Pope to meet with Alphabet's Eric Schmidt

The two will meet for 15 minutes at the Vatican in Rome, an indication of just how important the technology industry has become.

Eric Schmidt

Alphabet Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt will meet with Pope Francis.

Stephanie Pilick/dpa/Corbis

Pope Francis is largely beloved by the Internet. Now, he's meeting with one of its leaders.

The pope will meet with Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.

The Guardian earlier reported the news. The meeting will last 15 minutes and take place in the Vatican in Rome, the report said. The newspaper didn't give timing for the meeting.

The meeting would underscore just how important the Internet -- and Google particularly -- has become on the world's stage. The head of the Catholic church, who rarely meets with American business leaders, last year called the Internet "a gift from God."

Jared Cohen, the head of Google Ideas and a former US state department official, will also be present at the meeting, according to the Guardian. Schmidt and Cohen co-authored the book "The New Digital Age: Reshaping the Future of People, Nations and Business" in 2013.

Silicon Valley executives have increasingly been involved in world affairs. President Obama has met with Schmidt and tech industry leaders several times. When Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the US in September, he met with Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Apple's Tim Cook.

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