The more the merrier in the e-mail space, says Eric Schmidt, who was speaking at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco on Monday. Addressing a small group of reporters after appearing as the opening speaker, Schmidt seemed a bit hesitant to take on the topic of Facebook's new messaging system, which was announced just down the street earlier in the day.
"More competition is always good because it makes the market larger," Schmidt said. "As a group, you all are focused on the competition rather than the market getting larger. It brings more people in. We are all served by having everybody in the world get online."
However, industry analysts have noted that Facebook's new system, which includes offering users a Facebook.com e-mail address, could take a bite out of Gmail's user base.
If Facebook goes on to beef up this new e-mail and messaging offering, some of the social network's 500 million users could jump Google's ship and align themselves with Facebook.
And Gmail is an integral part of Google's tool box of consumer and enterprise-based applications.
Schmidt declined to talk about Facebook or its new messaging system directly. "We're actually pretty happy with Gmail," he said. "Right now, it's all about its terrific, wonderful growth. People use Gmail because of its speed and its searchability. Its core design has been around speed and searchability."
"Gmail is doing very well. We're happy to have the market expand," Schmidt said.
'The Creepy Line' explained
Google's CEO was asked directly about a comment he was quoted as making last month at the Newseum. "There is what I call 'the creepy line,'" The Hill quoted Schmidt as saying. "The Google policy on a lot of things is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it."