Google CEO Eric Schmidt stressed today that it is not Google's aim to violate users' privacy.
Schmidt's comments came during a keynote speech at this year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The privacy question has become an increasingly important one for Google, which has had to counter criticism that it is gathering too much user data.
During his speech, Schmidt stressed that any changes to Google's offerings would come only with the permission of its users. Concerns over privacy are set to increase as Google expands its reach into new markets and smartphone applications.
Google has a major stake in the smartphone market via its Android operating system. Schmidt said that the smartphones of the future would be able to monitor health conditions, better aid in purchase decisions, and act as extensions of human memories. Such improvements, he said, would only be added with the users' permission.
Schmidt also commented on the rise of Facebook, and whether Google was threatened by the social network. Facebook today appears to be additive, he said, referring to the trend of Facebook users also being regular users of Google. There's no evidence that Facebook advertising is hurting our business, he said.
Instead, Schmidt noted that it was Microsoft that posed the greatest current threat to the Google business, especially with its search engine, Bing. Citing Microsoft's strong advertisement model, brand reach, and cash scale, Schmidt said that Microsoft was the company's primary focus, not Facebook.
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