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Eric Schmidt: 'Google should have gone social sooner'

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Eric Schmidt's 'identity' crisis
  • Eric Schmidt was CEO of Google for 10 years
  • Still plays highly iinfluentialrole building partnerships and outreach to governments
  • Mobile technology is literally revolutionizing how people live, believes Schmidt

(CNN) -- Eric Schmidt is as committed as ever to making sure those at Google "do the right thing."

He was CEO of Google for the best part of 10 years before handing day-to-day running of the company to Larry Page in April. Now as Executive Chairman he gets to look at the bigger picture for the company.

Innovation and open access to information are at the heart of the corporate ethos as Google continues its development in mobile computing and social software.

The former, Schmidt believes, has some of the largest potential to enhance the latter.

"The revolution that is mobile has just begun," says Schmidt.

Keeping the web open
Google should have worked on this earlier.
--Eric Schmidt on working out who Google users are
  • Eric Schmidt
  • Google Inc.
  • Business

With Google's plans to purchase Motorola Mobility and with its Android operation system already on around 50% of smart phones it's a big growth area for the company.

Schmidt, however, likes to highlight the transformative power of the "mobile revolution" more than the business potential.

"We're going from a situation where the average citizen didn't have that much power to a point where they can know everything and they can organize very quickly," says Schmidt.

"That may bring down a government as in the case of the Arab Spring, but it may also just challenge vested interest and so forth in a democracy.

"Ultimately I think that the technology that we and others have been able to build here is serving as an organizing tool for people who don't have other options.

"Put another way, as a dictator, you're going to have to provide more opportunities for your citizens or the citizens really will mobilize in the streets."

For all the potential of technology to help recast the world, Schmidt -- who steered Google through a successful IPO and a seven-fold growth in share price as CEO -- admits that the company did miss a trick under his stewardship.

He says that it should have developed a way to know who Google's users are, as Facebook has done so successfully.

"I think it's pretty clear that the internet as a whole has not had a strong notion of identity. And identity means, 'Who am I?' Fundamentally, what Facebook has done has built a way to figure out who people are ... Google should have worked on this earlier."

"I think that's the area where I would have put more resources. Developing these identity services and ranking systems that go along with that. That would have made a big difference for the internet as a whole.

"In any case, we have our product called Google+ ... it's had explosive growth and we'll see how well it does."


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