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April 2, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 1:17pm

10 most notable quotes from Google’s Eric Schmidt

On GMail's 10th anniversary, we take a look back at some of the most memorable quotes from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt

By Vinod

Tech CEO’s are renowned for being corporate, calm professionals (a certain Mr Ballmer notwithstanding). Yet during his reign from 2001-2011, Google’s Eric Schmidt was a welcome change to the buzzword-spewing executives currently seen. Now Google executive chairman, Schimdt has continued to be a great source of quotes, with ten of his best below.

Eric Schmidt

"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn’t understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had."

This August 2010 quote came as part of a warning from Schmidt concerning the amount of data we share online, suggesting that some people may even have to go as far as changing their identities to avoid an embarrassing online past.


"When I showed up, I thought this was the stupidest rule ever, because there’s no book about evil except maybe, you know, the Bible or something."

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Relating to Google’s famous ‘Don’t be evil’ slogan, Schmidt dropped this bombshell in an interview with radio station NPR in May 2013. The mantra was developed by company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, and apparently means that employees can veto any projects or work they think is evil.

"There were 5 Exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003, but that much information is now created every 2 days."

One of Schmidt’s most contentious quotes, uttered at Google’s 2010Atmosphere convention, this garnered a lot of opposition from many industry commentators, with one labeling it ‘a load of crap’. It did, however, highlight both Google and Schmidt’s desire to be a significant player in the technology industry in its early days.


Eric Google

"Your car should drive itself. It’s amazing to me that we let humans drive cars… It’s a bug that cars were invented before computers."

Google signaled its intention to move into the driverless car market last year, demonstrating trials of several self-driving Prius and Lexus cars, and also recently announced it would be putting Android into cars motor vehicles via its Open Auto Alliance (OAA) project, which looks to introduce closer integration between the world of in-car and mobile technology. Several high-profile car manufacturers have already been signed up, including Audi, GM, Honda, and Hyundai.

"Twitter can no more produce analysis than a monkey can type out a work of Shakespeare."

This claim came in Schmidt’s 2013 book ‘The New Digital Age’, which looked to analyse and comment on the new connected world, slammed the 140-character social network, established in 2006. Despite this opposition, however, Schmidt currently has 789,000 Twitter followers, although he is an infrequent tweeter.

"I still believe that sitting down and reading a book is the best way to really learn something."

Showing that there is perhaps still hope for the pen and paper in the new digital age, Schmidt’s claim in a March 2009 interview with US host Charlie Rose showed that he still had a soft spot for the printed word, claiming that they helped with cognitive thinking.



Google shadow

"(Android) not secure? It’s more secure than the iPhone."

Another quote which generated suspicion, as the large volume of malware currently present on Google Play has affected many users of Android devices, which seem more open to threats than iOS devices. For the record, it was recently reported that Schmidt uses a Motorola Moto X, having given up using a BlackBerry last year.


On the NSA: "There’s been spying for years, there’s been surveillance for years, and so forth, I’m not going to pass judgment on that, it’s the nature of our society."

In September 2013, as the debate around government surveillance began to pick up pace, Schmidt used an event by the New America Foundation to call for a public debate on the issue, but admitted that such spying was unfortunately part of modern everyday life.

On Google’s staggering collection of personal info: "Would you prefer someone else? Is there a government that you would prefer to be in charge of this?"

Government surveillance has become a major topic in recent months following the revelations by whistleblower Edward Snowden. This quote from March 2010 came well before the current uproar however, and instead was directed at concerns over the ways Google stored and shared data on its users.


"I actually think most people don’t want Google to answer their questions. They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."

Referencing how he saw the company’s strategy developing when search had moved on from a central process, this August 2010 comment raised eyebrows again concerning the amount of data Google had on its users. The rise of targeted advertising, however, shows that this process has become relatively widely accepted.


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