Schmidt in German Tabloid

    September 10, 2007

Bild, Germany’s biggest tabloid (disliked by many German intellectuals for its often hyped reporting) is running a multi-part interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt this week.

Eric Schmidt

In the piece published today, Eric Schmidt was asked about mobile phones, censorship and more. Some points of interest (quotes are with my translation & emphasis):

  • What’s Google? “With Google we can find answers for nearly all questions we might have. Who built this castle? Where does this road lead? Who’s this person?” Google’s biggest promotion factor is word-of-mouth.
  • It’s hard to predict the internet in 10 years, but it will be faster, allowing the quicker transmission of “huge data quantities, like videos.” Eric also says the net will become more secure.
  • “Online everybody has a voice – good people, but also bad people, even though we would prefer not to hear from latter. But the net is deeply democratic because all around the world, people using it are able to tell their opinion, and have access to all information.
  • Is the internet able to prevent wars? “Yes, because the internet knows no country borders and is therefore one of the strongest forces of freedom. I think in this day and age it’s impossible to attack a country and cut it off from the rest of the world. The internet is causing a very difficult life for dictators and unjust regimes. A good example is North Korea, one of the last remaining countries without internet.”
  • Bild reporter Oliver Santen: “China too is massively censoring the internet.” Eric: “Nevertheless sooner or later, the Chinese will get all information they search for and need. The internet is forcing governments to be transparent and keep their promises.
  • Asked about his biggest wish in regards of the internet, Eric replies that he hopes to get rid of all the different mobile gadgets currently needed to do different stuff. Eric, who carried not one but several mobile devices with him during the interview (including an iPhone, one or two other mobile phones, and two Blackberry devices), says “In the future everyone should only have a single internat-capable mobile phone able to handle everything that’s important.”

All in all Eric paints a very rosy picture of the web, e.g. saying that around the globe all people are people are able to voice their opinion online, when actually doing so can get you jailed in some countries. Also, the transparency online coverage brings is not always followed up by actual real-world change.

[Thanks TomHTML! Photo CC-licensed by Sebastian Hirsch.]