Google: Eric Schmidt hints at China ambitions
Published: 27th Jan 2011 23:03:40
Eric Schmidt - stepping aside as chief executive of Google - has told the BBC he has ambitions to promote the web firm's business in China.
Among other tasks, Mr Schmidt hopes to find a Chinese partner for Google's Android mobile phone operating system.
He noted that he was the most pro-China of Google's triumvirate leadership.
In March last year Google stopped co-operating with China over censorship - a joint decision that Mr Schmidt said he was happy with.
"Over time I would hope - especially in my new role with more of an external focus - that I can try to get more of Google, appropriately and within our policies, into China," he told the BBC's economics editor, Stephanie Flanders, at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
It was revealed earlier this month that Mr Schmidt, 55, would make way as chief executive for Larry Page, 37, who co-founded Google with Sergey Brin.
"Between the three of us, I have always been the person who believes the most in expanding into China," he claimed.
Mr Schmidt will remain as "executive chairman", a role he said would be two-thirds external and one-third internal, with most of his time devoted to customers and partners.
We have been late at adding social capabilities to our core products”
Referring to the Davos shindig, he said that "the great regret is that there are not more Chinese leaders here - both political leaders as well as business leaders" - in contrast with the number of Indian attendees.
He said Google's leadership reshuffle was a "clarification of roles" intended "simply so that we could make decisions more quickly".
He denied that the change was due to a lack of innovation at the company, although he conceded there had been a sense that decision-making was taking too long.
Mr Schmidt spoke about the importance to the company of taking into consideration the cultural sensitivities of different countries.
"It makes sense to me that governments will play a role in watching what we do," he said, referring to anti-trust and privacy concerns.
He cited the example of Germany, where there was particular concern about Google's plan to photograph the roadside facade of every house in the country for its Streetview database.
The firm offered German homeowners the right to opt out before the pictures were even taken, and nearly 3% duly did that.
But despite this initial opposition, "Germany is the second-highest user on a percentage basis of Streetview of any country in the world," he said. "We know that German consumers really love our product."
On Wikileaks, Mr Schmidt said the company had decided to make leaked documents searchable via its website, irrespective of the US government's opinion, because they believed there was no legal threat to them under American law.
As for China, he said there were "censorship laws that we simply do not like", causing the company to relocate to Hong Kong last year.
Google is still censored by the Beijing authorities - without Google's co-operation - via the "Great Firewall of China".
But Mr Schmidt said that the arrangement was "stable" for them, and appeared to be the same for China, who recently renewed their licence.
However, he cautioned that China could "arbitrarily cut it off at any point".
The Google executive chairman rejected suggestions that the company had lost its edge.
"We are the innovator and leader at scale," he said, citing among others its maps products and its new Chrome operating system.
But he admitted that social networks like Facebook might have stolen a march on the company.
"We have been late at adding social capabilities to our core products," he said, despite claiming that the search engine was still experiencing high growth precisely because they continued adding innovations to it.
He dismissed Facebook as a threat to the company and was poaching staff: "We hire more people in a week than the total number of people who have left to go to Facebook."
But he criticised social networks for being "walled gardens" - shielding its members' data from search engines like Google's - claiming their consumers would be better off if more information were disclosed.
"These closed systems of information threaten to some degree the... openness and accessibility of the [web]," he said.
At 03:49:53 in HeadlinesThe oldest former player with Major League Baseball, Conrado "Connie" Marrero, has died in at home in Havana at the age of 102.
At 03:28:13 in WorldIndians are voting in the sixth phase of a marathon general election in which the governing Congress party is fighting the main opposition BJP.
At 03:13:22 in ScotlandThe last avalanche forecast of the latest Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) season has been published.
At 03:06:05 in ScotlandWhen Nicola Sturgeon joined the SNP, pursuing a career in politics was not her agenda.
At 02:56:02 in ScotlandTwo major curling competitions are under way in Dumfries just a couple of months after Scottish competitors scooped medals at the Winter Olympics.
At 02:54:55 in ScotlandParts of a fast reactor control room at Dounreay in Caithness look set to be dismantled and rebuilt at the Science Museum in London.
At 02:47:22 in ScotlandA new service of flights between Edinburgh and Stavanger has begun operation, it has been announced.
At 02:45:05 in ScotlandMajor restrictions on traffic and parking are to be introduced in Glasgow during the summer Commonwealth Games.
At 02:45:05 in WorldThe number of people who have contracted the Ebola virus in Guinea, according to the World Health Organization, has risen to 208 - and 136 of them have died. About half of these cases have been confirmed in a laboratory - earlier cases were not tested.
At 02:42:42 in ScotlandScottish councils have too little power and are too distant from the communities they serve, according to a report.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2011. Google: Eric Schmidt hints at China ambitions [Online] (Updated 27th Jan 2011)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/126022/Google-Eric-Schmidt-hints-at-China-ambitions [Accessed 24th Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
The disappearance of a 96-year-old woman with Alzheimer's two years ago remains "really frustrating and very upsetting", her great-nephew has said.
Drinking more than three large glasses of wine can push people over a "tipping point", meaning they consume about 6,300 extra calories in the following 24 hours, a report has said.
The Irish education minister has proposed a radical shake-up of the further education sector.
The oldest former player with Major League Baseball, Conrado "Connie" Marrero, has died in at home in Havana at the age of 102.
The last avalanche forecast of the latest Sportscotland Avalanche Information Service (SAIS) season has been published.
Drones are becoming more common in our skies, performing a variety of tasks, from taking photos to monitoring crops and potentially even delivering broadband.