Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Capitalism at its Best: Google Chairman Eric Schmidt on the Purpose of Social Networking

Last week Slate published an interview with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, and I thought I'd pass along the concluding back-and-forth, which is both telling and damning. Ask yourself: Why is Google et al in the social networking business? Hint: It's not for the sake of social networking.
Slate.fr: You’ve launched three social networks in two years with Wave and Buzz and Plus…

: I’m not sure Wave is a social network. Wave was a different version of e-mail. But yes.

: Why would Google+ succeed where Wave and Buzz didn’t?

: Well these things are hard to do. I want to say that what Facebook has done is very difficult to do and they should be given credit for that.

It’s hard to get the privacy right, it’s hard to get the scale right, it’s hard to get people to spend time on it and so forth. In Wave, the product simply didn’t work, from the moment we announced Wave, its adoption declined. In Buzz, we had problems with privacy because it was centered on email, and we made some mistakes there. So we canceled them both.

With Google + we learned from those two experiences. I use Google+, and I find the quality of the comments are very sophisticated because there is more trust inside of Google+ than there is inside of Twitter and Facebook for example.

: Would you consider not pursuing the social network if this doesn’t work?

Schmidt: We need the information about yourself and your friends to make our products work better so we will always, I think, have something like that.

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