Eric Schmidt at Virginia Business Higher Education Council

Uploaded by Google on 22.01.2008


ERIC SCHMIDT: The governor of Virginia is the clearest
thinking politician I have met.
ERIC SCHMIDT: With well-thought words, he
articulates a vision of a great state.
And he does it with the energy, which we've worked
with him for a while on.
So for example, he decides that all of the information
that's publicly available in Virginia needs to be available
to its citizens.
So he invents with us something called Sitemaps.
And all of a sudden, all that information that could not be
available before is now
available to everyone worldwide.
We've now replicated that in ten other states.
An example where the governor, his vision, our teams, make
something happen.
And now everyone else is scrambling.
This is also a governor--
one more plug for this governor-- this is the only
governor I've ever met who actually cares about outcomes.
ERIC SCHMIDT: I mean, I think most of you would agree to me
that outcomes are actually what you should be judged
against. But apparently not in normal government.
But a Virginia we've got the leadership.
And that's why the state is doing so very, very well.
To me, Virginia is an upcoming leader globally.
I was sort of studying this.
And I was looking at UVA and the College of William Mary
are now ranked among the top public universities.
UVA, William and Mary, Virginia Tech, Mary
Washington, and James Madison among the top 25 best values
for education.
I used to play football against Thomas
Jefferson High School.
And I'm quite concerned that they were ranked number one
among public high schools in the nation.

Isn't that phenomenal?
We used to beat them by the way.
My point here is there's something afoot here with the
consensus that has been built in this state.
And I think, to some degree, the success also marries the
success of the Internet.
The Internet, of course, is this phenomenal thing
that's going on.
There are somewhere around 1.3 billion users on the order of
200 million users being added on a yearly basis.
The Internet is this phenomenon that will define
essentially the rest of our lives, and our children's
lives, and our grandchildren's lives, and so forth and so on.
And a lot it in our case is occurring because of things
called Moore's Law.
Moore's Law means that everything
doubles every 18 months.
There's a lesser known law called Kryder's Law, which
says the data storage doubles every 12 months, which is why
you have this enormous amount of crap on your computer.
ERIC SCHMIDT: The drives just get bigger,
and bigger, and bigger.
And so if you think about it, if you just sort of do the
math a little bit, let me give you an example of a problem.
By the year 2019, it's going to be possible to have an
iPod-like device that will have 85 years of video on it.
So you will be dead before you watch the whole thing.
Does this cause any stress here?
I am really quite upset about this.
I intend to be alive n 2019.
And I've already consumed a whole bunch of those 85 years.
It's a very serious issue.
And this rate of connectivity, the rate of
innovation is not slowing.
People tend to underestimate what can be
done with these things.
Because it compounds, and it compounds, and it compounds
just as the success of the investment in education is
going on here in Virginia.
It's a compounding.
The investments that were made 70 years ago to create VPI as
a land-grant university where I was fortunate to grow up.
And we have the President of the university here.
It compounds now.
Now all of a sudden, they're busy looking at this
interesting new biotech maneuver, which nobody ever
thought about when it was going to be an
agricultural school.
But the quality of the faculty is so good now that they can
actually expand.
And the governor and his programs are consistent with
the funding that they need.
So that's how these things work.
Now, by the way, it's only going to get worse.
Because the rate at which people are, for example,
blogging, there are like 70 million blogs.
It's frightening.
Every day eight hours of video, actually every minute
eight hours of video is uploaded to YouTube.
By the way, most of it is kind of iffy.
So don't worry.
But some of it is extraordinary.
Pictures of people families, but there are amazing things
going on there as well.
So it is this new phenomenon.
There are more than 10,000 applications that have been
built on top of Facebook.
There are more than 20,000 iGoogle applications which are
part of the way Google works.
This phenomena is now extending, and
it's extending globally.
Google started with 25,000 web pages.
We now have tens of billions.
So again, the growing continues.
You'll never read it all.
You'll never get it all.
It's only going to continue.
And we're undergoing this interesting shift from the
shift where you have your computer and you have
everything on it, to keeping everything on the net.
So one of my literally people I grew up with, was running
admissions for Virginia Tech.
And one of the things that she was very proud of is that they
put an online form.
So you would apply online without any hard copy.
A simple thing, huge improvement in terms of
outcomes and so forth and so on, a simple idea.
There are many, many examples of how in this new model the
services that universities and governments provide can be
provided on any device for any particular reason.
So this shift is just beginning.

It's always hard to put yourself in the mind of a
college student, partly because it's a little
I want you all to think about the world of a college student
today and how they perceive things.
I was quite alarmed.
We hire lots of people right out of college.
And I asked people, how many of you
have a land line telephone?

I bet you if I ask this group it's 99%.
There's one person here who doesn't have one.
95% did not.
I said, how can you possibly operate without a land line?
They say, why would we have to have an extra phone?
Again, it's a simple example of the gap.
And for all of you who manage, lead, teach, getting inside
their minds and understanding such a simple observation is
It's a completely different way of living.
In fact, the statistics are that 42% of users 18-29 are
going to use the Internet as their primary news source for
the '08 presidential election.
It's a little frightening.

And by the way, those people are going to vote too.
So all of a sudden this online shift changes the world view.
There are lots and lots of interesting statistics.
45% of college students who wants series television--
you know, the sort of series of episodes--
watch them online.
You can imagine what that does to the advertisers on the
traditional mechanisms. 30% of users in the same age group
use a video sharing site every day.
Again, watch them.
You'll see it's very different.
Now, when you think about it as an educator, the world is
very, very different.
So when I was in seventh grade in Montgomery County--
and I assume that you still have a requirement in Virginia
to study Virginia in seventh grade--
we had to memorize the names of all
the counties of Virginia.
And I succeeded.

I tell you that story to think, why did I need to know
that now that I have Google.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Which one of you made me do this?
ERIC SCHMIDT: Can't I just look it up now?
A more serious point is do you remember the whole thing with
the SATs and how they weren't going to let you use
calculators at the SATs?
It's a huge crisis.
Because, of course, people have to be able to do math,
and use pencils, and so forth and so on.
Now you're required to use a calculator.
So we have evidence that education shifts based on the
world view of the student and the things which are
accessible to them.
My central thesis here is that we, all of us, have not
shifted sufficiently at the rate of change that is going
on, which, I think, is the
fundamental message for education.
All of us have to anticipate that.
So another example is that we hire lots of young people.
They're more collaborative than my generation was.
They're used to working in teams. So if your model as a
professor is a single student doing his or her research,
working in the lab lonely late at night, you've
got the wrong model.
The new model is teams. And by the way, not just teams in the
lab, teams across the world.
People who have research relationships with people they
haven't even met, that's normal now.
And we need to teach it that way.
So this notion of collaborative and
collaborative learning is, in fact, how people will get to
the next level.
Going back to the governor's initiative around getting
Virginia to be number one--
my goal too--
it's going to take this shift.
We're going to have to think it through and figure out a
way to get there.
Now when you make the information that you have
available, you're going to have to make it available to
the students.
What do the students do?
They're on video games.
They're on iPhones.
They're on iPods.
They're on so forth.
You're going to have to find a way to get it to them.
Because that's how they want to consume information.
And they're ultimately the customer.
An example is Old Dominion University, which is a really,
really sharp group, launched their own YouTube channel with
putting course content on it.
And the resolution is OK and so forth and so on.
But given the complexity of students' lives, it really has
served them very, very well.
There's something called iTunes U, which I think is
fascinating, where basically people are now putting
lectures and campus speeches from famous people all around
the United States, another example.
Berkeley and YouTube are doing something similar
with their core work.
Google Book Search, and you all have heard about this.
We're busy indexing and making useful copies of all the books
that are in people's libraries around the world.
So you can look them up.
And you sit there and say, well, who really cares about
the manuscript in 1880.
What happens is, it's 3:00 in the morning.
It's snowing.
The library is closed because students aren't real good with
their time management, right?
Not news to you guys.
And all of a sudden the key insight is
right in front of them.
You want to talk about having an impact on somebody, that's
when you have the impact, when they're stuck, when they
needed that thing.
And all of a sudden it's there and it has huge implications
for what they learn and how they operate.
In the 16th century, Henry VIII dissolved
the monastic libraries.
And there are only 538 manuscripts of this time.
So we have another group that is busy basically digitizing
and putting them all online.
Because they have the majority of the English history from
the six to the 15th century.
And people can just touch it.
They can look at it right now.
Again, think about the difference between when we
grew up having to go to the library.
wasn't there, and you have to wait, and so forth and so on.
And now it's all right there.
It changes the way you think.
It changes the immediacy of decision making.
And it changes the depth of one's learning.
I want the students to do that.
Because the challenges they're going to face 20 and 30 years
from now are going to require that level of knowledge, that
require that level of sophistication as the world
gets even more interesting.
So when I think about all of this, I'll
give you another example.
There's another professor, this guy named Jerome Burg has
created a web site called Google Lit Trips.
And what he does is he uses Google Earth and Google Maps.
And if you haven't played with them, they are phenomenal.
And he actually goes through Homer's Odyssey on the map
with pictures and music.
So here you've got somebody who says, crap.
I can't deal with Homer's Odyssey.
The guy's been dead for 2,000 years.
Or is it 3,000?
All of sudden you now have a way to reach that student.

But the way, that student was me, and maybe some of you to
be honest.
Voltaire's Candide, Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath,
all of these things, in fact we have projects in the
company where we'll look at a whole document and then
produce a map of the book, all the places in the book, all of
the documents, everything that's referred to, and
building a global map of where you are.
So OK, fine.
You don't really want to read the book.
At least you can navigate through where the book takes
you so you can get a sense of what it's about, and get
excited about it, and maybe learn something that way.
It's all about learning however you
can, whatever it takes.
If it's a traditional mechanism, or a YouTube video,
or a book, any of those are fine as long as
we ultimately win.
And the outcome we want is knowledge and insight.
That's what we're going for.
That's what we care a lot about.
So the principle here is that we as a group
have to do four things.
We have to adapt.
We have to adapt to the fact that this Internet phenomena
that I'm talking about is getting bigger.
And I told you the math.
Do it in your head.
Remember doubling every 18 months is a factor of ten and
five, and a factor of 110 years.
100 times faster, 100 times more information, 100 times
more complexity in ten years.
Ten years happens pretty fast when you're an adult.
Now all of a sudden, it's going to happen now.
We need to get organized about that.
The second thing is that we have to
learn from the students.
Everybody here knows you have the sharpest students and you
have the OK students.
The sharpest students will show how they learn.
They can teach us.
And every one of them that I've talked with uses every
device I just described.
They literally take it all in.
They all put it together.
They have a map in their head of how they learn, and they
just do it.
We have to grow the knowledge base about how to do this.
Here in this room we have the leaders of higher
education in Virginia.
You guys are in charge.
But you also manage a very large set of people who are
not in this audience.
How are they going to get this message?
How are they going to learn?
How are they going to grow?
How are they going to develop all of these new ideas unless
you go and you tell them?
And you tell them, you've got to get organized around this
new phenomena of learning, this Internet-centric version
of learning.
And then the final thing is we have to invest. The governor
has laid out his plan, which I obviously think is brilliant.
You have to invest in capital.
You have to invest in faculty.
You have to invest in research collaborations.
Google, by the way, remember, came out of a
collaboration at Stanford.

The fact of the matter is, I don't know what it is, but
universities produce these extraordinarily talented
creative people every year.
And every one of them has an opportunity to go and create
another Google here in Richmond, in Newport News, in
Roanoke, in Northern Virginia.
Every single one of them is producing entrepreneurs.
The only problem we have is we don't know who they are.
We don't know their names yet.
Out of all those people, we don't know the winners.
But we want to make sure that the system
will make that happen.
The Human Genome Project started as a partnership
between Merck and George Washington University that was
sort of nearby, in Virginia and near Virginia.
And, of course, it's changed the world.
Because we now understand a lot about the human genome.
So if you look at the progress of history, you look at the
progress of science, you look at the progress of
accomplishment, it all starts here with what we
do, the way we work.
And by the way, it's because the students are the ones that
will make a change with our help, with our leadership.
That's what it's all about.
Ultimately the student is what matters.
So if I think about this, I think about this and just
finish up with one thought.
I believe this next generation expects and deserves the
absolute best. I think that Virginians expect it.
And I think that they deserve it.
It's a great state.
What I like about what you all are doing, is I believe that
Virginia with Google helping will really deliver on that.
That's why I'm so excited to be here.
So thank you very much.
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: Eric, thank you very much.
And now what we want to do is open it up and have questions.
You'll see me a lot and have many
chances to ask me questions.
So I would hope that most of the questions
would be for Eric.
I'm glad to answer some too.
But with that, we'll open it up.
And I'll kind of play emcee and watch for
hands around the room.
Yeah, please, Jim.
And then we'll repeat the question so that all in the
room can hear.
AUDIENCE: Eric, Google has the reputation of hiring the most
brilliant students.
Can you describe how you screen for that [INAUDIBLE]?
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: How does Google hire the
most brilliant students?
How do you screen for it?
And how do you find talent that can help an
organization like this?
ERIC SCHMIDT: We copied the way universities do it.
Universities have hiring committees, and they do
searches, and they have teams, and they look at
Every person we hire is graded on a score.
We look at their GPAs, which turn out to matter.
We look at the nature and the quality of the school and the
program that they were in.
And then we give them a test.
By the way, programmers have to do a programming test. It's
kind of obvious if you think about it.
Marketing people have to write a marketing document.
Sales people have to do a sales call on a salesperson.
You can imagine how intimidating this is.
With managers, what we do is we asked them to write what
are they going to do in the first six months in the job?
And by the way, we don't tell them that after they write
that we throw it out.
Because we want to see what their thinking us.
So it is possible to put a science around recruiting.
We don't allow friends to hire friends.
Often the hiring manager is not part of the hiring
committee, as an example, which again is
a university thing.
Very, very few companies do this.
And as far as know, we're the only one that
does it with our rigor.
The other thing that we do is we look at outcomes.
We measure predictive scorers from the interview scores
versus predicted outcomes and then we adjust based on bias.
So if you, for example, are an easy grader.
And we look at the quality and the predicted outcome of
people who you convinced us to hire, a year from now, we'll
actually mathematically adjust your grade down.
Sorry Jim.
It is possible to bring science and data to something
as heuristic as recruiting.
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: Please over here, Allen.
AUDIENCE: What should the presidential candidate be
talking about in terms of increasing science and
technology [INAUDIBLE]?

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: But for the whole room, what should
the presidential candidates be talking about in terms of
increasing science and technology capacity of our
population that they are not talking about now?
ERIC SCHMIDT: The first thing I would do is give them
Governor Kaine's speech and have them just
repeat it word by word.
ERIC SCHMIDT: That's the first thing.
The second thing is that there is this bizarre rule called
H-1B visas.
People here may be aware of this.
These are people who are very, very educated
in science and math.
And there's a quota which is filled within a few days of
the window opening on a yearly basis.
So we and other technology companies have employees who
want to come to the United States, who are brilliant
scientists, who are parked in another country.
And when they get permission, they come in.
They work for us anyway.
When they come to the US, they pay taxes and
they change the world.
This anti-immigration phenomena in the country is a
real issue, I think, for creating the
world's best place.
We want, in the United States, the smartest people.
We don't want them in other countries.
ERIC SCHMIDT: And by the way, because of the quality of US a
higher education, they want to be here,
which is to your credit.
It's phenomenal, right?
You have a situation where the higher education system, a
typical example is in China.
Everyone is obsessed with China.
Our higher education system is 100 than the Chinese one.
And nobody wants to talk about it.
Let's talk about what our strength is.
So that's the second point.
The third is that both parties have been bizarrely
restrictive on the funding required for a lot of key
research programs. Computer science, which is what I'm
part of, has had essentially flat to slightly declining
budgets for five years.
And by the way, guess what?
The percentage of graduates in computer science has also been
flat to declining in the United States.
No surprise.
The money matters.
I went to Berkeley and was funded because I
didn't have any money.
It was funded by a National Science Foundation fellowship.
I needed the money.
It was only $3,000.
But I didn't have it.
The concept of leverage is really fundamental.
And in government, a small investment now creates
entrepreneurs and scientists who create billions of dollars
of businesses.
They create enormous amounts of taxes and create huge jobs.
The problem is that that lifespan is ten years, and the
average politician is in office for two,
three, four, five.
So we have to have the conversation which is
It has to be a part of both parties.
We want the United States to be.
In Otherwise what's going to happen is we're going to have
a Sputnik moment.
I mean, all of the science and math that I was part of
occurred because we were terrified of the Russians.
So now what's going to happen is somebody else
is going to do this.
And finally we're going to say, well, you know, we should
certainly invest in science.
Why don't we do it now?
So I think that's a simple list. There's a lot of others.
AUDIENCE: Is there still a digital divide and is that
still affecting the ability to advance?
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: Digital divide question, how deep is
that divide and maybe some thoughts on eliminating it.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Governor, you have a view on this.
Why don't you talk about this state, rural and
I'll be glad to.
And then maybe I'll say it and then Eric, you can weigh in
from Google's standpoint.
Aneesh Chopra, my secretary of technology I know is here.
And he and others in the state work hard in these digital
divide issues.
We have viewed the digital divide somewhat as geographic
with limited access to high quality Telecom, high Digital
Telecom in rural parts of Virginia.
With funds from the Tobacco Commission, but also some
other funds, funds from the Federal Government, we are
building out a very extensive digital network throughout
rural Virginia, Southwest, and Southside of significant spine
there, Eastern Shore, so that we can really put the best
capacity in all of the communities of the
And so trying to build that infrastructure and build it in
parts of the Commonwealth that have not been served, has been
a key initiative that we've been promoting.
We have an advisory committee.
And I think Governor Warner actually has
agreed to come back.
And he's the chair of it right now.
So as we continue to build out that network, we think we'll
solve some of the geographic digital divide.
But I think Ross, probably it's also getting at, OK, so
now it's available everywhere.
What about families of different income levels or
different education levels and how they access these
opportunities for their youngsters.
That's an additional serious issue that we have to tackle.

ERIC SCHMIDT: In the early 90s, Blacksburg did something
Blacksburg, when I was growing up, was really quite remote.
It became the most wired city in America.
Those of you who were in Blacksburg or were
part of VPI know this.
Because they had the foresight--
and I suspect you had a fair to do with this--
to actually go and take all those apartment complexes that
the students live in and wire them with fiber.
Somebody just had the idea and they did it.
It was a small enough town they could just do it.
So I learn something.
And the thing I learned was that this digital divide
Internet thing, is the same thing as rural electrification
in the 1940s.
We're too young, thank goodness, to remember the
fights in the '30s and '40s around the infrastructure
required to get electricity all throughout the rural areas
of America.
And many governors, including this one, have recognized that
it's very, very important that access to information be
independent of where you are physically.
And the technology helps because the technology is
getting cheaper.
So the problem you have now is you have the other problems.
And the fact of the matter is-- and you all as educators
know this-- if you put a computer in a classroom, the
quality of teaching does not a priori go up.
People like me say, well, put a computer in.
Let them have it and have a good time.
It's a system.
We can get it connected.
I think that the current digital divide is the values,
expectations, parental involvement, and school
involvement in getting people to use these things.
I will tell you that I encounter all sorts of people
who say, I was in this rural area.
My family was poor.
And I learned from Google.
I go, this is like terrifying.
But if they're sitting there in some terrible, remote
place, that is their source of information.
So I know it's having an impact.
But it has to be supplemented by many other things.
Yes, in the red shirt there.
AUDIENCE: With the crazy amount of information that's
getting on the internet, how does Google or the whole
industry plan to [INAUDIBLE]?

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: Yeah, the glut of information question--
with more and more information and more and more storage, how
does Google try to make sure that search results retain
relevance and don't just haul in all the dreck out there?
So yeah, how do we do this?
ERIC SCHMIDT: We do haul in all the dreck, we just put it
lower than the high quality stuff.
The good news about your question is search is what
Google does.
So every problem that we see, we see is a search problem.
So when I go through the math about the number of videos,
and the amount of blogs, and so forth, you're never going
to organize those anything other than a search process.
We use very, very sophisticated algorithms that
are proprietary to company--
they're so complicated, I don't even understand them now
as a computer science--
to actually rank and relate all that information to
produce results that you see.
A typical situation is that our computers are looking all
the time for new information.
And they're being ranked in parallel.
So the tenth of a second or less that you see as a result,
there are 100 computers that collaborated to rank, and
rate, and give you that information.
We have a lot of ideas of how to make it better.
A lot of them have to do with personalization.

The classic example is hot dog.
If the query is hot dog, am I hungry or do I have a dog
that's hot.
Do I cool them off or something?
Put them in a bath of water.
How do you disambiguate those sorts of things.
The ambiguity of language is something that artificial
intelligence techniques are very, very good at.
And we have a lot of new things coming there.
The other interesting thing we're doing that I didn't talk
about but is probably relevant here, is that we're working on
translating every language to every other language.
Computers can do this.
Humans can't.
We have something called statistical machine
translation where we look at a text and we look at the other
language text, which has been transmitted by a good
And then our algorithms can sort of figure out how to do
that repetitively for any texts.
It's magic.
I don't really understand it and it's been
explained to me twice.
I don't think I'll ever understand it.
But basically what happens is you take all of this stuff and
you translate it.
So we do Chinese, Arabic, and English.
One of the terrible things in the world is that there's a
very, very large body of Arabic work that's never been
translated into any other language.
So here we are.
We're all obsessed with all these problems in the Arab
world and we don't even understand their culture.
And it works both ways, by the way.
They benefit from seeing all our stuff too.
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: Question here in the back.

ERIC SCHMIDT: I didn't want to do too much
of a plug for Google.

We're doing one thing that everybody should know about,
which is that we're offering people the ability to
essentially have university-branded Gmail
accounts for free for students.
And you say, well, why would we do that?
The answer is, of course, they then get used to our products
and they use them when they graduate.
So it's a good business deal for us.
It's a great business for universities because the
management of that corpus of computers and activity is
pretty low value-added and it's a huge pain.
So this is an example where our computers can do it better
than a university can.
And that's the test that we applied.
In the case of book search, we've signed up on the order
of 20 libraries now-- we're adding more--
who are giving us mostly works that are pre-1923.
So it's pre-Copyright Law.
And we're trying to have the largest database of that.
We give that information back to the library
so they have a copy.
But the reality is it's easier for the library to just let us
do the hosting.
Again, they can have the rights to.
And then their students can use it in the
normal course of business.
So far everybody seems to be pretty happy with that.
We depend critically upon an educated citizenry.
We depend in every country, not just in the United States.
So it's in our interest to get every university up to speed,
every bit of information available to the smart
students who really want to pursue that.
It's good business for Google as well.

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: The question is conversations
between Google and textbook purchasers, particularly for
students or school systems that might have financial
challenges to have these textbooks available.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Actually we have. And we've had such great
conversations that they're busy suing us.
ERIC SCHMIDT: So we worked hard.
And we actually like them.
And we're sort of trying to work it out.
So don't take that too seriously.
But the offer that we've made is that for things which are
in print, so these textbooks, which is what you're referring
to, we are perfectly happy to get a snippet, that is a small
piece of information, and then refer the student to the book
and to a web site where the book can be purchased.
We don't want to just take the book and a copy of it, one
because that would be a violation of copyright, and
two, the publishers actually have to get
paid for their work.
So we want to distinguish between the cost and the
My view is that people will consume media on any format
and that book publishers should be willing--
for the same amount of money, by the way--
to make it available in a book as well as online.
The trick is how to make all that work.
And that's our goal.
Yes, please.

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: The question is about Eric's view
on the wiki phenomenon as a way of
putting knowledge together.
ERIC SCHMIDT: I have been struck by how
good Wikipedia is.
There are so many sites that we deal with.
It's Gresham's Law.
The bad content drives out the good content.
You see them all in all when you spend time online.
But Wikipedia has somehow managed to avoid that.
And if you study what they did, they have a charismatic
founder who does this out of love for the world.
And he's a hero in my view.
They have volunteer editors who make sure that defamation,
and sort of the scatological, and just all the wacky stuff
that happens online is quickly eliminated.
People who do evil things to the information are shut out
for a while as punishment for their evil behavior.
And it has produced a remarkably accurate
user-generated content.
It is the poster child.
The question I have is how reproducible is that?
So here you are in your university, and you want to
build your own wiki.
Do you have to do all the same things that
Wikipedia has done?
We at Google use the Wikipedia technology.
And wikis, for those of you who don't know, are
collaborative bulletin boards essentially.
What to do is people are just constantly adding information
and so forth.
It's a knowledge network, if you will, of information.
But within a corporation, we have control over who has
access to it.
And again, we can control for quality.
The fundamental question about user-generated content is the
Gresham's Law issue.
If you have everybody producing user-generated
content, you get people who are literally mad who have
nothing to do but to generate spam hate mails.
They just want to pollute everything.
I don't think they're in Virginia.
I think they're in some weird country.
What do we do about those people?
I think that's the problem that the industry as a whole
is addressing.

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: What is Google do to foster continuous
innovation always ranked as one of the most innovative
companies within its employees?
ERIC SCHMIDT: The company is very bottoms-up run.
I seldom make any decisions.

It's all percolating all the time.
And the key incendiary thing is something called 20% time.
And basically if you're a technical person, a product
person in the company, we encourage you to spend 20% of
your work time on something of your own interest. It doesn't
even have to be about Google.
It doesn't have to be about the Internet.
And as far as I know, we're the only place in the world
that does that.
And all of the interesting ideas have come out of that.
Because what will happened is that some employee will spend
the weekend, or Friday, or whatever working on it.
And then all of a sudden they'll begin to
recruit their friends.
And then a wave starts going.
And all of a sudden I'll show up and there's ten people
working on.
And each one of them is 20%.
So it's like two people.

Well maybe you should combined forces.
And off we go.
So the other aspect of what we do that's actually useful is
we have a ship and iterate philosophy.
What we try to do is we try to make changes constantly.
We don't wait for a product cycle.
Education, if I may, and I don't mean to offend anyone,
is the slowest moving organization I ever deal with.
Let's say you want to bring out a new textbook.
OK, well, how long does it take to produce a textbook?
A year.
Then you have to get three years of approvals.
So now we're up to four years.
I'm sorry.
That was a low number.

So how are you ever going to use a textbook model and get
it to match this Wikipedia model?
So I think that you all should think about how can you use
these ideas like 20% time.
And, of course, the culture is tolerant of failure, tolerant
of fast iteration, and encourages individuals to
spend 20% time.
And I do want to be clear that there are groups that we do
not encourage to do 20% time.
So for example, finance people, we want them working
on keeping the money in the bank.

Yes, sir?

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: How does Google deal with the identity
theft issue making sure that sensitive information is not
uploaded and then utilized by people who intend
to do others harm?
ERIC SCHMIDT: It does happen to some degree.
And it's obviously not a good thing.
We detect credit card numbers, for example.
We detect social security numbers.
We throw them out.
In other countries, there are equal numbers to the social
security number, so ID numbers and so forth.
And when we detect them we throw them out.
And we try our hardest to let people have choices.
So, for example, since all of you have landlines, type your
phone number into Google.
And you'll see if we have it.
Because we may have gotten it through some database that you
happened to have signed up with a long time ago.
We give you the ability to delete it.
You can leave it there if you want.

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: How important is it for Google
that the employees that they are hiring for technical
positions also have a good liberal arts
founding in their education?
ERIC SCHMIDT: I think the blunt answer is it depends on
where they are in our protocol stack.
We have some people who live in our engine room.
And as best as I can tell, they only come out at night.
And I think their lives are probably much better enhanced
by having a liberal arts education.

Their communication skills are not so high anyway.

I think anything you can do with them is appreciated.

The more serious answer is that we have a cohort of
people who build our consumer products where the liberal
arts education that you all have provided them has been
phenomenal because they have judgment, taste, sense, color,
style, all the things that are engine room fellow lacks.

Let's see, maybe take one or two more.
Please, yeah President Runte.

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: All right, let me summarize this.
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: Simple and powerful point.
The earlier discussion was about liberal arts and the
value of liberal arts even in hiring for technical capacity.
And President Runte sort of extended it by saying, in a
world of more and more content, so now a glut of
content, isn't liberal arts really important to be able to
determine what is the content that is really valuable?
So really promoting liberal arts as the building
capacities of judgment to be able to take the massive
amount of information and boil it down to the essentials.
ERIC SCHMIDT: Again, I actually agree with the thesis
of your question, that we're very good at organizing
But we still don't have insight.
Insight comes from a student, and faculty member, and a
conversation, and the kinds of things that
you all do so well.
That is the benefit of a liberal arts education.
With this explosion of information, it gets worse.
How do you sort out this idea, this idea, and this idea?
So you have to build in your student a thesis, an approach,
a model of how good decisions are made, or good insights, or
so forth, and then let them run with it.
The only thing I can suggest is that universities will have
to help students search better.
Literally there will have to ultimately be some kind of
Well, maybe this is how you should
think about this problem.
This is how you should look up this information.
This is how you should view it.
And that's, I think, an emergent phenomenon.
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: I'm going to take one more question.
But just before I do, just to encapsulate a little bit of
this, it's been an interesting presentation for
Business Higher Ed.
It hasn't been a speech just on you why higher
education is important.
But I think two themes really emerge from-- at least two--
from Eric's speech.
First, he's shared with us the way learning is changing, and
the way learning is changing among the young.

It's driven by technology.
But it's even bigger than that.
And so how that's going to change the mission of all of
our organizations and certainly require our
universities to really be at the forefront in this because
they're at the forefront of learning.
But the second aspect of the speech that really bears on
the Business Higher Council's lesson is just the phenomenal
success story of Google.
It would not have been without higher education.
The beginning points of Google in a higher education
environment and then this continuous innovation that has
brought about by bringing in people who had access to the
best highest education in the world.
Other nations may have passed us an x, y, or z, even in the
percent of people that have higher ed.
But in the quality of the higher ed. programs we have,
It's not a close race.
We are head and shoulders above the rest of the world in
terms of the quality of the educational programs we have.
The phenomenal success of Google, and then its ability
to transform the world wouldn't have happened without
a strong higher education system.
And so those are two very powerful messages the changes
the way we learn and the critical nature of higher ed.
to this success story an so many others that really bear
on your mission.
Let me take one more question and then we'll move to lunch.
Just straight back here, please.

GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: Question was sort of there used to be a
number of search engines that were competitive with Google.
Now Google is ubiquitous and we all use the word Google as
a verb now.
So that really is the test for how ubiquitous it's become.
So are there other competitors?
Or if not, do you have some additional responsibilities as
sort of a monopolist in the search for information?
ERIC SCHMIDT: Very well said, Governor.

I'll carefully not answer the last part of the
sentence by the way.
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: I can see why.
ERIC SCHMIDT: The sites that you named are still around.
What they do is they become more specialized.
and they offer specialized value for looking in some
specific areas.
Our primary two competitors are Yahoo! search engine and
Microsoft search engine.
Yahoo bought a bunch of them and aggregated them into a
And they do a good job.
With respect to our market share and our role in the
world, we take it very seriously.
We understand that people are making decisions based on
Google search results.
A typical story is we get this letter, this fellow saying, I
typed in my symptoms. The answer came back.
The first result was, you are having a heart
attack, dial 911.
So the person dials 911.
The paramedics show up in three minutes.
And they said if you had not done that, you'd be dead.
That's a life changing experience.
So we tell that story.
Imagine if you had the wrong result.
This person would be dead.
So we take it very seriously.
One thing that's alarming is that a significant proportion
of our queries are health-related, and yet, we're
not doctors.
We're just trying to organize medical information in the
normal course of business.
And indeed, we have some initiatives around that,
around Google Health.
So we take it seriously.
Ultimately there are always going to be
choices in this space.
We hope to be a common denominator, a basic choice
that you can start with.
And if you have specialized interests, you can go to some
of these specialized engines.
GOVERNOR TIM KAINE: Please thank Eric again.