Asked by CNN about his company photographing people's homes for its "Street View" feature, Eric Schmidt said, "we drive exactly once. So you can just move, right?" When will Google's CEO stop saying frightening things awkwardly?
Schmidt's comment was very poorly timed, since it came right on the heels of revelations that Google Street View cars collected email and password data from home Wi-Fi networks as they drove around. It also seems to have been awkwardly framed; Schmidt might have been making a joke, according to Dow Jones Marketwatch, but no one can tell. Schmidt eventually laughed, but only after carrying on for a while longer with one of his interviewers, CNN's Kathleen Parker.
If he was kidding, this would be at least the second poorly delivered Schmidt joke that made headlines. The Google chief told Wall Street Journal editors that young people will eventually be allowed to change their names to escape their Google record. The editors thought Schmidt was "apparently serious," but Schmidt later said he was kidding. This time around, CNN appears to have given Schmidt quite a take-back: It declined to use the quote in the cable TV transmission of Parker's show and edited it out of the web video. Anyone want to bet what Google TV's favorite news network is going to be?
Update: Google released a statement the following day in which Schmidt said, " I clearly misspoke. If you are worried about Street View and want your house removed please contact Google and we will remove it." You can opt your house out of Street View here.