Radio Ads, GMail, Spreadsheets…

For Google, then, users’ personal data entered into Google applications, such as GMail and Google Spreadsheets, is part of the world’s information to be organized.

Schmidt also quoted Larry Page’s belief that “ads have value in and of themselves.”

Schmidt put forth his assessments in response to Sullivan’s query as to whether Google sets any limits to its mission. Sullivan asked if there are any hard limits to the Google mission and, if not, asked if users should fear such an expansive reach.

In discussing the recent AOL disclosure of user search query data, Sullivan asked if Google ought not to destroy user search query data after a certain brief period of time.

Schmidt put forth assurances that an AOL-like disclosure would not happen via Google. Schmidt suggested, however, that while users do “not have to worry” about Google disclosing user data, Google worries greatly about governments obtaining user data.

A recurring theme put forth by Schmidt: the overwhelming access to information that Google enables justifies decisions made.

Schmidt said that he initiates searches at Google.com more than a hundred times daily.

Because, Schmidt said, “we live in a world where people make all kinds of claims,” the information Google makes accessible is a valuable research asset. Schmidt qualified, however, that Google is “not a truth Machine.”

Schmidt acknowledged that Google will never get to a “perfect answer” in this lifetime.

Schmidt proudly said, however, “we do the best job of any,” and we are getting closer.


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