Google - Not Doing AI, Not Doing Comms, Not Bad For The Small Guy

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An interview with Eric E. Schmidt in BusinessWeek - Too Powerful? Us? Surely You Jest

Q. Some people feel that Google is now or potentially could become too powerful in that it has such sway over where people go online. People worry that Google could become the gateway, and by extension the toll gate, by which people reach the Internet.

A. I disagree with essentially every half-sentence here. Here's why: This is all about user choice. And the studies that I've seen indicate that a majority of users are choosing Google to get information. That's great. We could lose that in a nanosecond.

I'll give you another example. We needed to hire an engineer who was a wavelength division multiplexer engineer—WDM is the technology that's used in the high-speed fiber networks. So based on this, it was reported that we were going to compete with all the long-distance carriers and become a telephone company, which then caused the CEO of Verizon and AT&T to announce that we were their No. 1 competitor. So it just shows you how crazy it is.

Q. Some smaller advertisers feel they're getting left behind as big brand marketers move into search marketing and price them out. Is that something Google needs to address, given that so many of its advertisers are small businesses?

A. It's funny because I hear the inverse. What I hear from the large advertisers is that they're used to having their way. They're not used to having to deal with those smaller advertisers, who at least have the potential in an auction [of] having an equal shot.

Q. But Larry and Sergey talk about doing a real AI, and there's the idea that you're scanning all this stuff on the Web to be read and understood by an AI. That gives a lot of people the willies, because there's any number of movies such as The Terminator that show the negative aspect.
A.Yeah, but again that's because they're using broad and imprecise terms. It's true that we read the stuff, but in the next few years, cognition, or real understanding, remains a research dream.