The Google Zeitgeist Press Lunch

Google’s holding a press lunch at their Zeitgeist event in Phoenix, AZ. CEO Eric Schmidt, SVP Product Management Jonathan Rosenberg and President of Revenue Nikesh Arora.

These are free for all Q&A sessions with members of the press. I’ll embed video of the session shortly as well.

My notes from the session:

Google tried for a while to create a Google index which showed the health of the economy, but it never worked properly, Schmidt said.

On the M&A front – Rosenberg says that most of the M&A they’re doing is focused on technical talent. Pace of acquisitions not expected to change significantly, he says. Schmidt says that Google is buying more companies now than they have historically.

Social – Schmidt says they think of it differently. They look at social to see how it works with their other services. They will take their core products and build a social layer to make them better, he says. Permission is a big part of it. Reasonable to expect this to begin to roll out in the Fall.

In response to a question about Google’s increasing friction around the world – problems in China, government investigations, etc., Schmidt says “It’s a consequence of winning. If we were losing we wouldn’t have these problems.”

Google Instant – Rosenberg says feedback has been positive. They’re still limiting it to searches on, not search bar, etc. Everything is going well from scaling, he says, and usage is tracking similarly to what they saw in A/B testing. “What instant is really about is getting people to the result they want more expeditiously.” This will save time on searches, he says, and ultimately people will run more searches, including more esoteric searches.

China: Schmidt discusses the move to Hong Kong, says they had quite a row with China over the business license renewal. Still have engineering teams in Shanghai and Bejing. Situation is stable, he says, as best he can tell. But the Chinese government can change things on a moments notice.

Android – new versions of the UI coming out. Policy is to let manufacturers to add their own layer. Huge investment on Android. Rosenberg says to look at trajectory on Android where they were a year ago as to where they are today.

Iphone v. Android – Schmidt says it benefits both companies, increases competition, here’s why – simple fact of business. Mentality in media that competition is negative, Android v. Apple is classic open v. closed system. They’re not trying to do the same thing with Facebook though, he says.

Android is representative to the new model of computing, Schmidt says.

Net Neutrality – Schmidt says most people didn’t understand what happened. There wasn’t a deal, they weren’t buying anything. Says if they get wired net neutrality its a huge deal. The wired networks are highly non competitive, he says, and the wireless 3G and cdma networks are highly competitive.

Update: Here’s the full video of the event.