Google CEO Schmidt Admits Social Media Mistake
December 31, 2013

Google CEO Schmidt Admits To Social Media Misstep

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Like many people, Google CEO Eric Schmidt took time at the end of the calendar year to self-reflect, and in an interview with Bloomberg TV the internet billionaire said he regretted how his company failed to seize on the social media phenomenon, ceding much of that ground to Facebook.

“The biggest mistake that I made was not anticipating the rise of the social networking phenomenon — not a mistake we’re going to make again,” Schmidt said. “I guess, in our defense, we were busy working on many other things. But we should have been in that area, and I take responsibility for that.”

While Google’s social networking site Google+ counts 300 million users, it pales in comparison to Facebook’s nearly 1 billion users.

Schmidt also noted in the Bloomberg interview that mobile computing had essentially defeated home computing as the go-to platform for users. The Google boss added that the ubiquity of mobile computing has allowed businesses to learn more about their customers.

"The trend has been that mobile was winning, it's now won," he said. "There are more tablets and phones being sold than personal computers, people are moving to this new architecture very fast."

In addition to admitting a 2013 misstep, Schmidt made a 2014 prediction that genetics and genetic information would be a ‘wild card’ for fuel innovations in the coming year.

“The biggest disruption that we don’t really know what’s gonna happen is probably in the genetics area,” Schmidt said. “The ability to have personal genetics records and ability to start gathering all of the gene sequencing into places will yield discoveries in cancer treatment and diagnostics over the next year that are unfathomably important.”

The genomics industry has seen heavy criticism and a few roadblocks to progress over the past year. Earlier this month, genomics company 23andme stopped selling its at-home DNA testing kit after it received an official warning from the Food and Drug Administration.

Founded in 2006 by Anne Wojcicki, the recently separated wife of Google co-founder Sergy Brin, 23andMe had offered a DNA test kit for $99 that is supposed to identify an array of genetic markers for disease. Using human saliva samples, the kit is supposed to allow users to find out about their health risks based on their genetic information.

In its warning letter, the FDA said because the product “is intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease, or is intended to affect the structure or function of the body,” it falls under a certain regulatory purview that has yet to be met.

The FDA also noted that certain test results, like a false positive for ovarian cancer, could have potentially disastrous results. Conversely, a false negative for ovarian cancer could provide a false sense of security.

The discontinuation of the sales also came after a class action lawsuit was filed in US district court of California in late November. The lawsuit alleged that the company’s advertisements are misleading.