Liveblogging Eric Schmidt/Google Interview at Brainstorm

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Google CEO Eric Schmidt is on stage right now at Fortune’s Brainstorm conference being interviewed by Fortune’s David Kirkpatrick. Here are my notes live:

Q: What is Google’s next great revenue stream?

Schmidt: How about text ads?

Q: The biggest knock against Google is that it is a one-product company. how do you respond to that?

Schmidt: Google is a one-product company. It is called Google. We think about features, not products. People usually talk about text ads when they say that. While the vast majority of our revenues comes from text ads, there is no single large category of text ads or geography. It is well diversified. We serve text ads against content that is not searchable.

Q: We select for people who share our values. We don’t value experience very much. We also select for people who want to work with other people. Because it is collaborative.

Q: But you are known for saying that it is hard to manage larger groups?

Schmidt: If you look at the history of software development, all the interesting things that have been built have been built by two people. It is the nature of software technology.

Q: Isn’t working in larger teams going to be necessary?

Schmidt: this is an unsolved problem. You start small, then you have big projects. You follow a traditional S Curve, but the time you have become like this you are entirely predictable {talks about 20 percent time as driving creativity and helping to recruit top technical people]. It serves as pressure cooker release valve.

Q: Almost every challenge you have has to do with scale. I hear more people saying I don’t feel safe that Google should have so much information about me.

Schmidt: Because of the way technology works, all the technology companies are aggregating information about people. It is a political debate. Countries differ on this question. England has the largest number of closed circuit cameras by a factor of ten, but they also let you sue the papers if you feel you are defamed.

We get into constant problems with some prosecutor who subpoenas information we don’t want to give them, and we resist it. Which is why we don’t fully operate in China. Our argument is that information is not available in your domain. So countries are now trying to rewrite their laws to say this information cannot be available anywhere on the Internet.

Q&A from audience:

Q: What about mobile?

Schmidt: Our wireless initiative was a perfect outcome. It was the cost of an outcome. I am on the board of Apple. Last night I was in Palo Alto and there was a line outside. It shows the device is a step forward. IPhone’s competitors all have dec A phone is GPS, a camera, a computer, and a browser. The Phone is tehfirst one with a really functional browser. We show full ads, so that is a huge for revenues/

The new category of apps that have not come out yet really is a breakthrough. One winner of the Android apps, it looks around, names the buildings it sees and tells you what is happening inside of them. That is a really interesting product. In mobile there are a lot od product that have that WOW factor, because of the use of GPS.

I think all the most interesting next-generation social apps will be mobile.

Q: [Sam Whitmore asks if Google does any work for the government related to the Patriot Act]

Schmidt: Regarding the Patriot Act or any of the three-letter organizations, absolutely not. We do provide the federal government with some search and other services through our [government] sales group.

Q: enterprise plans?

Schmidt:
The easiest for us to enter the enterprise is to address high pain levels like e-mail, messaging, calendaring.We have something like a million companies using these services, mostly small. My view is that it will be a many-year process, but we will create tools that will eventually go to the top.

[Interview is over].

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