SAN JOSE, Calif. — Google CEO Eric Schmidt started with net neutrality.
In a keynote at the Search Engine Strategies show here today, Schmidt said a lot of things. But the most critical concern for Google, he said, is the net neutrality debate.
If broadband suppliers and other proponents of a tiered pricing model for transmission of high bandwidth content, such as video, are successful, Schmidt said Google’s extremely well-funded war chest would be more than able to handle the cost.
Still, the company strongly opposes any such legislation.
Schmidt said equal access to information on the Internet enables the next generation of innovators.
“That’s why we defend it.”
And even as the net neutrality debate rages on, Schmidt said he has yet to see a technical proposal of how to “bifurcate the Internet.”
Going forward, he noted that broadband suppliers and Google have an alignment of interests in promoting the growth of the Internet and he hoped they would come to agreement.
“Historically, tiered pricing models haven’t worked,” said Schmidt.
Asked about the recent release of search results by AOL, Schmidt emphasized there were procedures and controls in place to prevent such a disclosure of Google users’ information.
AOL has apologized for what it said was the mistaken release of the data on a Web site (which it quickly removed) for research purposes.
AOL didn’t release users’ names, but the content of the searches alarmed privacy advocates who noted the searches can reveal personal information.
Schmidt said the release was “a terrible thing. The data was not anonymized enough.”
He also emphasized that Google does not use or release anyone’s personal demographic information without their permission.
Then the talk turned to Microsoft’s forthcoming Vista operating system. Schmidt said Google believes Vista’s search default settings unfairly favor Microsoft’s MSN service. Google is still not satisfied that its concern has been met.
“We have not seen a clear and crisp answer to our concerns,” said Schmidt. “It’s still beta software, so we hope changes are made.”
The big news earlier this week was the blockbuster deal Google the embedded search function for MySpace, a job previously given to Yahoo.
Schmidt said online communities and social networks like MySpace represent a huge, emerging trend on the scale of the PC revolution and instant messaging.