Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

Google's new motto: "Don't be arrogant"

Google arrogant? Do cars drive?

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay

If this sounds like a tall order for Google - renowned for its elitism - it's because it is. Yet a call for humility is precisely what Google CEO Eric Schmidt seems to believe will keep Google firing on all cylinders, according to the New Yorker.

[Google is] run by three computer scientists we're going to make all the mistakes computer scientists running a company would make. But one of the mistakes we're not going to make is the mistake that non-scientists make. We're going to make mistakes based on facts and data and analysis. What kills a company is not competition but arrogance. We control our fate.

What Schmidt conveniently forgets is that, in fact, scientists commit the "mistake" of arrogance all the time. Every day. It is precisely Google's techno-arrogance that has increasingly made it seem less messiah than privacy pariah, for example. "It's just data" is a really poor way to view real-world, real-people concerns.

Can Google change? Sure. Does it feel the need to change? The jury is still out on that one.