Tech bloggers, pundits, and critics the world over were saddened Thursday to hear that Eric Schmidt will be stepping down as Google's Chief Executive Officer. Google Founder Larry Page will now run the company's day-to-day operations, and Schmidt will retain an advisory role as executive chairman.
So why is the media sad over Schmidt's job change? No, it's not because he oversaw the company's impressive growth from $86 million in revenues in 2001 to nearly $30 billion in 2010. Nor is it because during his watch Google rose from a popular search engine to a dominant player in online video and mobile devices and is now stretching out to computers and Internet TV. The tech media is mourning the end of an era, because of Schmidt's uncanny ability to provide some of the most memorable, bizarre, and scary quotes from a sitting corporate chief.
Here's a look back at some of the best one-liners of Eric Schmidt, Google CEO 2001-2011.
In October, CNN questioned Schmidt about privacy issues relating to Google's Street View cars photographing private homes and displaying them online.
Schmidt offered this solution to safeguard the privacy of those concerned: "With Street View, we drive by exactly once, so you can just move." Schmidt later told Computerworld that he misspoke.
Google The Taskmaster
"I actually think most people don't want Google to answer their questions, Schmidt told The Wall Street Journal in August. "They want Google to tell them what they should be doing next."
Change Your Name
During the same interview with the Journal, Schmidt also predicted that in the future young people would be entitled to change their name once they reach adulthood.
The idea is that by changing your name, you could erase any embarrassing events from your misspent youth that may pop up online. He later told Stephen Colbert he was joking.
The funny thing is some people really are changing their names to hide embarrassing or controversial things from popping up on Google. Check out NPR's On The Media's coverage of one person's name funeral.
We Know Who You Are
August was a busy month for Schmidt. Before sitting down with the Journal, Schmidt was crossing the creepy line while speaking at the Techonomy conference in Lake Tahoe.
"If I look at enough of your messaging and your location, and use Artificial Intelligence," Schmidt said, "we can predict where you are going to go," he said memorably.
Another highlight: "Show us 14 photos of yourself and we can identify who you are. You think you don't have 14 photos of yourself on the Internet?"
During the Abu Dhabit Media Summit in March 2010, Schmidt talked about Google's all-powerful computing prowess, according to Fortune.
"One day we had a conversation where we figured we could just try to predict the stock market," Schmidt said. "And then we decided it was illegal. So we stopped doing that."
You Shouldn't Do That
In December 2009, Schmidt issued his most famous gaffe after CNBC asked the former Google chief about online privacy.
"If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place," he said. Schmidt caught heat for that one from digital advocacy group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
So long, Eric. We'll miss you, but since you're staying on as executive chairman please try to schedule a press conference every once in awhile, would you?