Eric Schmidt at D9: “Google Will Get Social Data In Alternative Ways”
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It is maybe my favorite conference which I have never attended: the D-conferences, organized by All Things Digital. In these conferences Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg interview industry leaders. This results in many great talks where Mossberg and Swisher meanwhile also know how to get some interesting stuff out of them.
At the current D-conference, D9, they interviewed again several ‘big names’. One of them being Eric Schmidt. The former Google CEO sat down and discussed in a very light way his current role at Google, how he is never going to leave there (he even told them Google could probably store his coffin somewhere in the Plex) and about failing social.
You can find an extract of the talk in the video below:
There were a couple of interesting things coming out of this talk. First of all the fact that Schmidt acknowledged he missed out on social, simply because nobody in Google had acted on it. He said:
“Four years ago, I wrote memos on identity and did nothing …. I clearly knew I had to do something, and I failed to do it,”
Schmidt also said that social is on the agenda now. They are trying to get as much social information as possible. With that they would like to have Facebook’s social data, which they are not getting from Facebook themselves. He however hinted that Google gets its information in alternative ways. Also interesting was that he hinted on the fact that Google didn’t need to buy Twitter, because “we can get people to give us that information.”
He believes that social and personalized are the way to go. When asked if personalization is making a “Balkanized” world where everyone just sees what they want he disagreed. He said the differences aren’t that big and that it is an overstatement.
Finally Mossberg decided to complain about the Google results. And surprisingly enough Schmidt kind of acknowledged that in some cases Google isn’t doing that good a job compared to for example Bing. Mossberg claimed Bing seemed to have more direct answers in some cases which Schmidt kind of a little agreed with: “There’s that in some narrow cases,” he said.
All in all a very interesting talk. If you want to know more of the D9 Conference take a look at their site. Also Danny Sullivan is live blogging it on Searchengineland and there is more coverage on Techmeme.