Departing Google CEO Eric Schmidt was known for some of his bumbling public statements — like saying that privacy didn’t matter — but apparently he made some internal blunders as well.
One of the biggest: asking Google’s search team to remove information about a political donation from its search results.
According to a new book about Google by Steven Levy, Schmidt’s request was shot down by Google exec Sheryl Sandberg, who is now COO of Facebook. The book was reviewed this morning by the New York Times, which got an advance copy.
The fact he would make such a request at all is pretty amazing — especially since Google’s lawyers have said that the company never promotes or eliminates particular sites from search results, even when trying to fight spam. Earlier this month, Google engineer Matt Cutts contradicted this stance, basically admitting that Google can use “whitelists” to exclude certain sites from changes to the algorithm.
Schmidt stepped down as CEO yesterday, but remains with Google as executive chairman, and will oversee the company’s relationships with partners, customers, and government agencies.