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I screwed up, admits former Google CEO

Last updated on: June 1, 2011 16:34 IST

I screwed up, admits former Google CEO

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt, who recently stepped down as the search giant's chief executive officer, admitted at the All Things Digital conference that the Internet giant's inability to cash in on the social networking wave was his fault.

"I clearly knew that I had to do something, and I failed to do it," Eric Schmidt said. "A CEO should take responsibility. I screwed up."

However, he maintained that Google is not just a giant search engine. "We are very much a cloud computing company," he said.

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Image: Eric E Schmidt.
Photographs: Reuters
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He said that the four firms are creating huge value for stakeholders and customers alike by "exploiting platform strategies".

It is significant that Schmidt made this remark almost two months after he stepped down as Google's CEO after over 10 years to make way for the company's co-founder Larry Page to take up the mantle of the CEO.

Schmidt had not taken Facebook too seriously when it had 20 million users over four years ago. Today, Facebook has about 700 million active users, putting into perspective the enormous error of judgement that Schmidt and others at Google made.

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Image: (L to R) Eric Schmidt, Larry Page and Sergey Brin in a self-driving car in a photo taken earlier on January 20 posted on Schmidt's blog.
Photographs: Reuters
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Facebook's rapid and phenomenal growth is hurting Google from all quarters: not only is it losing top advertising dollar to Facebook, it is also adding to a retardation in the search major's financial growth.

Also, since Google cannot index Facebook pages -- meaning it cannot show the information from Facebook on its search engine -- people and the rising number of social circles find Google to be less helpful.

Elaborating on why he feels that Google is not just a search and ads entity, Schmidt said that the company already has a huge presence in Android-powered smartphones and tablet computers and the "huge maps business".

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Photographs: Reuters
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Schmidt also said that the 'gang of four' -- Google, Apple, Amazon, and Facebook -- rules technology today.

"Google has all the world's information. In Facebook's case, every friend you ever had, including those you can't quite remember," he said.

When asked about the dangers of mobile phone radiation and whether or not it causes cancer, he said that the frequency of cell phone radiation is about 1 million times too low (to cause DNA damage).


Photographs: Reuters
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