Today on PBS I watched the Charlie Rose interview of Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt, that apparently took place live last Friday. I didn’t catch the whole thing, but what I did was quite engaging.
Schmidt: When you do a search do you receive more than one answer?
Rose: Yes, of course.
Schmidt: That’s a bug. We have more bugs per second than just about anybody else.
This statement stuck with me particularly because a portion of interview dealt with the Microsoft threat, and Microsoft has been one of the most publicized software companies in terms of bugs, security issues, patches, etc. (I happen to believe that this is due in large part to the intensive use of its software by the larger public.) Google’s CEO was being extremely direct about this specific quality issue (i.e. bug) for his end users.
Google’s CEO talked about allowing the end user to decide (e.g. to provide information or not) and then to focus on their decision (e.g. leverage said information to increase the quality of the Google experience). While this certainly sounds obvious, it’s equally obvious that today not many service provider “get it.”
When Eric Schmidt talked about a future application of the world’s information being brought to bear on new content–detecting and reporting factual errors during authoring–it really struck a chord in today’s age of the blog, grassroots journalism, etc. Like DRM, such an application won’t prevent users from violating certain principles–you can always take a digital photo of your computer screen just like you can willfully ignore such an application’s notifications, but it could help the well-intended author from getting the story right.
Aside: I really wish that Charlie Rose would start posting his transcripts online. An RSS feed for transcripts would be even better! I’m aware of his shop to buy particular programs/transcripts, but what I’m referring to is an easily accessible way to determine that I want to make a purchase (e.g. the first five minutes of an hour interview or a outline of what is discussed).-Craig