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Caught on Video: Google CEO Dishes on Google Wave, Verizon & Social Strategy

Google (s GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt gave a rare in-depth look into Google’s motivations, decisions and future plans at the first Techonomy conference in Tahoe, California on Wednesday afternoon. Schmidt touched on Google Wave, Android, the Verizon and net neutrality issue, China, and Google’s social strategy. Check out the full 40-minute video clip below, and here’s some of the highlights: [digg=]

Verizon and Net Neutrality:

We have been talking to Verizon (s VZ) for a long time about trying to get an agreement on the definition of what net neutrality is. We’re trying to find solutions that bridge between the hardcore net neutrality view and the telecom view.

I want to be clear what we mean by net neutrality. What we mean is if you have one data type like video, you don’t discriminate against one person’s video in favor of another. But it’s OK to discriminate across different types, so you could prioritize voice over video, and there is general agreement with Verizon and Google on that issue. The issues of wireless vs. wireline get very messy because of the issue of Type I vs Type II regulation and that is an FCC issue not a Google issue.

Demise of Google Wave:

What happened was we liked the UI and we liked a lot of the new features in it but it didn’t get enough traction. So we’re taking those technologies and applying them to new technologies that are not announced. So basically we’ll get the benefits of Google Wave but not as a separate product. It’s a very clever product and we liked it what it could do. We try things and remember we celebrate our failures. It’s absolutely OK to try something very hard, have it not be successful, take the learning from that and then apply it to something new. In that sense Wave is a exact analog. Would I have loved version 1 to be hugely successful and have five gazillion users, absolutely.

As a culture we dont over-promote products that haven’t been announced, we release it and see what happens. It works, you announce product, you ship it, initial adoption period, a fall-off, and then a second growth period. That second growth is a high predictor of what will happen.

The Success of Android:

Our measurements are that we’re activating 200,000 new Androids a day. It was about 100,000 2 months ago. So it’s that growth rate to the 6th, so if current compounding goes it will be bigger than the planet. Some of the reasons for that is the Droid X is so popular now. Samsung just announced the Galaxy and there are many more hardware partners coming. Android is incredibly phenomenal in its growth rate. Remember we make the majority of our money on advertising and the powerful browser that is in Android when people search — they click on ads and that revenue goes to Google. And trust me that revenue is large enough to pay for all of Android activities and a whole bunch more.

I should also say we love the success of the iPhone, because the iPhone also uses Google search and we get a good chunk of that revenue when people search on the iPhone. The iPhone, followed by Android, brought about these WebKit-centric browsers that are sufficiently powerful that you can do real mobile computing.

Google’s Social Strategy:

There’s been a lot of leaks and some have been correct and some have not been correct. We’ve always believed that our products would be better with more social signals. So a typical example would be your searches, if you give us your permission, would be better if we knew something about the cultural context of how you and your friends operate. Your email spam would be better if we understand about what your friends thought was spam vs. valuable things. There’s example after example how having access to a robust social graph that’s reasonably well-curated can improve the quality of the services of what Google does. We’re not trying to do what Facebook does. It needs technologies around friends and relationships to be provided to everything.

26 Responses to “Caught on Video: Google CEO Dishes on Google Wave, Verizon & Social Strategy”

  1. I always appreciate Eric Schmidt’s honesty, and technical depth. He’s one of the few CEO’s that really understands both the technical and the business domains.

    I’m not able to access the video clip that you mention. Would someone kindly reply to my post with the url?

    Thanks in advance

  2. The part that ‘we are not trying to do what Facebook does’ really confused me. Facebook is connecting friends through different micro services offered on portal such as wall, message, comment on photos etc. What Google will do differently?

  3. The Net Neutrality issue is a real heartbreaker. Another reason for the all important BOTTOM LINE to #*~/ over the American PEOPLE. Just look how corporations have been treating average Americans… we’re not citizens anymore just consumers. That’s why George W. told you to “go shopping” after 9/11. It’s like some Asian storeowner screaming at us “buy something o get out”

    Poor people are getting the worst of it. From internet access to quality of food/water the POOR are being treated sooooo badly… The only thing keeping them from mass rioting is that they watch too much TV!

    Republican aristocrats HATE the lower classes… That’s why you never hear a Republican Party candidate or Conservative spokespersons talk about the 40 MILLION Americans struggling below the poverty level. If Liz Cheney had her way she’d get Daddy Dick to find a way to incinerate the lot of them at 3500 degrees…

    Ok, I get Republicans/Conservatives are blaming Obama/Democrats/Progressives for everything from jobs to the economic meltdown to their impotence and constipation. Please, just ONE Republican stand up and tell the American PEOPLE what their plan is to bring jobs back to the USA. I couldn’t help but notice how many jobs were LOST while Republicans controlled our government. Maybe they can us what they’d do different.
    I think big business is refusing to hire or loan because they want to make Obama/Biden look BAD!
    See more at

    • You seem upset with everyone. Not sure about the Net Neutrality comment. Now, the poor need to be taken care of, but the government isn’t always the best solution for that. America is the land of opportunity. I have a close relative that ‘can’t find a job’ and says the economy is affecting everyone, but he’s turned down a few job opportunities at Taco Bell and such because he doesn’t want to do that stuff. You may think that we have it bad right now, but if you compare that with the rest of the world, we’re the rich ones, k? It’s time people started appreciating what they had and learn a little humility before asking for a hand out. That’s definitely not the spirit that started this country and turned it into one of the richest nations on the planet in a just few hundred years. People used to turn down free meals so they wouldn’t take a hand out, and now people are treated “sooooooo badly” when they don’t have a good internet connection. Plus, you don’t have to be rich to enjoy life. And, instead of demanding the government find a solution, why don’t you start one? Start by donating some of your money to the poor that you pass on the streets everyday.

  4. Actually, I’d find the figure of 200K Android phones per day a bit of a misnomer. Because at that rate, they’d surpass the entire installed base of iPhones in just a couple of months. This would mean that every other place out there on the web saying that iPhone usage is more than every other phone would be wrong, etc.

    It would also mean that all of Apple’s figures on appstore revenue would be a lie, that the billion dollars to developers that Apple wrote the check for would be a lie, that the 600K in a day iphones sold would already be surpassed in just 3 days by google…can you see where the bullsh*t is really coming from?

    it’s NOT Cupertino.

    If android was that popular and they were selling that many phones, Apple would close up shop.

    But that’s not happening.

    So something tells me that Eric is trying to blow smoke up all of our backsides. I for one am not falling for it. I’ve seen the android phones, they’re pieces of crap, cheap, don’t work right. I’ve seen their Google Apps running on these things…under their Android 2.1 OS. The iPhone running on 3G in a deathgrip runs faster than the Android phone on Wifi, and … the GPS in the iPhone is MORE responsive than that in the Android phones.

    The success of Google’s browser is a result of Apple developing WEBKIT.

    The success of Android…show me please.

    The success of iOS and the iPhone 4…even with all the complaints it’s still selling over 160,000 per day.

    And there’s over 225,000 apps for the iphone platform where for android marketplace there are…30,000.

    The apple market is not slowing, especially now with iOS, and with Jailbreak legal, the number of apps has exploded far past anything google had planned.

    Oh well. Life goes on. Love the iPhone 4, Android…not even in the same galaxy.

  5. Conquistador

    Great. Android is activating 200K per day – can we get a retraction now from all the tech blogs (like this one) that implied it was a total failure back in March because Flurry estimated that there were only 135K activated in 74 days?

  6. I am one of the great fans of Google Wave for the lots of features it has in just one single application. To me it was an idea of a next generation email, like – if the email invented today it would be like Google Wave. But now they stopped its further development.

    I think Google Wave’s best idea is to make it fit integrated into existing Google products like they did Google Docs, Calendar and Gmail. Looking forward to it.

  7. ‘robust social graph’ & ‘we’re not trying to do what Facebook does’ = massive double bluff or ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ admission? – Lot’s of blurred lines on the battlefield now mefinks!