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Google's Schmidt Says He 'Screwed Up' On Social Networking 252

"Google chairman Eric Schmidt took responsibility for the search titan's failure to counter Facebook's explosive growth, saying he saw the threat coming but failed to counter it." Note: The original link's landing page was changed after we posted it. The one showing now goes to a Wired article. The same story (coverage of a May 31 conference presentation by Schmidt) also quotes him as saying, unsurprisingly, that cloud services will be 'the death of IT as we know it.'"
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Google's Schmidt Says He 'Screwed Up' On Social Networking

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  • Yeah Right.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @09:37AM (#36307432) Homepage

    No company worth their salt will put all the company data "on the cloud" No way in HELL is my customer DB and accounting DB going on the cloud.

    • Indeed, stick to what you're good at Eric.

      • Indeed, stick to what you're good at Eric.

        Eric's big problem, and indeed, Larry and Sergey too, is that they think "smart" is equivalent to "good at everything" whereas in fact one can be smart without being socially adept. This is not an insurmountable problem but it begins with "I'm not actually all that cool, need to bring in people who are", a tough step for a billionaire.

    • Lots of companies are already doing it. Whether you think it's a good idea is irrelevant, but I will remind you that history is littered with people in an industry arrogantly proclaiming that something new will "never work" because it doesn't fit their past experience. No matter how much they stamp their feet progress marches on.

      • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

        Name one, just one company that has everything in the cloud. No mail servers, no terminal services servers, no in house intranet, no local hosted sftp/ftps and all customer and accounting data in the cloud.

        Lots of companies are using these technologies where they make sense, near no one is using them in a way that gets rid of IT.

        • Quite a few indie game companies do since their team members tend to be scattered across the globe. When you have someone in Canada, the US, Europe and in Japan suddenly a cloud makes sense since it makes sure everyone stays on the same page, even if they aren't in the same timezone.
          • by Machtyn ( 759119 )
            Same thing for multinational mega-corps. They may use cloud technologies, but it is all still in-house.
          • You mean, like, I dunno... a concurrent versioning server? A shared development server?

            This whole cloud thing is nought but marketingspeak from companies who see money in large-scale, thin-provisioned hosting. As usual, the inept CTOs are gobbling it up like crazy.

        • by paimin ( 656338 )
          I work for a startup that has everything in the cloud (except possibly backup - I'd bet there is a physical copy somewhere). Seriously, all of the above are handled in the cloud, and we have nobody with the title of "IT". We outsource our firewall admin, and all data services are cloud. Mind you, there are plenty of IT tasks being handled by developers, and I definitely do NOT agree that those types of tasks are going away. But I think it is conceivable that the title will fade away, and it is conceivab
          • If you've got stock options in this startup, I suggest you start off today making that "bet" of a physical copy more of an assurance.
      • by capsteve ( 4595 ) *

        i doubt that my company's customers data will ever move to the cloud... some data and/or customer data might move to the cloud, but not all of it. it's not about arrogantly proclaiming something wouldn't work, it has more to do with contracts and agreements that prohibits our customer data to be moved beyond our data center.

      • Re:Yeah Right.... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by antifoidulus ( 807088 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @09:54AM (#36307632) Homepage Journal
        Pretty much like every tech trend before it, and after it, cloud computing will do a fraction of what it's supporters say it will do, and many times what it's detractors say it cannot do. Just look at pretty much EVERY other tech trend ever.... dot com? Didn't really change how we bought dog food, did change how we shop for a lot of other articles though. Offshore outsourcing? According to a Gartner report in 2003 or thereabouts, right now over 50% of all US IT jobs should be in India and there was predicted to be massive unemployment in the US IT sector, while the detractors said that all the work that went to India will come back because the Indians cannot do it. The truth? Nowhere near what Gartner said, but significantly more work is outsourced than before and isn't coming back, so the detractors were wrong too.

        Cloud computing is in a similar position IMO. Of course the owner of one of the biggest clouds on the planet is going to be all gung ho about cloud computing, and of course people whose jobs may be threatened will say it will never work. But if you look in between that, there are some exciting opportunities for the cloud, but also some severe limitations that may never be completely overcome.

        Long story short, if someone is telling you "Technology x will do a-z!" and someone else shouts back "Technology x is worthless!", you are better off not believing either of them.
      • At least somebody here has some concept of reality.

    • Clouds don't have to be public... it's perfectly reasonable to have an internal private cloud, and that can communicate with a public-facing public cloud (where the .com gets hosted, customer portal, etc)
      • Wouldn't an "internal private cloud" just be called a "server farm"?

        • Not necessarily. It could be internal to the corporation, but not to a specific department/team/developer. Each department could get isolated use of that cloud. From the department's perspective, it's an internal private cloud.
        • Re:Yeah Right.... (Score:4, Informative)

          by mikeroySoft ( 1659329 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:55AM (#36308320)
          A server farm can host a 'cloud', certainly, they aren't necessary the same thing.
          Servers are hardware. A 'cloud' represents a logical infrastructure, independent of the hardware it's currently sitting on.
          With such an abstraction, you can more easily and reliably do things like disaster recovery, load balancing, storage migration, fail-over.. etc.. Gives the infrastructure the agility to deal with change, whether it's planned or not.
        • by Lennie ( 16154 )

          yes, mostly and sometimes it is colocated as well.

      • Our AS/400 says "Hi" and "welcome to the 70s".
    • Nobody said it has to be the public cloud: private and hybrids exist, too
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jrumney ( 197329 )
      No company worth their salt will put consumer grade PCs on every desktop. No way in HELL is my mainframe based customer DB and accounting DB going to be accessible on the LAN.
    • by rvw ( 755107 )

      No company worth their salt will put all the company data "on the cloud" No way in HELL is my customer DB and accounting DB going on the cloud.

      No company worth *your* salt.... That's what you're saying essentially. And it won't happen, because those companies either stick with you, or they will find somebody else to handle their data.

    • by cHiphead ( 17854 )

      I love the cloud moniker, because its the perfect description. Eventually either the data escapes and pours out of the cloud or just outright evaporates into thin air. You get what you get if you put important data in a 'cloud.'

      • Well, it *is* an accurate analogy, isn't it? It looks all nice and pretty from afar, but once you get closer it turns out to be vapourware.

    • No company worth their salt will put all the company data "on the cloud" No way in HELL is my customer DB and accounting DB going on the cloud.

      Your competition will do it, and it will cost them just a fraction of what you will have to pay for your in-house solution.

      Unfortunately Mr. Schmidt is right, and you cannot fight the tide of change. So, swallow your pride and step into the new world with the rest of the market.

    • by Lennie ( 16154 )

      That is why you should seperate the data from the application and store the data encrypted or on a server/system you own.

      Some open source projects exist to create that split (protocols and code).

      Just have a look at for example this project:

      http://www.unhosted.org/ [unhosted.org]

    • No company worth their salt will put all the company data "on the cloud" No way in HELL is my customer DB and accounting DB going on the cloud.

      Whats funny about this is plenty have and I work at a company who is migrating their email servers to gmail.

      The question came up: in terms of privacy, security etc - could we honestly say that we as a company were better than Google at securing and backing up our data? Before you answer that: Google has had less breakins per connection than any other company on the p

    • by dbIII ( 701233 )
      My payroll already is despite nobody in the IT section hearing about it until the payslips kept getting blocked by spam filters because the idiots spoofed our email domain name from their "cloud" server to "personalise" them. It doesn't pay to underestimate the stupidity of accountants when left unsupervised.
      The hard sell involves the salesfolk insisting that anybody that knows anything about computers is kept out of the loop with the line that we will all oppose it because we fear for our jobs. This mean
    • No company worth their salt will put all the company data "on the cloud" No way in HELL is my customer DB and accounting DB going on the cloud.

      A cloud is a logical construct, not a physical one. It's a collection of physical hardware that's been abstracted away to provide a clean and consistent interface independent of the actual hardware it lives on. Sound familiar?

      Do you run a Citrix farm? That's a cloud.

      Do you run a VMWare cluster? That's a cloud.

      Nobody said the cloud had to belong to somebody else, or had to be public. Plenty of companies are running their own internal clouds.

  • Direct link (Score:5, Informative)

    by jaymz2k4 ( 790806 ) <jaymz@@@jaymz...eu> on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @09:39AM (#36307442) Homepage
    The posted url now 410's. here's a link [pcmag.com] to the article on PC mag and the wired source [wired.com] too...
  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @09:42AM (#36307488)

    Before it was thin clients. Then thick clients. Then outsourcing. Then mobile devices. Then tablets. Now cloud services.

    Who exactly is going to manage all your cloud based servers? Do these guys really expect some $8/hr amazon support monkey to manage your linux patches, fix bugs, write scripts, install applications, customize applications, etc.

    If the cloud does anything, it just moves your server room to a different room off-site. You still need IT to make it do anything useful.

    • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:12AM (#36307826) Homepage Journal

      I think what he means is that it's the death of IT in America.

      I mean, with virtualization, "cloud" services can allow your admins to be in a cheaper country, like India. Since you never get to touch your hardware, your admins don't need to touch the hardware anymore either.

      It's yet another way for management to increase profitability by lowering costs by firing everyone except themselves, who all get big fat bonuses.

      What the "cloud" really provides is yet another way to make the rich richer, and everyone else poorer.

      Never mind that they are handing the crown jewels over to a bunch of people, who, should the shit hit the fan, are more than happy to steal all that data and keep it for themselves, leaving their rich corporate masters with nothing.

      It's akin to giving the serfs all the weapons to protect the castle, and then the king thinking he's somehow safe even though no guards are loyal to him.

      Greed has truly fucked up this country. We're going to find, in less than a decade, that we've given away everything that made this nation great, and we'll be left with very little to show for it. Rome was smarter than we were.

      • Yeah, that just outsourcing. It didn't work when they tried selling it to us as the solution for everything about 10 years ago and I don't see why its suddenly going to work now.

        • True. However, Cloud services do have their benefits when you integrate them with disaster recovery. I guess just about any large corporation is already "cloud-based," more or less. The SharePoint farm is a cloud, virtual folders are a cloud, etc. I don't see why the sky is suddenly going to fall.
      • It's yet another way for management to increase profitability by lowering costs by firing everyone except themselves, who all get big fat bonuses.

        So, what is your solution for increasing productivity? Giving everyone meaningless jobs like TSA Agents groping and feeling their way to a pay check offering no real service or product?

        It is easy to parrot the left wing rant, but it is much harder to actually give a solution to the problem. However, if what you're talking about is selling the goose that lays the g

        • I think we all know how to increase long-term productivity. It's increasing the short-term that is the problem; too much of it is going on to the detriment of the long term.

        • You're confusing a practical issue for a political one. Once you've outsourced all the actual work to another country, trained their locals how to do whatever it is you do and only keeping the management on shore; why would they need you anymore? Those workers will quit, start their own companies with the skills you taught them and compete against you.

          This is what happens to many companies that outsource to China. The reason that knockoffs are so pervasive is that the very factories that make their own stuf

      • Never mind that they are handing the crown jewels over to a bunch of people, who, should the shit hit the fan, are more than happy to steal all that data and keep it for themselves, leaving their rich corporate masters with nothing.

        Encrypt everything and don't let your provider ever touch your private key. Doing it any other way is just asking for data theft.

      • Rome was smarter than we were.

        Perhaps at the beginning, certainly not at the end. Sooner or later someone will "cross the Rubicon"...

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        It's yet another way for management to increase profitability by lowering costs by firing everyone except themselves, who all get big fat bonuses.

        And hiring a bunch of Indians. But who cares about those, amirite?

    • Do these guys really expect some $8/hr amazon support monkey to manage your linux patches, fix bugs, write scripts, install applications, customize applications, etc.

      That's the idea. Attempts to implement it just keep failing.

  • Why did they fail? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lxs ( 131946 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @09:46AM (#36307544)

    More specifically: why does he believe that everything on the entire Internet needs to be governed by Google? Not even Ballmer or teh Jobs are that megalomaniacal.

  • Just like every retarded social networking fad before it, and every one which will come after it which lulls people into giving up their privacy for a pittance, there is nothing that a respectable company should WANT to "counter" "with their own".

    It is sad to see that Schmidt has fallen so far to lose sight of his own company's egalitarian mantra: "Do no evil". He now only sees the evil, and he covets it, like Gollum covets the One Ring.

    • And why should every stupid fad taking over the collective time-wasting be jumped on by every company, why would we need a counter-Facebook? Seriously, how many "social networks" are there now? How about companies stick to what they do and stop trying to take over every goddamn market there is? Yeah, in my dreams...
    • How is Google any different from Facebook? It makes money in exactly the same way, through ads which are targeted by the information you enter in your searches, emails, etc.

      • by sstamps ( 39313 )

        Not from me it doesn't. I block all ads, I don't use gmail, and my searches are for things which aren't generally very targetable for advertisements, and not traceable back to me.

    • I keep telling them, Tolkien Ring will be the death of the network as we know it!
  • Shouldn't change IT. Putting important company data on the web with access via a simple l/p violates any decent IT security policy, and most bad ones. But say it does happen, all it means is that everyone will need to become a network engineer, since even if they don't need local server administrators, they'll still need network folks to maintain the network that has to be on the ground locally.
    • Major companies do this, securely, all the time. As another poster pointed out, take a look at salesforce customers.

      Are local admins still needed? I could show you several brokerage houses that do not have an on-site IT staff. They just contract with Dell or HP for their desktop support.

      Yes, I think it's fair to say that this is changing IT. Not that long ago, the accounting, payroll, etc. were on a machine within the facility, and everybody who worked on the system worked at that facility. Now the company

    • Cloud is not the Web first of all. No one is saying you will be putting your data on some website where anyone can potentially access it, nor is anyone saying your data will not be transferred through secure communication channel (most enterprises I know of have VPN access where employees remotely access data through secure channels, so in effect the company headquarters are acting as "the cloud"), nor is anyone saying your data will be stored unencrypted on the cloud.

      But if you are a small company, let
  • by otis wildflower ( 4889 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @10:13AM (#36307840) Homepage

    Dodgeball was Twitter before Twitter.. Google bought it and fucking squandered it, stupidity of a Microsoftian degree.

    I can't wait to see Facebook melt down though, too scamilicious to IPO in the US lol...

  • Google went about social networking all wrong. With Buzz, the idea is to build a network of contacts, and post updates to them. As Facebook has shown us, social networking is really all about recommending "friends" you've never met, showing how many thousand people think they might know you from somewhere, and bombarding users with trivial accomplishments in thoughtless games.

    Social networking isn't about being social. It's about filling bars [penny-arcade.com].

  • I am happy to see someone like Google stating this clearly, but isn't that a bit hypocritical ? They started this all and promote gmail and Google Documents
  • Shit, I don't know how to score higher. Do I go with "OH NOES! The'yre goez my sallarie" or "Thank fuck! Now I can get a real job."


    Or do I just settle for "Fucker's about my age, said something which made sense, forgot to turn his filters on just like me, it's not the end of the world as we know it"? Oh, and "Give me a billion dollars for being the newest sensible pundit". Fuck, Taco was a billionaire for about 30 minutes and felt the need to write about it here.

  • http://www.pdfernhout.net/a-rant-on-financial-obesity-and-Project-Virgle.html [pdfernhout.net]
    "Look at Project Virgle and "An Open Source Planet":
            http://www.google.com/virgle/opensource.html [google.com]
    Even just in jest some of the most financially obese people on the planet (who have built their company with thousands of servers all running GNU/Linux free software) apparently could not see any other possibility but seriously becoming even more financially obese off the free work of others on another planet (as well as saddling others with financial obesity too :-). And that jest came almost half a *century* after the "Triple Revolution" letter of 1964 about the growing disconnect between effort and productivity (or work and financial fitness):
            http://www.educationanddemocracy.org/FSCfiles/C_CC2a_TripleRevolution.htm [educationa...ocracy.org]
    Even not having completed their PhDs, the top Google-ites may well take many more *decades* to shake off that ideological discipline. I know it took me decades (and I am still only part way there. :-) As with my mother, no doubt Googlers have lived through periods of scarcity of money relative to their needs to survive or be independent scholars or effective agents of change. Is it any wonder they probably think being financially obese is a *good* thing, not an indication of either personal or societal pathology? :-( "

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Wednesday June 01, 2011 @12:06PM (#36309164) Homepage

    "Social" isn't Google's problem. Mobile is.

    Google revenue for 2010 was $29 billion. Facebook revenue was $1.86 billion. If Google was as successful in "social" as Facebook, it would barely affect their bottom line. "Social" just isn't that big a business.

    There are bigger businesses where Google missed out - in telephony, music sales, and movie sales. The ones where Apple is making money. Apple revenue for 2010 was $63.5 billion. That's where Schmidt failed.

    Google is trying to figure out how to monetize Android, but so far, not with great success. Apple has been very successful in using the iPhone to create a direct connection between the user's wallet and Apple's bank accounts. Google tries to do that, but not as profitably.

    Meanwhile, while ordering their people to focus on "social", Google is having problems in their core business - search. Back in Q3 2010, they merged Google Places results into web search, not realizing how easily Places could be spammed. That backfired and got them some bad press. Then there was the Demand Media content farm problem and the J.C. Penny link farm embarrassment. The press then caught onto the fact that Google isn't very good at stopping web spam, "black-hat" SEO started to go mainstream, and Blekko, with their strong anti-spam policies, started to gain traction. Now the FDA and the Justice Department are investigating Google for knowingly running ads for sleazy offshore pharmacy operations. Google may have to pay $500 million in fines.

    That's a classic big-company mistake - failing to run the cash cow properly, while management is distracted with the shiny new stuff.

  • I was an early Gmail adopter, and it quickly became my defacto-standard email address; thus it became the real-world link to my online identity. But it is absolutely astonishing to me how completely and utterly Google has dropped the ball with regards to social media. Not had dropped the ball... has dropped the ball, present-tense. Because it's still dropped. And yet they keep coming up with over-engineered solutions to what is a ludicrously simple problem (Buzz? Seriously?)

    All Google had to do was give me a fucking homepage and a fucking textarea to jot down quick status updates, and voilà!--Facebook is dead in a month. No asinine games, no privacy-stealing bullshit, no invites to time-wasters, no childish crap. Just a public frontpage tied to my Gmail address. This is so simple... and they can still do it! Yet they continue to keep looking for the Rube Goldberg solutions.

    But the craziest thing is this: every Gmail account already has a public account page! They've already done most of the work! So how do you get to it? Let's fire up Google [google.com] and take a look.

    Hmm... could it be this prominent iGoogle link at the top-right next to my username? NOPE. All that does it take me to a half-baked late-90s "dashboard" where I can add "gadgets" to spice up the Google homepage. Except I already have a smart phone and a desktop computer and
    they ALL want to be my primary "dashboard"... I don't need the beautifully simple Google homepage to be sullied with more fucking weather apps.

    So where could this link be if it's not in the "logged in" area of the top navigation? Well, it's not one of the primary menu bar links (Web | Images | Videos | Maps | News | Shopping | Gmail | more...) Maybe under "MORE"? Let's see... Translate, Books, Docs, Finance, Scholar, Calendar, YouTube... holy crap they've got everything under the sun, but no public account page. How about under the EVEN MORE link? You know, the link that opens up a separate page with dozens of Google-related projects? NOPE.

    The nearly invisible way to get to your public account page?
    1. Log in to your Google account
    2. Add /account [google.com] to the URL
    And there you go.


    And notice how the top-right menu has changed? Now instead of the lame iGoogle link, we've got a My Account link.


    So they've already got an account page. Just put a TEXTAREA on top and show the last 5 posts and you're DONE. DONE. That's the END OF FACEBOOK. That's all you have to do, guys! Christ almighty it's so infuriating I have to stop typing so I can mop up all the frothing spittle.

Someday your prints will come. -- Kodak