back to article Schmidt: 'Google doesn't do data mining'

Google boss Eric Schmidt has claimed that his company doesn't "do data mining." But this may be some sort of joke. Schmidt was speaking on The Colbert Report, the famously satirical US current-affairs show, and apparently, even when he's speaking with The Wall Street Journal, there's no way of knowing whether he's earnest, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    guess i need to change my string again

    yep, sure do.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      String changing

      Time of the month?..

  2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  3. Alastair 7

    I was at the filming

    Schmidt seemed somewhat nervous before the interview started- maybe he's always like that, I don't know. I don't think any extra questions were asked that didn't air, but it was interesting to see the term 'data mining' brought up. I don't think the vast majority of people really know what it means.

    1. Joe Harrison

      No I don't think he's always like that

      I was at a party with him once when he worked at Novell. There was a bit of live entertainment including a knife-thrower who picked out Schmidt as a victim. I didn't think he'd go along with it (I wouldn't have!) but he seemed perfectly calm having knives chucked at him. So doesn't seem the nervous type to me.

  4. Evil Auditor


    Who cares whether Eric Schmidt was joking about those issues. We all know that Google doesn't do evil! so why bother about its CEO trying to be funny (or not)?

  5. blackworx

    We don't go data mining

    Oh no, we go data spelunking. We just happen to take heavy mining gear with us.

  6. Paul M 1

    Imagine one of those cool titles here

    Regarding Web anonymity...

    There is none. The Web, by design is a public place just like a city street. You want to stop people seeing your PIN as you tap it into an ATM - you shield the keypad.

    Please stop complaining about impossible expectations.

    1. Paul M 1

      Take 2

      It's funny when people down vote things they don't like. Doesn't stop it being true though...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        The web is a public place just like the street. Fair enough. Would you, however, think it was reasonable if a company recorded everthing you did from your leaving the house in the morning to entering it a again in the evening? And kept all that data and used it for whatever they wanted without your consent? Would it even be legal?

      2. Evil Auditor

        @Paul M 1

        Yes, but more than that people down (or up) vote on comments which have been down (or up) voted before. "i've got no clue what these words mean but hey, others thought it was rubbish so it must be rubbish..."

        Btw, in certain places with scarce resources, such as Iceland, sheep do not herd but roam the land in small groups of three. Does that mean sheep are better than people?

  7. The Other Steve

    Google Is Not Your Friend

    Unless you are an advertiser, you are not their customer, nor even their user, you are their product.

  8. Annihilator Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    "we forget your searches after a while"

    The OED has been updated to reflect that "a while" means "when we lose interest and not before"

  9. Jonjonz
    Jobs Horns

    Tyrants are like that

    People who buy and sell 99% of the population are like that. Quite mad, quite in control, quite evil.

  10. Chris Hatfield

    Stephen Colbert is genius

    I download this show & The Daily Show everyday here in the UK. The guys is hiliarous!

    The Colbert persona didn't go soft on Schmidt at all. He did it in a very funny way. I loved the way he took the piss out of him for pulling out of China, but only after 4 years!

    It's a must watch. I'd link to the official page on, but the videos are country blocked to the UK.

    One can just go to and search for 'Colbert Report'. As it's so popular there are usually always several hundred 'seeders' for the previous day's show.

    [One can also buy it from iTunes - it's what I may or may not do]

    1. George of the Jungle
      Thumb Up

      Best on the TV

      Colbert and the "Daily Show" are the only 2 shows I watch regularly any more. If you want to figure out what really goes on inside the US, these are the news shows to watch. (Yes, I know they are satire, but they get right to the point, unlike the network or cable news in the US.)

  11. scrubber

    No Data Mining

    Google are merely great data dowsers.

  12. AndyS


    What's with them using the word "Americans" to mean "people?"

  13. Bill Coleman
    Big Brother

    I think the point was really "What Data?"

    in context, I can only surmise that he was referring to the mining of personal data gathered from the activities of google users, as opposed to mining their vast uber-gigs of cached internet crawling bots. Which is why it became a conversation about search math parameters. I guess what he was saying is that all your yummy user cookie data that are belong to Schmidt doesn't get mined. whatevs, the other one has bells on...

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Upton Sinclair was right

    No mans ignorance is so great as when his livelihood depends on being ignorant.

    I've got to see this guy's interview style. Can anyone be as creepy as he sounds?

    BTW The page down "feature" is *really* irritating. If I wanted to go to the "register hardware" button I would click on it.

  15. BritBloke

    are you sure???

    So, you don't do data mining? Care to explain this Eric?

  16. ZenCoder

    Maybe society will become more laid back and less judgemental.

    The problem isn't really with the behavior. There is no social penalty for privately revealing the incredibly stupid things we did in college or even last weekend. The penalty is for publicly revelation.

    When viewed as individuals interacting with a static culture .. yes the moron with the public photo gallery of beer pong exploits, projectile vomiting might not get hired. Even though the interviewer will fondly reminisce about the time he got drunk and urinated on those police cars when he was that age.

    However the real situation is that we are dealing with an entire generation and a dynamic culture. Instead of ruining everyone's reputations and job prospects, their behavior is going to alter societal expectations.

    A shift will happen and instead of them being moron's, we'll all be uptight grumpy old people out of touch with popular culture.

  17. Asgard

    @Google boss Eric Schmidt has claimed that his company doesn't "do data mining."

    So Google don't data mine?!, so WTF does he think all the servers are doing, that his company keeps buying!. Plus where does he think all the servers get their data to process?!

    Its completely beyond all credibility that the guy doesn't know his company data mines. Therefore it is simply an outright blatant lie on his part. I'm sure he lies because he fears governments around the world will force regulation on Google if he keeps implying his company is spying on everyone, so now he doesn't even want to admit its data mining.

    So Google don't do data mining; we will have to add that one to the growing list of Google doublespeak. Plus the Google newspeak for data mining is now “PageRanking”. WTF!

    He comes across as the kind of utterly two faced guy who would say black is white if he thought he could earn more money from it.

    As for when he is joking or not, that's all part of the two faced duplicity game. If he gets pressure on something he says, then he can pass it off as just a joke. If there is no pressure then he can keep moving forward.

    Plus as its so blatantly obvious he outright lies to even simple questions like this, then I don't expect the truth from him when asked serious deeper questions about the overall increasingly Orwellian goals of Google.

    Its very disturbing we have such a two faced Machiavellian guy in control of the most Orwellian company in world history!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Have you considered

      The possibility that they might only do it *by accident*?

      1. Kevin Fields

        By accident?

        You mean like with that wifi snooping thing they did "by accident"?

        Across three continents, that is?

  18. Andrew Baines Silver badge

    Just don't use google - private search

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Schmidt is an idiot.

    Sadly he is also a disposable idiot - when he shoots his mouth once too often, Google will simply get rid of him and carry on.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. The Other Steve


      I take it you haven't seen Google's new prediction API then ? Cloud based machine learning on large data sets ?

  21. Deadly_NZ

    Yep and Pigs dont fly as well

    Just be thankful that Elephants cant

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Oh FFS this is what kids and stupid people say when they realize they've said something stupid. It means either "oops I think I've made myself look stupid", "or oops I didn't mean to let everybody know I think that" or "oops I think I might get kicked in the stones for that", or other variations on the same theme.

    Saying "I was joking" does not excuse something you said. The likes of Schidt, however, seem to thinkg that saying "I was joking" should erase their remark from history. The funny thing is that it just makes me examine what they said all the more carefully.

    What sort of mind has he got that he thought that was funny? How naive does he think we are that we will forget or excuse what he said just because he says it was a joke? Is he just saying that because he's been advised that it was an idiotic thing to say? And so on.

  23. Avatar of They
    Thumb Up

    He is becoming like jobs

    Perhaps the global megacorps simply shouldn't have a CEO, everyone who gets to be one goes nuts. Gates, Ballmer, Schmidt, Zuckerberg and Jobs are all borderline insane and began to believe their own hype. Then again they are all American and of course live in a culture that bigs people up as part of the routine.

    You could also argue that perhaps madness is required to be leader of a global megacorp. Though I would argue the pressue of the job is the reason.

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