Google PR

Google's CEO has a real PR problem

October 26, 2010: 12:38 PM ET

Eric Schmidt's comments, whether jokes or a postmodern vision, are coming off creepy...and that is bad for Google.

By and large, I enjoy listening to what Google's Eric Schmidt has to say.  I think he's refreshingly candid for a CEO of one of the world's most powerful and controversial companies.  He seems to genuinely enjoy discussion and debate about the future of his company and the technology world in which it operates.  That can be a real benefit to Google and the technology world.

But sometimes he says things that have to have Google's (GOOG) PR department cringing.  Take yesterday's conversation with CNN's Parker|Spitzer. In discussion, Kathleen Parker asked Schmidt about Google's knowledge of where she lived.  He responded, "Street View, we drive exactly once. So, you can just move, right?"  Ugh.

Here's the video 1:10 in (or on YouTube):

Eric Schmidt issued a statement in response to the popularity of the video: "As you can see from the unedited interview, my comments were made during a fairly long back and forth on privacy. I clearly misspoke. If you are worried about Street View and want your house removed please contact Google and we will remove it."

That may have been a joke or may have been alluding to the fact that Google Streetview cars come around just once, but it doesn't matter.  It comes off really bad to a populace already wary of Google's intrusion into their personal lives. Those same Google (GOOG) Streetview cars are causing concern for many because they picked up personal information from unencrypted routers.

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