Former Google CEO and current executive chairman Eric Schmidt made an appearance on NPR’s weekly comedy trivia show Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! to discuss general ramblings about the company and to promote his new book. While on the show, Schmidt admitted to some interesting things about Google, including the fact that he could read our email if he wanted to.
NPR host Peter Sagal asked Schmidt what all Google knew about its users, and Schmidt admitted slyly that Google will know as much as users let them know (so, essentially anything you post up in your Google account). Furthermore, Sagal asked if Google could read users email from Gmail accounts, and Schmidt said that indeed he could, but he would “be fired, and be sued to death,” since “someone would find out.”
As for the company’s slogan of “don’t be evil,” Schmidt thought that it was “the stupidest rule ever,” but probably not in the sense that most people think. Schmidt thought it was a dumb rule merely because the word “evil” isn’t really defined, and Google doesn’t “quite know what evil is.” However, Schmidt admitted that if any prospective projects came up and someone said it was “evil,” it would eventually get axed, so the slogan actually worked for the most part.
Of course, the two also talked about Google’s latest product, Google Glass. When asked what people would use Google Glass for, Schmidt said that the company doesn’t “quite know yet,” saying that Google is mostly relying on developers to come up with ways to use them, which certainly makes sense, as Google Glass is a very-new product that has yet to be released.
Schmidt also briefly brought up the privacy issues with Google Glass, simply saying that “there’s a right time to have Google Glass on, and there’s a right time to have it off,” hinting to the notion that it’s simply the user’s discretion as to what’s appropriate and what isn’t. Of course, Google Glass has already been banned from multiple locations, so the law is another factor that will get involved with Google Glass use. Hopefully we’ll hear more about Google Glass later this week at Google I/O, where the company will hopefully announce more details about the new spectacles, as well as possibly give us a solid release date.