Is it privacy or economics?
One of the most intriguing stories about the Internet isn't how much wealth it's created, but rather its impact on society.
"The Internet has changed everything," said Schmidt, who held a small session Wednesday with a couple dozen journalists after he was interviewed on stage by search guru Danny Sullivan at the Search Engine Strategies conference in San Jose, Calif. Schmidt went on to describe how the Internet has obviously improved access to information and the empowerment it's given many, including the press, to gather that knowledge. But the "development to me that's most interesting is the social networks as online lifestyles. That's a really new phenomenon," he said. It's a phenomenon on scale with the rapid-fire adoption of instant messaging, he added. "It's [social networks] a big deal." Indeed, his words are backed by his actions. On Monday, Google announced that it is paying $900 million to be the exclusive search engine of MySpace along with News Corp's other Net properties. What fascinates me about this deal is the potential to take search history data and marry it with personal data, such as what we like and dislike, who we like and dislike, and basically what makes us tick. "We do not link," said Schmidt, adamantly. "We try to do things with user permission," he added.
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