In a recent interview, Google CEO Eric Schmidt was asked a series of questions, some of which were a little bizarre, including “What is Google?”
To most people, this would seem like a strange question with a fairly simple answer, but I think the interviewer Michael Arrington wanted to delve deeper and this is exactly the type of answer that Schmidt gave him.
Schmidt describes Google as:
A set of overlapping things. It’s a consumer platform, consumer phenomenon of which search is its fundamental activity, but there are many other things you can do than search… I think of Google as an advertising company who services the broader advertising industry in the ways that you know. And the first and the second are inter-related. The third is I think of us as a network of partners and infrastructure. I don’t know how many billions of dollars we hand to everybody. But by the time you look at the publishers, the use of AdSense and so forth, it’s literally billions of dollars going through Google and to other people which we hope fund additional software, additional web applications, additional content and so forth and we care a lot about that.
Quiet a lengthy explanation, isn’t it? I guess it needs to be when there is so much going on behind the scenes at Google (probably a lot more than you or I could ever imagine).
One of the most interesting answers to the questions that I found throughout the interview related to the future of search. Google sees one of the biggest challenges with search being the proper understanding of what exactly the searchers want. Rather than Google just hoping for the best with the results it produces, the next step is to ask the searcher “what do you mean?” Apparently Google co-founder Sergey Brin has the solution – he wants to connect search straight to your brain in the future through implants! Bizarre, right? Before I confuse you anymore, here is how Schmidt explains it:
Now, Sergey argues that the correct thing to do is to just connect it straight to your brain. In other words, you know, wire it into your head. And so we joke about this and said, we have not quite figured out what that problem looks like… But that would solve the problem. In other words, if we just – if you had the thought and we knew what you meant, we could run it and we could run it in parallel.
Before you get too worried, please note that the folks at Google have no plans to make this a reality; it’s simply an amusing fantasy.
I would encourage you to check out the rest of the interview. Schmidt opens up about a number of Google topics including long term goals, culture and strategy. Currently, two parts of the interview are available. Part 1 is here and part 2 is here, I will add the other sections as they become available. Enjoy!