Google Executive Chairman and former CEO Eric Schmidt sat down with reporters in Idaho this week and discussed some of the most buzz-worthy and pressing topics surrounding his company these days, including Google+, China, the FTC, and Facebook.
First, there's Google+, the Goog's effort at producing a major social-networking platform, which ties in with the growing competition with Facebook.
When speaking at his own company's press event on Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was a bit more stinging with his words. Though he didn't cite Google specifically, it's not too difficult to figure out which corporation he was talking about when he said Facebook will "always do better than a company trying to do a million things." Additionally, Facebook attempted to box in Google+ as a platform that is "so five years ago."
Schmidt came off a bit more diplomatic on Thursday. Reuters reports that Schmidt said Google would "love to have deeper integration with Twitter and Facebook." However, that might be wishful thinking at this point, as Google's competitors are truly starting to remove their gloves. According to the Reuters story:
Google's search deal with Twitter recently expired, and despite "a substantive and lengthy discussion," the companies couldn't agree on terms, [Schmidt] said.
And Google's overtures to Facebook to discuss letting + users import Facebook friends also went nowhere, Schmidt said.
As for larger domestic (therefore, more serious, matters), which Schmidt now specializes in as he oversees government affairs for Google, there's the FTC as well as the European Commission. Google already made an official response, which came rather more quickly than expected, to the FTC probe.
Thus, it's not surprising that Schmidt glossed over this. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Mr. Schmidt said antitrust probes from the European Commission and the FTC, which began a formal review of Google's business practices last month, haven't affected business beyond a few internal meetings about how to deal with it. "We are calm about this. There is not a lot of drama," he said, repeating his regular refrain that Google has long expected scrutiny from regulators.
And finally, as for China, Google might never have that one figured out. In response to the controversy--in which hundreds of Gmail accounts were breached by an attack stemming from within China, and which later prompted the Chinese government to go back and forth between claiming it had no role and charging the United States with Internet warfare--Reuters reports that Schmidt kept it simple:
We tell the Chinese what we know...and then they publicly deny their role. That's all I have to say about that.
Update: As of Friday afternoon, it has been confirmed that Schmidt will testify at a hearing before the United States Senate Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights.
MarketWatch reports that Google hasn't commented publicly since this news arose, but Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee said that he looks "forward to discussing a number of important issues relating to Google and Internet search competition."
This story was originally posted at ZDNet's Between the Lines.