Google's Eric Schmidt on what Washington needs to know about Silicon Valley
Executive chairman and former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, talks to the Washington Post's Lillian Cunningham about the one thing he believes Washington needs to know about Silicon Valley. (/Lillian Cunningham/The Washington Post) Correction: ...他究竟講什麼 待查 無非爭取減稅和鬆綁管制
The Weekend Interview With Eric Schmidt: Google And The Search For The Future
To some, Google has been looking a bit sallow lately. The stock is down. Where once everything seemed to go the company's way, along came Apple's iPhone, launching a new wave of Web growth on a platform that largely bypassed the browser and Google's search box. The 'app' revolution was going to spell an end to Google's dominance of Web advertising.
But that's all so six-months-ago. When a group of Journal editors sat down with Eric Schmidt on a recent Friday, Google's CEO sounded nothing like a man whose company was facing a midlife crisis, let alone intimations of mortality.
For one thing, just a couple days earlier, Google had publicly estimated that 200,000 Android smartphones were being activated daily by cell carriers on behalf of customers. That's a doubling in just three months. Since the beginning of the year, Android phones have been outselling iPhones by an increasing clip and seem destined soon to outstrip Apple in global market share.
True, Apple sells its phones for luscious margins, while Google gives away Android to handset makers for free. But not to worry, says Mr. Schmidt: 'You get a billion people doing something, there's lots of ways to make money. Absolutely, trust me. We'll get lots of money for it.'
'In general in technology,' he says, 'if you own a platform that's valuable, you can monetize it.' Example: Google is obliged to share with Apple search revenue generated by iPhone users. On Android, Google gets to keep 100%. That difference alone, says Mr. Schmidt, is more than enough to foot the bill for Android's continued development.
And coming soon is Chrome OS, which Google hopes will do in tablets and netbooks what Android is doing in smartphones, i.e., give Google a commanding share of the future and leave, in this case, Microsoft in the dust.
Can it all be so easy? Google's stock price has fallen nearly $250 since the beginning of the year. Financial pundits have started to ask skeptical questions, wondering why it doesn't give more of its ample cash back to shareholders in the form of buybacks and dividends. Some suspect that all that temptation merely encourages Mr. Schmidt, along with founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page -- the triumvirate running the company -- to splurge on gimmicky ideas that never pay off. Fortune magazine recently called Google a 'cash cow' and suggested more attention be paid to milking it rather than running off in search of the next big thing.
But to hear Mr. Schmidt tell it, the real challenge is one not yet on most investors' minds: how to preserve Google's franchise in Web advertising, the source of almost all its profits, when 'search' is outmoded.
The day is coming when the Google search box -- and the activity known as Googling -- no longer will be at the center of our online lives. Then what? 'We're trying to figure out what the future of search is,' Mr. Schmidt acknowledges. 'I mean that in a positive way. We're still happy to be in search, believe me. But one idea is that more and more searches are done on your behalf without you needing to type.'
'I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions,' he elaborates. 'They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next.'
Let's say you're walking down the street. Because of the info Google has collected about you, 'we know roughly who you are, roughly what you care about, roughly who your friends are.' Google also knows, to within a foot, where you are. Mr. Schmidt leaves it to a listener to imagine the possibilities: If you need milk and there's a place nearby to get milk, Google will remind you to get milk. It will tell you a store ahead has a collection of horse-racing posters, that a 19th-century murder you've been reading about took place on the next block.
Says Mr. Schmidt, a generation of powerful handheld devices is just around the corner that will be adept at surprising you with information that you didn't know you wanted to know. 'The thing that makes newspapers so fundamentally fascinating -- that serendipity -- can be calculated now. We can actually produce it electronically,' Mr. Schmidt says.
Mr. Schmidt obviously has an eye to his audience, which this day consists of folks with an abiding devotion to the newspaper business. He speaks in sorrowful tones about the 'economic disaster that is the American newspaper.' He assures us that in the coming deluge trusted 'brands' will be more important than ever. Just as quickly, though, he adds that whether the winners will be new brands or existing brands remains to be seen. On one thing, however, Google is willing to bet: 'The only way the problem [of insufficient revenue for news gathering] is going to be solved is by increasing monetization, and the only way I know of to increase monetization is through targeted ads. That's our business.'
Mr. Schmidt is a believer in targeted advertising because, simply, he's a believer in targeted everything: 'The power of individual targeting -- the technology will be so good it will be very hard for people to watch or consume something that has not in some sense been tailored for them.'
That's a bit scary when you think about it. But for investors and executives the big question, of course, is which companies will control these opportunities. Google may see itself as friend and helper to the media business, but it also clearly sees itself in control of the targeting information. Says Mr. Schmidt: 'As you go from the search box [to the next phase of Google], you really want to go from syntax to semantics, from what you typed to what you meant. And that's basically the role of [Artificial Intelligence]. I think we will be the world leader in that for a long time.'
Between here and there, though, the company faces ever-growing legal, political and regulatory obstacles. The net neutrality debate, which Google has led, has taken a sudden turn that has many of its former allies in the 'public interest' sector shouting 'treason.'
What was most striking about the set of net neut 'principles' Google produced this week with former antagonist Verizon was that they didn't apply to wireless. 'The issues of wireless versus wireline gets very messy,' Mr. Schmidt told one news site. 'And that's really an FCC issue, not a Google issue.'
Wait. Isn't the future of the Internet wireless these days? Isn't wireless the very basis of the new partnership between Google and Verizon, built on promoting Google's Android software? But Google has now broken ranks with its allies and dared to speak about the sheer impracticality of net neutrality on mobile networks where demand is likely to outstrip capacity for the foreseeable future.
If that weren't about to become a sticky political wicket for the company, it also faces growing antitrust, privacy and patent scrutiny, fanned by a growing phalanx of Beltway opponents, the latest being Larry Ellison and Oracle. 'There's a set of people who are intrinsic oppositionists to everything Google does,' Mr. Schmidt acknowledges resignedly. 'The first opponent will be Microsoft.'
Mr. Schmidt is familiar with the game -- as chief technology officer of Sun Microsystems in the 1990s, he was a chief fomenter of the antitrust assault on Bill Gates & Co. Now that the tables are turned, he says, Google will persevere and prevail by doing what he says Microsoft failed to do -- make sure its every move is 'good for consumers' and 'fair' to competitors.
Uh huh. Google takes a similarly generous view of its own motives on the politically vexed issue of privacy. Mr. Schmidt says regulation is unnecessary because Google faces such strong incentives to treat its users right, since they will walk away the minute Google does anything with their personal information they find 'creepy.'
Really? Some might be skeptical that a user with, say, a thousand photos on Picasa would find it so easy to walk away. Or a guy with 10 years of emails on Gmail. Or a small business owner who has come to rely on Google Docs as an alternative to Microsoft Office. Isn't stickiness -- even slightly extortionate stickiness -- what these Google services aim for?
Mr. Schmidt is surely right, though, that the questions go far beyond Google. 'I don't believe society understands what happens when everything is available, knowable and recorded by everyone all the time,' he says. He predicts, apparently seriously, that every young person one day will be entitled automatically to change his or her name on reaching adulthood in order to disown youthful hijinks stored on their friends' social media sites.
'I mean we really have to think about these things as a society,' he adds. 'I'm not even talking about the really terrible stuff, terrorism and access to evil things,' he says.
Not that Google is a doubter of the value of social media. Mr. Schmidt awards Facebook his highest accolade, calling it a 'company of consequence.' And though 'there is a lot of hot air, a lot of venture money' in the sector right now, he predicts that one or two more 'companies of consequence' will be born among the horde of new players just coming to life now.
A skeptic might wonder whether, despite present glory, Google itself might yet prove a flash in the pan. The company has enormous technological confidence. Mr. Schmidt describes how YouTube, its video-serving site, almost 'took down' the company in its early days, thanks to the swelling outflow of video dispatched from its servers to users around the globe. Salvation was the 'proxy cache' -- lots of local servers around the world holding the most popular videos. 'The technology that Google invented allows us to put those things very close to you,' says Mr. Schmidt. 'It was a tremendous technological achievement.'
But with YouTube, as with lots of Google projects, there remains the question of how to make money. Google captured the search wave and shows every sign of positioning itself successfully for the mobile wave. As for the waves after that, your guess may be as good as Mr. Schmidt's.
Holman W. Jenkins, Jr.
一些人看來﹐最近谷歌(Google)的日子過得不太順 利。它的股價下跌。在曾經由谷歌主導的領域﹐半路殺出蘋果(Apple)的iPhone﹐以一個繞過瀏覽器和谷歌搜索框的平台為基礎﹐掀起了互聯網的新一 波增長。“應用程序”(app)的革命﹐將要終結谷歌在網絡廣告領域的霸主地位。
但這些都是老皇歷了。最近的一個週五﹐《華爾街日報》一 群編輯和谷歌首席執行長施密特(Eric Schmidt)一起聊天。從施密特的話聽起來﹐谷歌完全不像是一家面臨中年危機的公司﹐面臨死亡威脅就更談不上了。
他說﹐在科技 領域﹐整個來講﹐如果你擁有一個有價值的平台﹐你就可以將其變現。比如iPhone用戶產生的搜索收入﹐谷歌要和蘋果分成﹐但Android手機的搜索收 入全部歸谷歌。施密特說﹐單這點差別就足夠支持Android的持續開發。
然後很快還有Chrome OS操作系統。谷歌希望這個系統在平板電腦和上網本當中發揮Android在智能手機中的作用﹐也就是讓谷歌在將來佔據強勢地位﹐把競爭對手──在這裡就 是微軟(Microsoft)──遠遠地拋在後面。
能這麼容易嗎？自年初以來﹐谷歌的 股價已經下跌近250美元。財務專家已經開始質疑﹐為什麼不從充裕的現金當中拿出更多的錢﹐通過股票回購和股息派發的方式返還給股東？一些人懷疑﹐種種誘 惑只會鼓勵施密特和創始人布林(Sergey Brin)、佩奇(Larry Page)組成的谷歌三巨頭把錢大量浪費在那些從來不會有回報的花哨點子上。《財富》(Fortune)雜志最近稱谷歌為“現金奶牛”﹐並建議人們更多地 關注怎樣擠奶﹐而不是離開它去尋找下一個發財機會。
谷歌搜索框和“谷歌一下(Googling)”這個 動作不再是我們在線生活中心的那一天即將到來。這會帶來什麼？施密特承認﹐他們正在力圖搞清楚搜索的未來。他說﹐我是用一種積極的心態來說這句話的﹐我們 仍舊樂於從事搜索業務﹐請相信我﹔但有一種想法認為﹐越來越多的搜索是在不需要你打字的情況下替你完成的。
假設你正沿著街道走路﹐由於谷歌搜集了你的信息﹐我們粗略知道 你是誰﹐你關心什麼﹐你的朋友是誰﹐谷歌還知道﹐你接下來要去哪兒。施密特讓一位聽眾想像各種可能性：如果你想喝牛奶﹐而不遠處就可以買到牛奶﹐谷歌將提 醒你在哪裡會買到牛奶。它將告訴你前面有一家收集了各種賽馬海報的商店﹐而你正在閱讀的關於19世紀謀殺案的故事就發生在下一個街區。
施 密特說﹐新一代功能強大的手持設備即將面世﹐它會常常給你驚喜﹐告訴你一些你想瞭解卻並不自知的信息。施密特說﹐令報紙從根本上吸引讀者的因素──即偶然 發現信息的驚喜──現在可以計算出來了。我們實際上可以用電子方式製造出這種驚喜。
施密特顯然關注著他的聽眾﹐當天包括一些熱衷報紙業務 的人。他用悲傷的語調談起“美國報業的經濟困境”。他向我們斷言﹐在未來的信息泛濫中﹐可信的“品牌”將比以往更重要。但他很快補充說﹐是新品牌還是現有 品牌贏得勝利﹐還需拭目以待。但谷歌希望押注的一件事是：（收集新聞類業務無法帶來足夠收入）問題的唯一解決方式是增加將業務轉化為收入的機會﹐而我知道 的唯一途徑是通過目標廣告﹐這就是我們要做的。
想想有點兒可怕。不過﹐對投資者和企業高管來說﹐ 最大的問題當然是哪些公司能夠把握這些機會。谷歌可能自視為傳媒業的朋友和幫手﹐不過它也明白要控制住具有針對性的信息。施密特說﹐隨著你從搜索業務進入 到下一個階段﹐你真的希望能從語法到語義﹐從你輸入的內容到你的內心所想。這基本上就是人工智能的作用。我認為我們將在很長時間內成為這一領域的全球領跑 者。
等一下。互聯網的未 來難道不是無線上網嗎？無線上網難道不正是谷歌和Verizon之間就宣傳谷歌Android軟件而建立的新合作關係的基石嗎？不過﹐谷歌如今打破了與盟 友的同盟﹐敢於說出在移動網絡上推行淨中立原則是完全不切實際的﹐因為在可預見的未來﹐移動網絡的需求很可能會超過其能力。
即使這不會成 為政治上對谷歌不利的因素﹐谷歌也仍面臨著越來越多的反壟斷、隱私權和專利審查。這些審查是由華盛頓政界越來越多的反對者發起的﹐最近的反對者是甲骨文公 司(Oracle)及其創始人埃里森(Larry Ellison)。施密特聽天由命地承認﹐有些人天生反對谷歌做的任何事﹐第一個反對者將是微軟。
施 密特熟悉這種遊戲──90年代作為Sun電子計算機公司（又名：昇陽電腦﹐Sun Microsystems）首席技術長﹐他是對微軟發起反壟斷攻擊的主要挑起者之一。他說﹐如今既然風水輪流轉了﹐谷歌將做據他說微軟沒能做到的事情── 確保每一步行動都是對消費者好的﹐對競爭對手公平的﹐進而堅持不懈並獲得成功。
原來是這樣。在政治上比較麻煩的隱私問題上﹐谷歌對自己的 動機也持一種類似的大度看法。施密特說﹐監管是沒有必要的﹐因為谷歌有強烈的動機正確對待用戶﹐一旦谷歌對用戶的私人信息做了任何讓他們感到緊張、不舒服 的事情﹐他們馬上就會棄用谷歌。
真是這樣嗎？一些人或許質疑﹐例如﹐如果有用戶在Picasa上面存有一千張照片﹐能做到說不用谷歌就不 用谷歌嗎？對於在Gmail上存了10年電子郵件的人﹐或者對於一位以谷歌“Docs”取代微軟“Office”、已經產生依賴的小企業主來說﹐也能做到 說不用谷歌就不用谷歌嗎？。谷歌這些服務希望達到的目標不就是用戶的粘性﹐甚至是略顯過度的粘性嗎？
當然﹐施密特認為這些問題不是谷歌所 能回答的。這無疑是對的。他說：我認為﹐當所有的事情對每個人都是可用、可知、可錄時﹐社會並不明白發生了什麼事情。他非常嚴肅地預言﹐有一天﹐每個年輕 人到成年時都有權自動改名﹐目的是與存於朋友社交網站上的小時候的胡鬧行為一刀兩斷。
這並不是說谷歌懷疑社交媒體的價值。施密特對Facebook給予 他最高的讚美﹐說它是一家“舉足輕重的公司”。雖然目前這個行業存在“很多夸大之詞、很多風投資金”﹐但他預計﹐在剛剛誕生的這一大群初創公司當中﹐還會 有一到兩家“舉足輕重的公司”冒出。
有人可能會問﹐雖然有當前的榮耀﹐但谷歌自己到頭 來是不是也會曇花一現？在技術上﹐這家公司有著充足的信心。施密特描述﹐YouTube在問世後不久的那些日子裡﹐由於大量視頻從服務器流向全世界的用戶 ﹐是怎樣差點“搞垮”了谷歌。解決辦法是“代理緩存”(proxy cache)﹐也就是讓全世界大量本地服務器來存儲最熱門的那些視頻。施密特說﹐谷歌發明的這項技術讓我們能夠把那些東西放在離你非常近的地方﹐這是一項 巨大的技術成果。
Pronunciation: /bɪˈnʌɪn/Translate benign | into French | into German | into Italian | into Spanish
Origin:Middle English: from Old French benigne, from Latin benignus, probably from bene 'well' + -genus '-born'. Compare with gentle1
- 2 Medicinea less common term for benign.
Origin:late 18th century: from benign, or Latin benignus, on the pattern of malignant
In prison, he was prohibited from writing anything but letters about “family matters” to his wife. These missives, he said, enabled him to make some sense of his incarceration. One of his themes was a warning to his persecutors that by their repression of human freedom, they were ultimately undercutting their own existence.
A written message; a letter. See synonyms at letter.
[From Middle English (letter) missive, (letter) sent (by superior authority), from Medieval Latin (litterae) missīvae, feminine pl. of missīvus, sent, from Latin missus, past participle of mittere, to send.]
1 〈言動などが〉許された, 黙認された, 任意の.
2 ((通例限定))（子供やセックスに関して）自由放任の, 寛大な. ▼悪い意味に用いる
a permissive society
2010 年06月07日 06:15 AM
Google: “Whack-a-mole is our life”
|Eric Schmidt veers between the defensive and the philosophical when describing how Google is coping with the constant eruption of controversy over its handling of privacy, copyright and other tricky public policy issues.||谷歌(Google)对隐私、版权及其它棘手公共政策问题的处理，不断引发争议。对 此，该公司首席执行官埃里克·施密特(Eric Schmidt)有时处于守势，有时又颇为达观。|
|“Whack-a-mole is our life,” says the youthful-looking 55-year-old chief executive of the world's most powerful and profitable internet company, based in Mountain View, California. “We are simply the symbol of the question of public and private behaviour, and special interests and narrow interests.”||他说：“打地鼠是我们的生活。我们仅仅是公共与私人行为、以及特殊利益和狭隘利益问题 的表征。”今年55岁、但看上去更年轻的他，执掌着总部位于加州山景城(Mountain View)的全球最强大、最赚钱的互联网公司。|
|In an hour-long interview at Google's London headquarters, Mr Schmidt set out why he believed Google had attracted charges of arrogance and insensitivity, notably in the recent case involving the interception of data collected via its Street View service from unsecured WiFi connections.||在谷歌伦敦总部的一小时采访中，施密特阐述了自己认为谷歌招致“傲慢”及“感觉迟钝” 指责的原因，尤其是最近其街景(Street View)服务从未加密的WiFi连接上截取数据的事件。|
|“Google is big and Google is disruptive by design. We are trying to do things that are new and when you disrupt things, the people who are being disrupted complain. We are in the information business and everyone has an opinion about information. But the laws [covering these areas] are inconsistent.”||“谷歌规模庞大，而且从设计上就具有‘扰乱性'。我们努力做一些新的事情，而当你扰乱 了现状时，被扰乱的人就会抱怨。我们从事信息业务，每个人对信息都有自己的见解。但（适用于这些领域）的法律缺乏连贯性。”|
|He adds: “The arrogance comes across because we try to do things for end-users against organised opposition from stakeholders that are unhappy – and they paint us as arrogant. But I am sure that all successful organisations have some arrogance in them.”||他接着表示：“之所以会有‘傲慢'的指控，是因为我们冒着不高兴的利益相关者的有组织 反对，尝试为最终用户提供一些服务——于是他们形容我们傲慢。但我确信，所有成功的组织都会有些傲慢。”|
|Mr Schmidt – wearing a disarming smile – is politely dismissive of those who say that Google's internal culture is largely to blame for the controversy plaguing the company.||有人说，谷歌内部文化是困扰该公司的争议的主要原因，对此，施密特——面带迷人的微笑 ——礼貌地予以反驳。|
|Critics say it is disconnected from the concerns of ordinary people, but Mr Schmidt counters that the “launch first, correct later” approach is vital to the ultra-creative and flexible company DNA which has produced the world's most popular search engine, Gmail, and Google Earth which maps the entire planet.||批评人士称，谷歌与普通人的关切存在脱节，但施密特反驳说，“先推出、再改正”的做 法，对注重创造性与灵活性的公司DNA至关重要。这种DNA带来了世界上最受欢迎的搜索引擎、Gmail、以及提供整个地球地图的谷歌地球(Google Earth)。|
|His remedy is to protect the company's freewheeling culture, while adopting a rigorous policy of owning up to mistakes and correcting them. That might mean more lawyers and more privacy briefings, but the engineers must be given space to work their software magic. “In the eyes of sophisticated people, we gain trust by being transparent.”||施密特给出的药方是：保护公司无拘无束的文化、同时执行严格的承认错误并改正的政策。 这可能意味着增加律师及隐私问题培训，但工程师必须得到施展自己软件才能的空间。“在成熟人士眼里，我们通过透明获得信任。”|
|Mr Schmidt is also at pains to separate the controversy over Street View from the spasm of criticism over privacy settings for Buzz, Google's answer to Facebook and other social networking sites.||施密特还尽力将围绕街景的争议，与针对Buzz隐私设置的批评声浪分离开来。Buzz 是谷歌推出的类似于Facebook及其它社交网站的社交网络产品。|
|In the first case, an engineer, who is now the subject of an internal investigation at the company, inserted a vital piece of code into Street View software systems, “in clear violation” of operating procedures but undetected by colleagues. The latter case involved a “testing failure” in which engineers only trialled Buzz internally and did not take into account how it would be viewed by the general public. The privacy settings – which critics said exposed personal information about users without their permission – were corrected within four days.||在 前一个事件中，一名工程师在街景软件系统中插入了一个重要编码，此举“明显违反”了 操作程序，但没有被同事察觉。如今，该工程师正在接受公司的内部调查。后一个事件涉及“测试失败”，即谷歌工程师仅在内部测试了Buzz，而没有考虑公众 会如何看待这个产品。批评人士指责该产品的隐私设置未获得用户批准，就泄露用户的个人信息，后来该设置不到四天就得到了修正。|
|By contrast, Mr Schmidt shows no contrition when responding to the recent court ruling in Italy convicting three top Google executives of criminal wrongdoing after its YouTube video website showed footage of a disabled boy being bullied by classmates.||相比之下，对于最近意大利法庭以谷歌YouTube视频网站播放一名残疾男孩遭同学欺 负为由，裁定谷歌三名高管犯下刑事不法行为，施密特没有任何悔意。|
|“The judge was flat wrong. So let's pick at random three people and shoot them. It's bullshit. It offends me and it offends the company.||“法官绝对不称职，随机挑选三个人，然后枪毙他们。这完全是瞎扯。这冒犯了我，也冒犯 了我们公司。”|
|“But this is not an indictment of Italy,” says Mr Google, who earlier noted that Europe is a highly profitable market for the company.||“但这并不是说整个意大利有错，”施密特表示。早些时候，他曾表示欧洲是谷歌利润率较 高的市场。|
|There is a sense at the top of Google that the world is definitely becoming a less friendly place for internet companies. The shift goes beyond the issue of privacy or the company's recent decision to withdraw from China on the grounds of censorship.||谷歌高层有一个感觉：世界肯定在向对互联网公司不友好的方向转变。这种转变超越隐私问 题、或者该公司最近以审查制度为由而作出的退出中国内地的决定。|
|As Rachel Whetstone, Google's head of communications and policy, notes: “In the last 25 years, regulation of the internet has been very benign. That is changing.”||正如谷歌传播与政策负责人雷切尔·惠特斯通(Rachel Whetstone)指出的：“过去25年里，互联网监管一直非常温和。如今这正在发生改变。”|
|For Google, the shift poses a huge challenge because of its own relentless drive to innovate and produce new products in real time. “I want to have checks and balances. But it would be terrible to put a chilling effect on creativity. We have to find a way to continue to be creative with some more oversight.”||对于谷歌而言，这种转变带来了巨大挑战，因为该公司一直不遗余力地创新，不断创造新的 产品。“我想获得制衡。但给创造性泼冷水将非常可怕。我们必须找到一种方式，一方面继续创新，另一方面施加更多的监督。”|
|As the interview draws to a close, Mr Schmidt is asked when Google's own internal investigation into the Street View privacy blunder will be complete and whether the company will make its findings public.||在采访快结束时，我们问了施密特一个问题：谷歌对街景隐私问题的内部调查将何时结束， 是否会将调查结果公诸于众。|
|Mr Schmidt turns to Ms Whetstone. “What do you want to do?”||施密特把头转向惠特斯通。“你想怎么做？”|
|Democracy, it seems, is alive and well in Mountain View.||看起来，民主在加州山景城仍有着很强的生命力。|