That set of work by Niels [Google security specialist Niels Provos] and others is a really great scientific advance toward understanding what the world looks like. And in fact the coverage of that line of work is part of what led us to step over the curb and start the Google security blog. Because some of the coverage in the [press], Dr. Provos found misleading. He actually got so energized about it that he came to Barry, [Google spokesman Barry Schnitt] and said "I want to start a malware blog." And Barry said why don't we just do this security blog. We'd been talking about it forever, we just never got around to doing it. So we had a long internal conversation and our initial worry was we wanted to be transparent and engage our users in a discussion about security, but we didn't want to have one posting and have the thing die. We want to have an ongoing discussion.
IDGNS: Does Google ever think of security as something it could turn into a product?
Merrill: In some sense, the answer is clearly "Yes," because part of Checkout is a security product. But fundamentally, we are a search company. We do search. We want to do things that make users feel safe and secure on the Internet to do searches. I have no idea what we'll do in the future. I don't have a crystal ball. But we're a search company, and what we want to do is help people be able to do searches and learn things and make all the world's information universally accessible and useful. And part of being useful is being secure.
IDGNS: Niels Provos was quoted recently as saying that the firewall is dead. What are your thoughts on that?
Merrill: Niels's point was that, increasingly, business technology and enterprise technology can't be separated from the Internet and can't be separated from what consumers do. And businesses, increasingly, are using partnerships to get things done. Increasingly when I go off and I give discussions to other CIOs, what we talk about is the consumerizaiton of enterprise technology. The increasing integration of consumer technology into the enterprise space. So what Niels was talking about was that, this idea that you can't live your whole life behind one set of walls anymore. Everything that your employees do every day will include stuff they do at home, stuff that other companies have done.