Schmidt: I Caused ‘Social Problem'

In a candid interview, Google chairman Eric Schmidt admitted Tuesday that it was largely his fault that the search engine had its current "social problem" or lack of a social network.

"I clearly knew that I had to do something, and I failed to do it,” Schmidt told the audience at the D: All Things Digital conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. “A CEO should take responsibility. I screwed up.”

Schmidt talked about how Google tried partnering with Facebook on search but was edged out by Microsoft. Now, Schmidt laments that "such a fundamental service wouldn’t be owned by a single company. I think the industry would benefit from an alternative to that."

But is that alternative Google's recent +1, an attempt to compete with Facebook's ubiquitous "Like"? Unlike Facebook, Google doesn't have a social network where users can see what their friends found interesting or what they liked -- so how is this going to compete exactly? Sure the +1 has some partner websites (Mashable, TechCrunch, The Washington Post, to name a few) and its own properties like Android Market and YouTube, but most of the +1s will be visible on Google's search function, according to the Official Google Blog.

A look at today's Mashable story touting the new +1, and we saw three friends "Liked" it and  514,508 others on Facebook did, too, all figuring prominently in the upper right corner. On the left upper corner, we saw the story garnered 625 tweets, and other information from Tumblr and StumbleUpon, but we didn't see anything telling us who gave the story a +1 or even a Google placeholder.

If Google wants to compete with Facebook, it better work on creating a better and more potent presence.

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