Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt on Wednesday detailed his theory of competition in the Web industry while saying Google's famous mantra of "Don't be evil" is often misunderstood.
In an on-stage interview with writer Ken Auletta of the New Yorker magazine, Schmidt said "Don't be evil" is meant to provoke internal debate over what constitutes ethical corporate behavior, rather than representing an absolute moral position.
"We don't have an 'Evilmeter' we can sort of apply—you know—what is good and what is evil," Schmidt said before an audience of media industry professionals at an event sponsored by Syracuse University's Newhouse School in San Francisco.
On other fronts, Schmidt said Google was taking a patient view to making money from online video advertising, while it sees mobile phones attracting the most lucrative ad rates.
Google is moving to transform YouTube, its popular online video-sharing site, into a money-maker via new forms of advertising it will unveil over the next year, Schmidt said.
He was cautious about how profitable this might prove to be. For now, YouTube's video traffic consumes the majority of Google's outgoing network bandwidth. But he said it could possibly lead to the "creation of a whole new industry."
"We don't yet know how we are going to make significant amounts of money on YouTube," Schmidt said. "But it seems obvious that we should be able to make some money from this."
His optimism is based on two key facts: "We know people are watching it" and "We have the luxury of time to invest."
Speaking of the emerging market for Web-based advertising on mobile phones, Schmidt said the vast majority of Google searches on mobile phones were done on Apple's year-old iPhones, which prominently feature a Web browser.
"Mobile looks like it will ultimately be the highest of ad rates," because ads can be targeted by user location, he said.