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Schmidt promises to get 'permission' before taking over our world

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MWC Eric Schmidt wants us to love the Earth more, and tells us that the more information we share with Google the easier that will be – all with our permission of course.

Google's CEO mentioned our permission nine times during his keynote presentation at the congress yesterday, almost every point made was bracketed with the assertion that Google would do nothing to interfere with our privacy, though the search giant would like to know when our pants are wearing out, among other things.

In the world of Eric Schmidt, and by extension Google, sharing information is always a good thing – when it comes to toppling dictatorial regimes or being told we should be buying new trousers; if we share all our personal information with Google then Google will look after our lives.

Computers, empowered by Google, will make us happier by releasing more spare time so we don't have to worry about when to buy trousers, while Google Translate will prevent wars by enabling cultural understanding.

But machine translation isn't a cultural exchange, only able to convey the most-basic of meanings even when it works. It will be a while before Android trickles down into the mass populace and enables Google to claim responsibility for a revolution. There's clearly some Facebook envy going on, but not enough to didn't stop Mr Schmidt making jokes about "Google Revolution Inc".

More usefully, Schmidt talked about the merger of Gingerbread (Android for handsets) and Honeycomb (Android for tablets) which will apparently come in the spring with the next Android version.

Google also demonstrated video editing on an Android-powered, Motorola Xoom, which got carefully name-checked half-a-dozen times during the presentation – the point being that Android tablets are about creating content, not consuming it, like some other tablets that didn't get mentioned.

Not that Google admits to competing with Apple, or Facebook – Microsoft is the competition, especially now that Nokia has chosen to align itself with Redmond. Eric Schmidt was clearly upset that Nokia hadn't embraced the Android platform, and Google's ideas about how it will make life better.

But despite promising to respect our privacy, and only track our habits for our own benefit, one is left with the feeling that letting Google further into our lives might not be such a good idea, even if it happens with our permission. ®

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