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article imageGoogle's Brin and Schmidt talk Gmail outages, Chrome, book deals

By David Silverberg     Oct 7, 2009 in Internet
This morning, Google cofounder Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt spoke with a dozen reporters in New York about many Google-related topics, from recent Gmail outages to hiring new staffers to the proposed resettlement on its books archive.
It's a rare day when Google talks about more than just its latest launch. In a rare media interview for several reporters in New York, Google cofounder Sergey Brin and CEO Eric Schmidt divulged some intriguing tidbits about hiring practices, recovering from the economic downturn and why they are working diligently to prevent further Gmail outages.
Peter Kafka from the Wall Street Journal was one of the lucky few reporters taking part in the Q&A. He summarized some of the key points Brin and Schmidt offered to the media today.
First, Google stressed it's looking forward to a full recovery form the recession. In an opening address, Schmidt said: "We told our team internally and again, we’ve said to many other people that we are increase are hiring rate and our investment rate in anticipation of a recovery."
The two Google captains then went on to answer questions. Distilling the most pressing issues, Kafka said Google was developing strategies to help publishers sell their work on the Web, either through one-offs or subscriptions. But Schmidt said he had "no interest in promoting one publisher’s results over another, as AP officials had recently suggested." Kafka quotes Schmidt as saying, “We have to be very very careful not to favor one media organization over another, with regard to speed or latency.”
Schmidt and Brin also addressed the oft-publicized Gmail outages. Brin said the company dropped the ball on the fails. The second outage could have been resolved in five or 10 minutes, Brin said, "but we made errors in handling it, and it extended over an hour."
Brin didn't outline how Google would prevent future outages, only stressing the company is working on reacting quickly to the email system failures.
Schmidt also discussed the proposed settlement Google had reached with authors and publishers relating to its book archive. Google is hoping to expand its book archive. "There are millions of books that have never been read, and we’re going to deliver readers to those books," said Schmidt.
Google executives
Google's top executives, from left to right: CEO, Eric Schmidt; co-founder Sergey Brin; and co-founder Larry Page.
Photo by Joi
Essentially, Brin and Schmidt believed the settlement isn't perfect but workable.
The Google browser Chrome came up in several questions. A journalist commented: "It seems as if Chrome isn’t having the impact with consumer that you would like." Schmidt replied, according to Kafka: "Some of your premise about Chrome is incorrect, in terms of adoption, and we’re going to get that message out." He added that Chrome for Macs will be a major priority for Google, available soon.
Mergers and acquisitions got Brin and Schmidt talking about what kind of companies they seek. "I think we will be buying small companies – 5, 10 people. That’s where some of our best stuff has been," said Schmidt. He said buying YouTube and DoubleClick will pay off for the big G, noting how DoubleClick is close to paying back the acquisition price and YouTube is getting there.
On Google as an employer, Schmidt said, "Google pays very well. Google is clearly a growth company. People at Google don’t work for those reasons at Google. We don’t want them to come to work for Google for those reasons. We want people to come to Google to change the world. Life is short.”
More about Google, Sergey Brin, Chrome, YouTube, Gmail