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Thursday, May 1, 2008

CNBC Interview With Google’s Eric Schmidt

Google boss Eric Schmidt was interviewed by Maria Bartiromo of CNBC. Some excerpts from the longer transcript:

On innovation and the next big thing

Eric Schmidt: I’ve always thought that the scariest piece of innovation is knowledge understanding and language translation. I don’t understand how it works, but to watch a computer – literally watch it – read something in English, dissect what it’s about, translate it into a language that I don’t speak (...) And it isn’t magic, it’s just very good computer science, very good artificial intelligence, very good physics.

On problems entering Asian markets

Eric Schmidt: In China, of course, there’s all the issues of regulation and censorship. We delayed our entry for good reasons*, and as a result we’re not number one there.

Eric adds that Google had some problems with some of the languages, like Thai, where he says as the language does not have word breaks, “developing the technology to do that right and then search and index against it took [Google] a little while longer.”

On Google’s biggest challenges

Eric Schmidt: I think it’s internal. It’s the ability to manage the creative process, deal with the complexity in what is a relatively large company, in terms of people, who’s doing what. We have 50 development centers all around the world, people in different time zones, “Are you doing that? Are you doing that? Do I work with you? How do I check in my code?”

On long-term goals

Eric Schmidt: We’re really focused on this huge opportunity before us, which is automating the trillion-dollar industry that is advertising. We won’t get all of that, for sure, but we should be able to get a significant part of that over the lifetime, certainly of my service to the company. And our goal is to build this into an institution that lasts for many, many years

Eric remarks that Gogle’s highest priority is the end user or end user happiness, which is about whether or not people are happy with Google search results. Eric thinks Google pays for this by improving their ad services. Also, Eric Says:

Our next big play is in this applications phase, where we think people spend a lot of time online with information, and we can help them, whether it’s their e-mail, which is an easy one to understand, but what about their personal data?** What about their spreadsheets and their calendar, keeping it all there? (...) If we do that right, they can do it on mobile phones as well as at home, in their office and on a Mac and on a PC

Eric says they want to do the same thing for corporate customers who Google “will have for 20 or 30 or 40 years as they build into [Google’s] model.”

[Via Techmeme.]

*Compare to press day 2007, “Our China traffic and China business is booming right now, so it looks like the strategy is working. My only regret is we should have done it much sooner. But it just took this long process to figure out what the right sort of ’Google-value based’ answer was.”

**Does Eric imply email is not personal data?


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