He might be stepping down from the post as chief executive officer this April, but Google head Eric Schmidt has no intention of resting on any laurels. US publishers are currently battling each other to secure the rights to the first book from the technology innovator, whose tome is promised to be of the ‘wonky’ kind, according to Crains.
‘Empire of the mind: The dawn of the techno-political age’ is the ambitious title for the book, which will focus on how technology poses a challenge to authoritarian regimes. The topic is especially timely right now, with the Egypt internet blackout being a stark reminder of how a threatened government can react to the medium used to mobilise the opposition.
While the influence of the internet can be a positive element in such situations, Google is also unafraid to assert itself in situations where its influence is a less straightforward matter. Schmidt is no stranger to challenging publishers and competition authorities asserting their rights over Google Books. The CEO also managed to shock the public by pointing out that those who felt intruded by images of their houses on Google Earth were free to move.
Schmidt will stay on as executive chairman of Google, where he will focus on the big-picture themes in the technology space. His co-author on the project will be Jared Cohen, the 29-year-old director of the Google Ideas think tank. It remains to be see whether the two will be proven right in their technology divination, but looking back at Google’s role in shaping our technology present, it should make for a fascinating read.