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Google's Schmidt on Verizon and Net neutrality

Speaking to reporters, Google's CEO won't comment on a rumored deal with Verizon but says Google has been working to bridge

TRUCKEE, Calif.--Google CEO Eric Schmidt declined to confirm a deal has been reached on Net neutrality between Google and Verizon but said his company is trying to bring together various factions.

"We're trying to find solutions that bridge between sort of the 'hard-core Net neutrality or else' view and the historic telecom view of no such agreement," Schmidt told reporters on the sidelines of the Techonomy conference following his appearance on a panel here.

Bloomberg and others reported earlier Wednesday that a deal was in the works.

Schmidt wouldn't say whether such a deal might treat mobile networks differently.

"I don't want to announce things we haven't announced yet," he said. "We have been talking to Verizon for a long time about trying to get an agreement on what the definition of Net neutrality is."

Schmidt said his belief is that the core of Net neutrality is the idea that network providers shouldn't be able to favor one particular provider of content over another, but he said that networks should be able to prioritize a content medium, say, voice over video.

"People get confused about Net neutrality," Schmidt said. "I want to make sure that everybody understands what we mean about it. What we mean is that if you have one data type, like video, you don't discriminate against one person's video in favor of another. It's OK to discriminate across different types...There is general agreement with Verizon and Google on this issue. The issues of wireless versus wireline get very messy...and that's really an FCC issue not a Google issue."

His comments came as part of a 40-minute informal press conference in which Schmidt also talked about the closing of Google Wave, the company's many issues in China, the growth of Android, the potential for Chrome OS, the search battle with Microsoft, and much more.

I'll have much more on all those topics in following posts later today.