By Martin Kelly

Google CEO and Chairman, Eric Schmidt last week declared that the famously secretive company is trying hard to become more transparent.

But don’t expect this to happen overnight.

Schmidt made it clear at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose that Google takes competitive advantage very seriously and will not do anything that remotely compromises its position.

As for advertisers, “we’re trying to find ways we can give (more) information to advertisers that is truthful and accurate.”

This will take time, he said.

Meanwhile, Schmidt admitted that click fraud – where companies repeatedly click on the ads of their competition in a bid to send them broke – is “a very serious problem” but one “I believe we have under control”.

His comments come on the heels of a report by Google in which it says the amount of click fraud has been over estimated by sections of the industry.

In a 45 minute interview, he also said that Google – for all its reach, ambition, new deals and innovations – will not stray far from its core mission.

“Our fundamental goal is to provide the most accurate search result,” Schmidt said.

At present the number of quality links a website has is major factor in determining page ranking and Mr Schmidt said Google is investigating additional methodology.

“We are investigating various ways of improving search beyond links but I can’t discuss that – it is highly proprietary information.”

In terms of product innovation: “The test we apply is not whether we think the product is great but whether it improves people’s online experience.”

He said competitors are only “one click away so we are trying to keep our customers happy by giving them choices and empowerment.”


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