keynote conversation with eric schmidt from google
They’ve set up a nice little interview thing on stage, with Thomas Friedman from the New York Times and Eric Schmidt from Google sitting across from each other with a little IKEA table between them and a soft Persian carpet underneath them. It’s a Keynote Conversation. I don’t think I’ve seen one of them before.
“I don’t think the internet is as important as health care, for instance, but I think it’s almost as important. If you don’t have access to the internet, you don’t have access to the modern world.”
“This looks like a Google meeting, nobody’s looking at the speaker, everyone’s on their computers. As an old person this disturbs me! But this is a battle we’ve lost, it’s cultural change.” Mentions trying to stop people being online during staff meetings at Google – losing battle (he says this with a laugh).
Friedman: George Bush would never have been elected president if all his wild partying at Yale was on cellphone videos, all google-able. We got to write our resumÈs, but today’s employers use the entire impression they get about a person online.
[My response would be that if you blog you can still “write your own resumÈ” – if you google me, so much of the information you’ll find is actually written by me that you’ll still be seeing my representation of myself.]
Schmidt: My proposal is that at the age of 21 you should be allowed to change your name! In a sense, everyone is in the media all the time.
Friedman: Mentions a case where Google Earth shows the royal family of Bahrain’s palace in all its expanse and luxury. This is usually not visible to people – and so Bahrain blocked access to Google Maps.
[My response: Well, but Google greys out the Pentagon – why is that OK if Bahrain hiding their palace is “censorship”? Hm, actually, checking Google Maps I can see the Pentagon after all – I’m sure it used to be greyed out. People in the chat here are saying it used to be but no longer is – someone said Area 51 is, but I can see it too on Google Maps.]
Schmidt: The Great Firewall of China – Google actually tells Chinese users that this information is being omitted. The arrival of hte internet in China is changing politics in China. 140 million internet users. Google is gaining market share.
Friedman: If I want to get hired at Google, how do I go about it, and how do you go about finding out whether to hire me? How many people are applying for jobs with you every day?
Schmidt: We have hundreds of recruiters working worldwide. Originally they wanted to use a scientific way of finding the very best people. Look for people who are unusual, have an interest or passion. The fact that you have a broader set of interests means you’re more likely to be successful.
Friedman: Innovation has been said to happen when you have two different spheres that can interact.
Questions (they want to make sure questions come from paid attendees, not from the press – heh)
- I’d like to know Google’s response to the military’s blocking social network sites? Schmidt: We’d prefer they not. [laughter]
- About personalised search: Will it lock people into only seeing a particular world view? Schmit: That’s why we need good education. [basically refuses to consider that google would have any responsibility here]