Google’s Schmidt at Conde Nast Lunch Today

ericschmidt.jpgMicrosoft is not as much a threat to Google as Yahoo is. That’s one tidbit Google CEO Eric Schmidt shared during a luncheon interview for Conde Nast’s new business magazine Portfolio this afternoon at the Four Seasons here in NYC. One reason he said Yahoo makes for more direct competition is its “strong advertising network.” Commented Schmidt, “We always worry about Microsoft because of its history,” but “a lot depends on how each company executes.”

More on Microsoft

Speaking of history, Schmidt was asked by Portfolio Editor in Chief Joanne Lipman about an article he penned in ’96 for US News and World Report that apparently argued that Microsoft was “too big and too powerful.” Of course, the same fightin’ words have been flung at Google in recent years. Schmidt shifted in his seat a little at, but ultimately defended Google, saying that his firm is different from Microsoft in its efforts to push partnerships and share revenues with other companies.

On the Up-and-Coming GBuy Online Payment Product

Schmidt lamented the fact that the press has made this out to be a quest to conquer PayPal. “It’s not like PayPal at all,” he explained, noting that their new system will not be aimed at consumers, but at advertisers. Although it appears as though the new system will benefit advertisers by displaying a GBuy symbol in search results (thus designating them as trusted merchants), consumers will still be using GBuy as a payment system. Of course, PayPal hasn’t made major inroads when it comes to getting online merchants to accept PayPal in lieu of credit card payments.

Later, Schmidt added in reference to PayPal, “It makes no sense for us to go into businesses that are occupied by an existing leader….Let’s solve a new problem.”

On the Print Ad Network

Schmidt said the firm has recently begun a new test, mainly of magazine placements, commenting that it’s easier to work with magazines than newspapers because they have a longer, more manageable planning cycle.

On GoogleBase

Schmidt said GoogleBase will “ultimately become part of Google.com.” The discussion of the Craigslist-esque offering came up after Dorian Benkoil, editorial director of mediabistro.com, asked how Google jibes its objective to “do no evil” with the fact that a product like GoogleBase “could end up destroying your industry” if you work for a publication that sells classified ads. Schmidt’s response: “Our primary focus is on benefiting the end user.”

On the Online Ad Industry

Schmidt predicted that the online ad industry could grow a lot more quickly than it has been, particularly because new advertiser categories entering the market will boost growth.

On Google’s Future

“The way to think about the future is to imagine much larger indices, a lot more information and a lot more personal[ization].”

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