Schmidt takes fall for Google's social shortcomings

The exec says he saw the importance of social networking for Google but "screwed up" by not following through.

File photo of Google's Eric Schmidt. Stephen Shankland/CNET

When it comes to Google lagging in social networking, former chief executive Eric Schmidt said the buck stops with him.

"Four years ago, I wrote memos and I did nothing about those," Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, said in response to a question from AllThingsD's Kara Swisher at the annual D9 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., tonight. "CEOs should take responsibility. I screwed up."

The admission comes as Google tries to match Facebook's popular "Like" feature for Web sites, where users click on an icon to show their admiration for a Web site. Tomorrow, Google is expected to announce +1 for Web sites, something of a copycat feature that gives users who are logged into their Google accounts the ability to show some favor for sites with its technology.

Schmidt said he recognized for several years the importance that social networking could play for Google. But he and the company failed to act.

"I was busy," Schmidt said.

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About the author

Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).

 

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