Briefly, Eric Schmidt has a robust background in technology. He began working with technology at Bell Labs, Zilog and the famous Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). In 1983 he joined Sun Microsystems, where he led their Java development work, eventually taking the job as CTO (Chief Technology Officer). In 1997, he left Sun to become the CEO of Novell, then, a premiere networking company in the business world.
His most recent stop was Google, where he was recruited by founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. He began as CEO in August, 2001. Although a technology scientist at heart, in his role as CEO, Schmidt focuses on managing the executive staff and the sales organization. Like other CEO’s, he assumes the legal responsibility for the company.
Below the surface, Google is a very complex and diverse company
What makes Google (and Eric Schmidt) so interesting and respected is the literal inventory of products they have amassed along the way, down the yellow brick road of the internet. Products that in and of themselves, could be the base for an entire company alone… At the foundation of the pyramid is Google Search as it supports the core need of the web, i.e., finding things. Google Search dominates the internet by attracting 65% of users conducting search activities.
Moving forward from Search are related products YouTube, Earth, Maps, Translate and News. Click here for a complete list of Google Products. One of the most profound perspectives that Eric Schmidt elaborated about during the interview with Charlie Rose, was his ability to look at the internet and technology from the perspective of how it embraces human interaction. The essence of Google Search was designed from the ground up around how people think when they process information.
Schmidt coined a phrase in the interview as he described the evolution of Google Search akin to being “from Syntax to Semantics”. Appropriately, when Google and the other primary search engines began, search was far more cryptic, necessitated strong syntax, position of words and keywords, use of boolean operators (and, or, not, between) and caused the person conducting the search to think as much about the search process as they did focusing on what they were actually searching for; much like the original automobiles required the driver to also be a mechanic or telephones at first requiring an operator to function.
Like other megatrends, internet search likewise has evolved. Most recently, Google Instant Search begins to display results in real time as you type your search words. On the back end, that requires staggering amounts of data storage, computing power and robust networks and communications capability.
Look for more revelations in Parts 2 and 3 of the Interview
The next most revealing and profound aspects of the interview revolved around Steve Jobs, Apple and the iPhone, followed by Privacy as an umbrella issue, as it is associated with Global operations and the US Government. Look for those stories in Parts 2 and 3 of this article series.