Schmidt Tells Colbert: “We Don’t Do Data Mining”


Google (s GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt went on “The Colbert Report” last night, where host Stephen Colbert asked him about search history, computers taking over from humans, China and privacy. Perhaps Schmidt is on tour to combat the Consumer Watchdog videos that portray him as a creepy ice cream man who harvests kids’ data.

Colbert is pretty good on his tech stuff, and the 5-minute video certainly made me giggle. Schmidt says his recent comment about young people changing their names to escape their indiscretions captured on the web was a joke. He also states “We actually don’t do data mining” much more resolutely than I would expect, considering all the ways Google uses data to make its products better.

Colbert: Would you help me erase my browser history?
Schmidt: I would encourage it
Colbert: You have been checking my searches!

Here’s the segment:

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Eric Schmidt
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

And here’s the creepy ice cream ad:

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d):

Big Data Marketplaces Put a Price on Finding Patterns


bob dole

Do people really think facebook, twitter, amazon, ebay, exedra, exedra doesn’t keep even more confidential data?

Hell Amazon used to track what websites you go to and jack up prices if they found you didn’t browse competing websites. Yet no one got mad about that.

Facebook stores all the data you delete, even if you delete your profile, facebook still has everything. 500 Million users and the site pulls more traffic that google, and holds much more sensitive information.

I don’t understand why people get into a fit about what Google stores when its provided for free. Storing info for ads the the only thing that makes the service available, its actually the only thing Google really makes money off of. Would you rather pay $50/month?

Go use bing or yahoo, oh yeah bing powers yahoo and bing collects the same data or uses Google ads. I’m not sure what the concern is or how this is “evil” in any way. Your searches are associated with your IP and no human ever lays eyes on it, this process is clearly laid out in the terms of use.



Define ‘data mining.’

I always have ads on the side of my e-mails that reflect what was mentioned in the e-mail. It’s one smal step up to using that data more than the single time to produce ads relevant(?) to my discussions.

However, try as much as I could, I got NO ads when the topic was sex. ;-)

P Cause

I am sure that by some definition of “data mining” what Schmidt is saying is true but he is certainly stretching the truth. Kind of like Bill Clinton saying he didn’t have sex with Lewinsky. In Clinton’s mind and by his definitions he didn’t.

Comments are closed.