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Schmidt Plays Google’s Social Whipping Boy



Maybe Eric Schmidt’s new role with Google, in his post CEO days, is to take the pressure off the rest of the Google team by taking the heat for its failures. Sure looks that way based on his comments at the D9 conference yesterday.

As All Things Digital reports

Asked later in the session about his biggest regrets as Google CEO, Facebook was again top of mind. Tellingly, Schmidt said the social problem Google is grappling with today is largely his fault. He said he recently looked up memos he wrote four years ago about Google needing to address online identity. “I clearly knew that I had to do something, and I failed to do it,” he said. “A CEO should take responsibility. I screwed up.”

Kind of an interesting admission of sorts from the guy who spent the past few years providing some of the most bizarre positions the leader of one of the most powerful companies on the planet could come up with. If he had said something like this when he was the CEO we would have had to guess if he was joking or not. Is Schmidt’s billion dollar parachute lined with honesty? Imagine that.

Don’t worry though he did manage to put together a quote that had me running to dictionary.com. It was regarding Facebook.

“Facebook’s done a number of things which I admire,” Schmidt said during his Tuesday evening D9 interview. “It’s the first generally available way of disambiguating identity. Historically, on the Internet such a fundamental service wouldn’t be owned by a single company. I think the industry would benefit from an alternative to that….Identity is incredibly useful because in the online world you need to know who you are dealing with.”

Uh, a fundamental service that wouldn’t be ‘owned’ by a single company? When you stepped down from the CEO position did you trip and bump your head, Eric? Sounds a bit like someone describing Google at times so where is it wrong with what Facebook has accomplished? Please don’t confuse me with a Facebook apologist but in this case it’s hard not hear some serious hypocrisy but it’s the Internet so who’s counting?

Let’s hope that Google keeps Schmidt around long enough to continue to provide us with puzzling and bizarrely entertaining tidbits. The last thing the Internet needs is strong business practices and boring old talk about strategies and ideas that make sense. What fun is that?