Google boss backtracks over Street View move gaffe
Published 27/10/2010 | 10:59
Eric Schmidt, the Google chief executive, has backtracked on claims that people could "move" if they did not want their house appearing on the controversial Street View service.
The boss of the internet search engine was forced to clarify his remarks, admitting he had "clearly misspoke" during the interview with CNN last week.
In the interview with the broadcaster's "Parker Spitzer" programme, Mr Schmidt spoke of the criticism levelled at his company amid a row over its privacy stance.
He told the programme: "Street View, we drive exactly once. So, you can just move, right?"
Despite the comments being cut from the final programme, the quote leaked onto the internet, further fuelling criticism of the company and its stance to privacy.
The company was then forced to issue a statement, in which Mr Schmidt backtracked on the comments.
"As you can see from the unedited interview, my comments were made during a fairly long back and forth on privacy," he said in his statement issued via the company.
"I clearly misspoke. If you are worried about Street View and want your house removed please contact Google and we will remove it.”
A Google spokesman later said users could click on the "Report a problem" link on Street View, where they could ask for an image to be removed from the service.
Some US reports speculated that Google had asked for the comment to be edited out, a claim denied by the company and CNN.
"Producers routinely make editorial decisions about what sound bites to include in their shows," a CNN spokesman said.
"In this case, the clip was posted on cnn.com and disseminated to other media outlets and was widely available."
The gaffe, one of several from Mr Schmidt in recent times, comes amid a new row over privacy on Google's Street View service.
At the weekend The Sunday Telegraph disclosed that computer passwords and entire emails from households across the UK have been copied by Google, in a major privacy breach.
The company has admitted it downloaded personal data from wireless networks when its fleet of vehicles drove down residential roads taking photographs for its controversial Street View project.
Millions of internet users have potentially been affected.
Earlier this month, he told the Washington Ideas Forum: "We know where you are, we know where you've been, we can more or less know what you're thinking about."