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Google's CEO Clears the Air 147

Posted by Zonk
from the there's-a-lot-of-fog-out-here dept.
prostoalex writes "Google CEO Eric Schmidt sat down with PC Magazine to discuss some of the current issues swirling around Google, such as China and censorship, growth of the video content on the Internet, Microsoft's planned move into online ads, working with AOL and Internet neutrality." From the article: "Schmidt was quick to say that the acquisition of Writely was not meant to create a competitor to Microsoft Office, which he said solves a complicated and important problem of work productivity. Writely is a server-based editing system where you can move your files around, he said, and there are places where a rich text editor is useful in Google."
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Google's CEO Clears the Air

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  • by Paul Townend (185536) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:30PM (#14944499) Homepage
    I suspect that this BBC article:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4816848.stm [bbc.co.uk]

    was made based on the same meeting....
  • Creepy: (Score:4, Interesting)

    by naught (16634) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:31PM (#14944501) Homepage

    from tfa: "He said Google ads are very targetable, because Google knows a lot about the person surfing, especially if they have used personal search or logged into a service such as Gmail."

    not to mention possibly what crimes you've committed. i find myself suddenly not wanting to ever search on the word 'torrent' again.

    • by msbmsb (871828) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:39PM (#14944570)
      Also from the article: Schmidt said he saw Writely and other server-based tools as another way to collect and organize the world's data. "All the world's information includes personal information," he noted.

      I was a little surprised to not see anything else in there really about privacy concerns, except that users "need to trust that the information won't be abused by Google or by governments".
    • by babbling (952366) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:43PM (#14944597)
      Torrents are not illegal.
      The bittorrent protocol is not illegal.
      The bittorrent method of distribution is not illegal.
      Torrent websites are not illegal.

      The distribution, without permission, of files that fall under current copyright is illegal in most, but not all, places in the world.

      Furthermore, searching for torrents of files that fall under copyright is not illegal. Downloading the torrents themselves might be illegal, I'm not sure. Downloading the copyrighted material itself, without permission, is always illegal. This has nothing to do with it being a torrent.

      I'd say you can safely search for "torrent"...
      • all of those things are true. however, if you were a media lawyer, which words in someone's google search history would you be looking for? whether the purpose you're using them for is illegal or not, the path is the same.
      • Those of us who want to clear the good name of Bittorrent should do things like seed our favorite Linux flavor [ubuntu.com], and get our music from places where artists share freely [jamendo.com] under the Creative Commons license.
      • I'd say you can safely search for "torrent"...

        Hear, hear! Best post I've read in a long time. torrents are as you correctly mention both safe and legal. Well, safe to the extent that some of the factual objective information about 911 and other issues available at http://torrentchannel.com/ [torrentchannel.com] may break big holes in your "safe" (illusion) of reality, but hey. Truth is good for you.
    • Re:Creepy: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by xiando (770382)
      i find myself suddenly not wanting to ever search on the word 'torrent' again.

      BitTorrent is a LEGAL protocol. It can also be abused, just like http and ftp. In light of reality, your statement is like saying "I'll never browse the web again" (yes, there are websites with illegal content, but that doesn't mean you should stop using http..). It should also be mentioned that a lot of the documentaries available using BitTorrent goes against everything the government and predominant media would have people b
      • Let's be real, the vast, vast majority of torrent traffic is freeloaders participating in illegal piracy. A torrent on PirateBay is getting a lot more traffic then torrents for some rinky-dink Ubuntu ISO or free concert MP3 from some unsigned local band.
        • Re:Creepy: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by xiando (770382)
          Let's be real, the vast, vast majority of torrent traffic is freeloaders participating in illegal piracy. A torrent on PirateBay is getting a lot more traffic then torrents for some rinky-dink Ubuntu ISO or free concert MP3 from some unsigned local band.

          That's a myth. And movies at PirateBay like http://thepiratebay.org/details.php?id=3412481 [thepiratebay.org] "911 - Alex Jones: Martial Law 911 Rise of the Police State HQ" are legal to download, mr. Jones actually encourages everyone to share his movies. And there are many
          • Come on now, just open your eyes. I know you have an agenda to push, but really.
          • Re:Creepy: (Score:3, Insightful)

            That's a myth.

            Can't argue with that kind of research! Especially the way you find one single freely released movie. Wow! That totally removes the other 99.9% of PirateBay's illegal piracy, including their "Piracy is great!" t-shirts.

            Seriously. BitTorrent piracy is a myth. Yes, there are a small percentage of files pirated using that protocol, just like http, ftp, e-donkey and other file transfer protocols can be abused.

            A "small percentage?!" ROFL! The majority of Bittorrent traffic, like the majority o
    • If you have not noticed, all the adds are targeted at you. I have done some experiments in the past to see who is doing what. Yahoo, MSN, and Google have figured me out even though I clean up the system (i.e. cookies, cache, ip, etc) and a short time later they can figure it out. As long as you have some variable (ID, cookie, cache, ip) fixed, you will be tracked to some degree. One thing that I did find out is that Google is more widespread than MS or Yahoo. They basically are able to track you faster. But
      • The whole idea of target adds based upon your preferences is a phurphy, the adds are targeted at what you are searching for based upon which locale you are searching from. Anything else is pointless, I am really interested in computers, when searching for cars, telling me about computers in the another country is pointless.

        Oddly enough I have still found that the majority of targeted adds were often pointless as they tend to be from less than reliable companies. The really weird thing of course, is the wh

  • Google Acqusistions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Grant29 (701796) * on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:31PM (#14944508) Homepage
    Google keeps acquiring lots of small companies. Who wants to bet that these things are all inteneded for a much larger product that we all assume? Looks like they could eventually captalize on many different markets. Search will probably eventually become what they're least known for.
    --
    Find the best price at PriceAge.com [priceage.com]. Price Comparison, Coupons, Reviews, specs, and more!
    • fun speculation, along the same lines: http://poynterextra.org/epic/ [poynterextra.org] .
    • Search will probably eventually become what they're least known for

      But search needs to get much better soon too. We need a leap equivalent to the leap from pre-Google to Google. Something that begins to understand what it's reading, knows the difference between an article text and the clutter around it. Can differentiate between the word 'review' and an actual review. Get's you closer to what you want without wondering which combination of serach terms will cut out the crap at the top of the results.

      • I disagree that search really needs to get that good. When I search for something at the moment, I find that I always get what I want on the first page.

        I think any search engine that attempts to "understand" what is meant by pages and queries will end up returning goofy results for the vast majority of queries.
    • Search will probably eventually become what they're least known for.

      Well, maybe, but if so it won't be any time soon.

      Sure, maybe they have some killer app in mind, but it ain't necessarily so. I mean, you can't just glom the products of a whole bunch of different companies into the next killer app.

      It may be more about intellectual property. Motivated tea leaf readers may want to search through patents the acquired companies held.

      It may also be that they have a cash burning a hole in their pocket, and as
    • Engaging in some baseless speculation about Google's intent, eh? Count me in.

      I hear they're working on a line of cars. They'll be free to use, but you have to allow them to track your wherabout at all times, as well as the contents of everything in your car.
    • I doubt that Google will really make a run into another major market (like office software or operating systems) until they've exhausted the growth of ad revenue. After that we may see something big in order to make a new revenue stream, because they'll find that sitting idly by and watching the ad revenue come in won't make investors happy.
      • I doubt that Google will really make a run into another major market (like office software or operating systems) until they've exhausted the growth of ad revenue.

        An intelligent business is always looking for ways to use its strengths to increase profit. To do otherwise is to invite death. I think that Google has intelligent management, so I think that Google will be constantly searching for ways to increase profit. On the other hand, developing office software and/or operating systems does not necessaril
        • Don't get me wrong. It's not that I think Google won't continue to invest in R&D in areas outside of the immediate ad revenue market. I know they will. In fact, when the time comes that they need a boost in their bottom line, I think one of the big products that people speculate about them creating will probably be well into development. My statement is that I don't think they'll want to release anything on that scale until their ad revenue starts to level off.

          Everyone thinks Google can take on Micros

  • by garcia (6573) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:34PM (#14944535) Homepage
    "The technology we have is incredibly empowering to citizens," he said. For all the countries we don't like, he suggested we might their change behavior more by giving their citizens PCs, fast connections, and access.

    It doesn't empower citizens of countries that do everything they can to proxy out that information. While I 99% agree with what Google did in China, I don't agree that giving citizens PCs, connections, and access will stop their governments from doing what they do.

    Fuck, the USA is supposedly "free" and "open" and we have quite a bit of the population with access and yet we just let our leaders take FAT SHITS in front of our faces and then smile when they waft the stentch towards us.
    • In a democracy, if people aren't upset about what their leaders are doing and they're not uninformed then the only logical conclusions left are that they 1. Do not care or 2. Approve.
    • in front of our faces and then smile when they waft the stentch towards us.

      Well, to give them some credit, it did say the Google CEO cleared the air. ;)
    • You're wrong. of course it will help. Most people in repressed societies are very interestedi n the political process - and take interest in voting, etc., even if it is life threatening. Thus, the access to information is of importance to them.

      The united states sports a pretty low voter turnout in national elections, and even lower turnout in local and state elections. It's the mark of a decadent society, I guess. We're so spoiled and well off collectively that we don't vote. In fact, the powers that be now
  • Simple Survey (Score:5, Insightful)

    by webword (82711) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:35PM (#14944543) Homepage
    Do you trust Google less today than one year ago?

    Feel free to explain why. My point of the "survey" is that I think people trust Google less now than in the past. It is taking more and more effort for Google to keep the hearts and minds of the world. There is more speculation. There are more conspiracy theories.
    • Re:Simple Survey (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ajs (35943) <ajs@nOsPam.ajs.com> on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:43PM (#14944598) Homepage Journal
      I trust any company less than the identical company with 100 fewer employees, so my answer to that question would have to be "yes". However, I'd also have to point out that when compared to ANY OTHER FOR-PROFIT COMPANY OF ITS SIZE, I trust Google far, far more. This relative trust is highly significant to Google's business, and until they do something to violate that trust (no, censoring Chinese content doesn't violate that trust because it provides more information to the Chinese than they would have had if Google had refused), I will continue to use their products over Microsoft's, Yahoo's and their other competitors'.
      • In the end it is all about "intention", and a hundred different people can interpret a hundred different intentions, from single behaviour by anyone else.

        But only the person who exhibits the behaviour knows for sure what the intention behind it was, and only time will tell if it's results are positive or negative.

        Also a hundred different people will have a hundred different opinions on the nature of "evil". But one thing is for sure, unless something is a stated intention, it can't be linked to a resulting
      • "This relative trust is highly significant to Google's business, and until they do something to violate that trust..."

        I've been standing right here in front of Google with my pants around my ankles for a long long time, and they still haven't done anything!! They're wearing T-Shirts that say 'Do No Evil', so I'm put at ease. Anyway, until they take advantage of this situation, I'm going to trust them! Yessiree, I'm going to wave my bare bottom at them until they do something to betray my trust. Wow, I sur

    • Yes. (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by babbling (952366)
      Yes, as they used Digital Rights Management on Google Video. This shows they don't care as much about their customers as they claim to.
      • Wait, only not (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Vlad2.0 (956796)
        Your argument (if you can call it an argument) doesn't make sense, and here's why:

        Other companies (hereafter, content providers) supply video and whatnot for Google to display on Google Video. Content providers own this content, but don't want to pay for a distribution system when one (Google Video) is already in place. At the same time, content providers don't want to give their stuff away for free (a la your typical Google Video clip). Like any company they want to make a profit and protect *THEIR* con
        • They should have picked #2. They should have stood up to the companies and allowed any video that doesn't use DRM. Eventually, some content producers would go along with it, and others would be forced to in order to compete.

          Google are a huge company, now. Don't make excuses for them and try to tell me that they're getting pushed around.

          I do like everything else Google is doing (except China, which I'm undecided on), and so I like them in general, but I was disappointed that they caved in and put DRM into Go
    • Do you trust Google less today than one year ago?
      No.

      There is an automatic distruct of anything larger that us, so a lot of the problems with google retaining its trust is simply its size. This seems to be outwayed by public probing though, as the larger something gets the more the public will probe any irregularities. Just look at Microsoft, sure it does some bad stuff, but it did the really nasty stuff when it was small and noone was watching.. The public eye after the trial has really forced them to str
    • Do you trust Google less today than one year ago?

      I don't trust corporations, ever. Yes, that means Google too!

      My point of the "survey" is that I think people trust Google less now than in the past.

      If by "people" you mean Slashdotters and general conspiracy theorists and paranoid tin-foil hat wearers (that's me too, FYI) then yes, I agree. If by "people" you mean the general computer-using public, then no. They don't have a clue.

      Is Google "less evil" than any other corporation out there? That I don't hav
    • Trust doesn't matter to me, to be quite frank. I don't use Google's services, for the most part; I have a CGIproxy script which displays Google ads with served pages, and I have a couple of mostly unused GMail accounts which now act as nothing but spam traps. All I do with Google, really, is search. And that's only a couple of times a day.

      Anyway, I find it very hard to "trust" a corporation. No corporation can trust you, and so I refuse to trust them back.
    • Yes, actually I do. I trusted them implicitly before. Maybe a year isn't quite far enough to go back but two, three, sure. They were a neutral, common-carrier kind of utility that didn't care what you did or what you found. Sure, they had ads that would display alongside what you actually searched for but it wasn't hard to buy an innocuous explanation when that was as far as it went. When people posted a way to steal credit cards using the service, they started filtering the results, but it was the excep
    • Re:Simple Survey (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Halo- (175936)
      Do you trust Google less today than one year ago?

      Yes, I trust Google a little less today than a year ago, but only slightly. Overall, I trust Google far more than any other company of decent size.

      The reason I trust them less, is because they have grown larger, and are expanding. It is easier to "not be evil" when you have a smaller number of employees and a smaller number of projects. As Google grows, they will inevitably hire some people who are willing to take greater liberties with their user's tr

    • "We are moving to a Google that knows more about you." -- Google CEO Eric Schmidt, speaking to financial analysts, February 9, 2005, as quoted in the New York Times the next day.

      I use scroogle a lot: http://www.scroogle.org/cgi-bin/scraper.htm [scroogle.org]

      It searches Google for you but doesn't give them more information about me. Not that they don't already know way too much...

      I have no reason to not trust Google. However, I also don't have any reason to trust them. And I generally don't trust anyone, specially i
    • Re:Simple Survey (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      I trust Google more now than a year ago. Why? Evidence. We've gone another year without them screwing me over. We all do business with many corporations every day (banks, phone companies, etc.). Sometimes they screw us over, sometimes they "play fair."

      Google has never done anything to bother me. They offer me quality products (search, Gmail) at a reasonable price (I look at a few ads). The evidence so far is that they treat me well... so my trust in them has grown. (As compared to, say, Sony.)
    • I think google is still trying to do the right thing. But I trust the government to do what governments the world over do - spy on its citizens, reduce our rights, be more invasive in our lives and so on. Hey if you've got nothing to hide, you've nothing to fear... right?

      So I think that no matter what google tries to do or be - they are a gold mine of data. The government tried to get some data in the public eye, and got rebuffed. I believe that they will get whatever they want from google soon, but you won
    • Re:Simple Survey (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MrNougat (927651) <ckratschNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:42PM (#14945077)
      I would say that over the last year, I have seen Google put in some interesting situations. They've made those situations fairly public prior to deciding what to do about them, taken time to make a choice, chosen what could arguably be the lesser of evils, and made that public, too.

      Examples: Google gets beat up all the time for tailoring its web searches to suit the Chinese gov't on google.cn. What about Yahoo [yahoo.com.cn] and MSN [msn.com.cn]? I'm sure that they tailor search results at teir China sites, too. Google gets beat up for having to turn over data to the Justice Dept, and yet they're the only ones who made any noise about it. I'm sure those same requests were made of other search engines, and that those engines happily turned over the requested data without informing the public at all.

      Do I trust Google more now than I did a year ago? Yes, I do. Because they are public about situations of which the public should be aware, while their competitors are uncannily silent.
      • Examples: Google gets beat up all the time for tailoring its web searches to suit the Chinese gov't on google.cn. What about Yahoo and MSN?

        Agreed. But turn it around - Yahoo got beat up for turning over the identity of a Chinese blogger to the Chinese government. Does anyone seriously think Google or MSN would refuse such a request?
    • Yes. Now that they went public. They have to answer to shareholders (and to the gov't apparently), not the community.
    • I trust Google a bit less than before, despite having a friend who works there and liking the technology that comes from them. Why? I can only speak of personal experience and hope I don't get modded flamebait...

      1) Once upon a time, I used Google for searching. They were relevant, their ads were useful, and they were fast. They were simple and good at what they did.

      2) Then, I watched them branch out. They bought or made Google Maps (which was initially quite cool), and Picasa (awesome!), and Googl
  • Privacy concerns (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Baseball_Fan (959550) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:39PM (#14944575)
    One thing that will increase advertising effectiveness, he said, was better targeting of ads. He said Google ads are very targetable, because Google knows a lot about the person surfing, especially if they have used personal search or logged into a service such as Gmail. This he said was true not only of text ads, but for display ads and eventually for video ads as well.

    Am I the only one who does not like Google collecting surfing habits or using email to decide what ads to send my way. What other ways can this information be used? Will Google one day sell this information to employers? Will there be enough data that Google can link surfing habits to a real person, not a virtual internet user?

    Will credit card companies and banks join a data mining company to share collected information?

    Can people imagine if their bank, ISP, and employer joined forces to paint a complete profile of a person? Can that data, when taken as a whole, be used to predict things like how much a person will cost in health insurance, and that data be used to not hire a person?

    • As you point out, it really depends on what they do with that data. It would be very nasty if they started selling it, but it appears that, at least for now, they intend to keep it to themselves.
    • Re:Privacy concerns (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:54PM (#14944698)

      There are already a number of companies building profiles of data about everyone and selling it. Unless we get privacy laws passed (fat chance) this will continue. So your bank, ISP, and employer will be collaborating on building a profile of you and they almost certainly will use it in hiring decisions. When employers become large and consolidated, the only way to bargain fairly is for labor to organize and consolidate. This leads to some serious inefficiencies and lots of room for corruption, but it is not like their are any better options.

    • Re:Privacy concerns (Score:4, Informative)

      by Zathrus (232140) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:21PM (#14944924) Homepage
      Am I the only one who does not like Google collecting surfing habits or using email to decide what ads to send my way.

      Yes. You're the only one who has ever had any misgivings over it. I'm so glad you finally said something, because certainly nobody else has ever thought it before.

      Seriously - is your tin foil covering your entire body now? Or are you just that much of an egotist?

      Will Google one day sell this information to employers?

      Not without either violating their privacy policy [google.com] or significantly changing it. But don't let that get in the way of your paranoia.

      Will credit card companies and banks join a data mining company to share collected information?

      No [equifax.com] that [transunion.com] would [experian.com] never [choicepoint.com] happen [consumerdebit.com].

      Sorry, I was too lazy to link every single letter to a different data mining company, otherwise I could've included ones that operate predominantly outside of the US (although the big 3 all have non-US operations).

      Your concerns on this issue are about 50 years out of date. And, somehow, I doubt that you know that much about the system as a whole either (and yes, I do).

      Can people imagine if their bank, ISP, and employer joined forces to paint a complete profile of a person?

      A rather large amount of that information, particularly the financial data, is already available. See above. If I pull a report on you from the credit bureaus then I can already tell a great deal about you -- where you live, how badly you are in debt (or if you're not), how much you're paid (roughly), possibly what kind of car you drive.

      Can that data, when taken as a whole, be used to predict things like how much a person will cost in health insurance, and that data be used to not hire a person?

      Not bloody likely. Even in Right to Work states you'd have a hard time pulling that one off. You might try, but if you were ever found out then you'd lose far, far more in legal bills than you'd ever gain in insurance savings. Not to mention that you'd get your ass sued off for invasion of privacy -- no matter what waivers you had employees (or potential employees) sign.
    • "Can people imagine if their bank, ISP, and employer joined forces to paint a complete profile of a person? "

      Of course not. We're protected by a three-word corporate tag-line!
  • Does anyone actually see themselves using Writely? Why not just use a local text editor and copy/paste to email? I guess I just don't see myself getting any use out of this, and therefore don't see myself having my privacy invaded by it.
    • You're right, I don't know if there's really demand or market for something like this. However, when you think about other tools google has like gmail and even creating pages, at least this type of web based editor might enrich those products.

      It would also be great to be able to edit a document even when you're in a remote terminal, and prevent that remote document from being stored in an untrusted computer.

      At the end of the day, I think the ideal is a local editor, but Office / Word is so expensive, you ca
      • It would also be great to be able to edit a document even when you're in a remote terminal, and prevent that remote document from being stored in an untrusted computer.

        Hah, so not only do google get to index all the web content, they get to index private documents as they are created.

        Nice.

        If you want to create a browser based document editing system, then why not use your own servers and TinyMCE [moxiecode.com] ? At least then you can make it private (using SSL for example).

    • by lgw (121541)
      I compose all of my personal email inside of the Gmail interface. It has a spell check, and it autosaves drafts, which were my two big objections to the process. Now I don't see a need to compose email in one program just so I can copy it to another.
    • Does anyone actually see themselves using Writely? Why not just use a local text editor and copy/paste to email? I guess I just don't see myself getting any use out of this, and therefore don't see myself having my privacy invaded by it.

      I see this filling a few niches. One is for editing documents that you need access to from multiple locations. For example, this might be editing a journal from various cyber cafes in Europe. This might be ideal for those people I see at the library that probably don't h

  • To those who talk about embargoing filtering technology to China or other regimes that restrict political information, Schmidt said that personally (not as a Google executive) he was instructed by the example of Cuba. He said the embargo there hasn't worked, with Castro still in power, and with the Cuban people living with technology form the 1950s.

    This is a tad self-serving. The Cuba embargo has failed to bring down Casto because domestic Cuban opposition has been crushed. It is non-existant due to fea

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Mr. Schmidt's high thinking solution is nothing more than to act as the Maoists information jailer, or worse, be their stool pigeon. Hard to see how that leads to a better future in China.

      It is equally as hard to see how google NOT being present leads to a better future in China. I would argue that nothing some internet search company does is going to affect politics as usual in China, so let's all just gain a little perspective here.
      • It is equally as hard to see how google NOT being present leads to a better future in China.

        Ah honesty. If Mr. Schmidt had suggested this I would be more impressed. Ofcourse my 'jailer' question still stands. The role of Google CEO is not enought for this egomaniac. He really wants to be Secretary of State. Perhaps he will sober up when Google's stock price has fallen a few hundred more points.

    • >>The Cuba embargo has failed to bring down Casto because domestic Cuban opposition has been crushed.

      Still, the embargo has done nothing to get Castro out of power. Nothing. Nada-nada-limonada.

      >>Mr. Schmidt's high thinking solution is nothing more than to act as the Maoists information jailer, or worse, be their stool pigeon.

      Do you really belive that name calling is going to bring clarity to the situation?

      China is communist. Accept it! We can trade with them or not. The lowering of trade barrier
    • by TopShelf (92521) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:16PM (#14944876) Homepage Journal
      While the analogy is a bit of a stretch, the Cuban embargo is still a collosal failure. It hasn't achieved its objective, and doesn't show any signs of doing so in the forseeable future. Why not end it? Just to avoid giving Castro the satisfaction and PR? That's an awfully petty reason to keep a neighbor impoverished.

      I would think that free trade and closer US/Cuba ties would help the anti-totalitarian interests there in the long run.
    • The Cuba embargo has failed to bring down Casto because domestic Cuban opposition has been crushed.

      This is incorrect. The Cuban embargo failed to bring down Castro because it was a unilateral embargo. The Soviet bloc and even Europe traded with him to keep his regime afloat. While one would expect that of his Soviet bloc comrades, it was refreshing to see the Europeans express their solidarity with the Cuban dictator.

      Likewise, Google doesn't want to unilaterally exclude itself from a market, while

    • by KingJoshi (615691) <slashdot@joshi.tk> on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:32PM (#14945009) Homepage
      Insightful? More like flamebait.

      First, you said yourself that "the Cuban standard of living continues to slouch". Don't you think the embargo is partly to blame? Don't you think that possibly lifting that embargo would help those very same people? And doesn't that mean the plan is a failure?

      I'm sure Google has many Chinese researchers. And I'm sure most Chinese people in China would prefer to have Google with censoring then no Google (as those are the only two options really). So you're condemning Google for offering a service in China which also explains that the results are censored (which most other search engines there don't do) when that action does no harm to you and benefits the Chinese, yet you want them to not offer the service which would have no affect upon you and not benefit the Chinese either. Really easy for you to decide no?
    • Actually cuba is switching to LINUX.. it was on digg apparently to rid them of the influence of the capitalist pig. :D
    • If the Americans wanted Castro out, thet would have done what they did to Allende in Chile and various other leaders of other countries. Maintaining the status quo has more to do with cash flow than nay kind of ideology. Somebody is propping Castro up. He simply wouldn't be there otherwise.
  • Google's ways... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bogaboga (793279) on Friday March 17, 2006 @04:57PM (#14944723)
    > ...the acquisition of Writely was not meant to create a competitor to Microsoft Office...

    This is how they denied the Gmail in the first place. They even denied working on Google video at first...what haven't they denied in the past and then lived to defend when products came to the market?

    This is one situation where I do not belive what the CEO says.

    They (Google), could sell a Google Appliance (with Writely installed), that wirelessly allows users to access Writely and other services. This can be a very useful thing for medium sized companies in that they will not have to install any software on their individual systems. Now, when it comes to Writely, I wish there was a way I could move a table to anywhere in the document being edited. Google should improve on this and solve other bugs too.



  • This CEO is trying to have it both ways- support the stock holders desire to grow the company by putting the company foot in China (hoping for future business opportunities) while trying to not tick-off the Western world user-base.

    It's quite Ferengi of him- and I respect that.

    Plus watching him juggle all these balls at the same time is quite entertaining.
  • Clears the air? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by Syberghost (10557)
    I thought that was Steve Johnson [epa.gov]'s job.
  • "He said the decision of how to act in China was "one of the most controversial decisions the company has ever made," and it took over a year of internal arguments before the company came out with its policies. "It is a hard call, but it is a clear call" to do business in China, he said, and do as the Chinese government requires it to."

    And again, greed wins out over morality. Do business, no matter what the cost. What a sad fucking state of affairs.

    ah.clem
    • by why-is-it (318134) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:27PM (#14944969) Homepage Journal
      And again, greed wins out over morality. Do business, no matter what the cost.

      But Google is a publicly traded company now, and there is no place for morality. The board is obligated to act in the best interests of the shareholders. Since there is money to be made in China, Google follows the official party line.

      I'm far too cynical to be disappointed any more. Corporations exist to make money and limit the liability of the owners. I'd say that they would kill people if it paid well enough, but we already know about the tobacco industry...

      Unfortunately, morality, ethics and integrity are empty rhetoric, the real goal is to enhance shareholder value.

  • by why-is-it (318134) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:14PM (#14944867) Homepage Journal

    Is Eric Schmidt still around? I thought that Steve Ballmer was going to f*cking bury him!

    Apparently, he did it once before...

  • by eSavior (767078) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:20PM (#14944913)
    In a related area, Schmidt said that while the two companies weren't going to offer full interoperability between their instant messaging networks anytime soon, users could expect a single tool that give you access to both Google Talk and AIM in ways similar to how Trillian treats multiple IM networks.
    I really hoped all the interoperability talk meant more than a multiprotocal client. It would have been nice for google to put up a jabber server that would allow the jabber world to instant message AIM users say via @aim.com addresses (I hear Apple's iChat works like that). Oh well, thanks google for adding nothing to the instant messaging landscape that gaim/trillian/etc didn't add years ago.
  • An Open Question: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Vlad2.0 (956796) on Friday March 17, 2006 @05:27PM (#14944971)
    Why do companies absolutely insist on keeping records of everything? (I make (temporary) exceptions for the following: backups, absolutely non-identifable data for site monitoring and traffic flow, and security logs).

    If I ran an ISP/Service provider and a customer clicked the delete button I'd make sure that stuff was either erased immediately or very very soon (such as a cron job which expunges selected emails every half hour). I can understand logging something like, safe, people trying to telnet or SSH into a system of mine, but not every page view of my site. Why bother? Is it a legal requirement? Are they just trying to cover their collective asses? Sounds like a shitload of work for absolutely zero payoff (other than pissing your customers off...which really isn't a payoff at all.)

    • Re:An Open Question: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Bongo Bill (853669)
      Knowledge is power. Power can be used to earn more money.

      The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to give them what they want. The better you are at giving your customers what they want, the more they pay you.

      Google's job is organizing and retrieving information. It's against everything to stand for to not keep local archives that they can analyze for further insight into the Internet's patterns.
  • writely is great - but I suspect it's just something they needed to put a positive story out there - while they continue to fight the government over releasing our information.

    Keep fighting, Google - the Bush administration sucks.
  • Click fraud? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ROBOKATZ (211768)
    Apparently these "journalists" didn't bother bringing up important issues like click fraud [washingtonpost.com]. I suppose though, they are as much a part of the conspiracy to defraud advertisers and shareholders as Google and the people operating the clicking bot nets.
  • Wait a second. For a second I thought Google's CEO was in a room full of people who just read this: http://science.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/03/1 6/2357204 [slashdot.org]
  • by loconet (415875) on Friday March 17, 2006 @07:52PM (#14945850) Homepage
    So not only do they roll out a magnificent search engine, help research in Africa to clean water, help illiterate kids learn to read/write, fight poverty, etc .. but now they are also fighting pollution?!
  • Experiments (Score:3, Interesting)

    by FishandChips (695645) on Friday March 17, 2006 @08:01PM (#14945888) Journal
    Maybe a key line in the interview is this: "One of the things about the Internet is that every experiment is tried," he [Schmidt] said. Maybe Google doesn't have a grand masterplan, which so many folks assume it has. Maybe they take that line about the internet at face value. They try lots of things, and if one works they go for it. Most outfits don't have the resources to scale a success very quickly, but Google do with their truly huge computer farms. And if it doesn't work, no big deal, they run it down or can it. I've no idea whether this is the case, but looking at Google in this way makes it easier to understand, a little less of a mystery. They are opportunists and they pride themselves on not being a big fat corporation that like an oil tanker takes five miles to change course by ten degrees.

    The emphasis on trust is very sticky for them now, though. Google's pitch that it was the company that dealt (or could be trusted to deal) with the world's information has been blown out of the water by the China venture and the recent court stuff about handing over records. I suspect this is going to come back and bite their ass bigtime. Once perhaps Google was the natural "information company"; now they are just another corporation angling for your dollars. Better than plenty, but no longer unique.
  • by bill_kress (99356) on Friday March 17, 2006 @09:26PM (#14946181)
    From the article: "Schmidt was quick to say that the acquisition of Writely was not meant to create a competitor to Microsoft Office, which he said solves a complicated and important problem of work productivity..."

    Schmidt went on to say "When we create something meant to compete with Microsoft Office, you'll know it."

People are always available for work in the past tense.

Working...