October 26, 2010, 9:50 PM — Google CEO Eric Schmidt is getting a lot of attention lately, not so much for the company's ubiquitous search engine or any of the company's other products. It's more for what Schmidt has been saying about privacy.
To be clear, privacy is a heady and heated issue these days. Social networking site Facebook has found itself repeatedly in privacy hot water this year. And Google isn't fairing much better with its Street View service's drawing negative attention for posting images of people's homes for the world to see.
On Monday, for instance, Schmidt raised the latest privacy hubbub by saying that if people don't like having their homes photographed for Google Street View for the world to see, they can "just move." He made the comment during an interview on CNN .
"With Street View, we drive by exactly once so you can just move," said Schmidt, eliciting uncomfortable laughter from interviewer Kathleen Parker of the Parker Spitzer show. "The point is we only do it once. This is not a monitoring situation."
The Internet was immediately abuzz with blogs and stories about the statement, which Schmidt later said in an e-mail to Computerworld was a matter of misspeaking.
"All of the attention this has drawn isn't doing Google any good," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group. "Schmidt is hurting more than he is helping Google. His blunt statements defending Google raise the hackles of privacy advocates, regulators and users alike. He comes off as arrogant and dismissive much of the time, regardless of whether he's right or wrong."
The comment wasn't the first controversial remark Schmidt has made regarding privacy. Here are others: