Schmidt Says Google’s Social Networking Problem Is His Fault (Video)
Google tried very hard to be Facebook’s search partner, but in the end the social networking phenomenon opted for an alliance with Microsoft. Now, Google chairman Eric Schmidt calls Facebook one of the “Gang of Four” technology companies that are simultaneously growing faster than ever before: Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple (no Microsoft).
Is Facebook’s success a threat to Google’s business? And why is it that the company appears to be chasing it these days?
“Facebook’s done a number of things which I admire,” Schmidt said during his Tuesday evening D9 interview. “It’s the first generally available way of disambiguating identity. Historically, on the Internet such a fundamental service wouldn’t be owned by a single company. I think the industry would benefit from an alternative to that….Identity is incredibly useful because in the online world you need to know who you are dealing with.”
And incredibly useful to Google as well. Better identity means better search results. Said Schmidt, “we could compute a better answer, because we’ll know more about you.”
Asked later in the session about his biggest regrets as Google CEO, Facebook was again top of mind. Tellingly, Schmidt said the social problem Google is grappling with today is largely his fault. He said he recently looked up memos he wrote four years ago about Google needing to address online identity. “I clearly knew that I had to do something, and I failed to do it,” he said. “A CEO should take responsibility. I screwed up.”
Here’s a video of the exchange: