At the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco Tuesday morning, Google CEO Eric Schmidt presented his company as everyone's friend, an enabler of communities and an amiable business partner rather than a would-be monopolist of advertising, online software, and user data.
Google's capacity for evil, or at least monopolistic dominance of the Internet, has long been a concern raised by competitors and pundits, not to mention human rights and privacy activists.
But Google is having to defend itself with renewed vigor following reports of anti-trust concerns raised by two former monopolies, AT&T and Microsoft, in the wake of Google's planned acquisition of DoubleClick.
In a public interview with John Battelle, co-chair of the Web 2.0 Expo and CEO of Federated Media Publishing, Schmidt explained his company's rationale for adding online presentation capabilities to Google Docs & Spreadsheets. "We've concluded that collaboration is the killer app for the way communities work," he said.
Schmidt denied that Google's Web-based productivity suite competed with Microsoft Office. Google Docs "does not have all the functionality, nor is it intended to have all the functionality, of Micorosoft Office," he said.