Amazon Prime Air (promo video 002)

Google chairman Erich Schmidt is definitely on a roll these days. He first posted a guide on how to convert from iPhone to Android which draw much ridicule in suggesting that the latest high-end phones from Samsung, Motorola and Google represent “a great Christmas present to an iPhone user” because these devices have “better screens, are faster and have a much more intuitive interface”.

Now, Schmidt’s attention turns to Amazon‘s conceptual sci-fi Prime Air service that will use miniature everyday drones to deliver packages at customers’ doorsteps. This, according to Schmidt, constitutes a serious violation of privacy because the drone technology can be used to spy on neighbors and record your private activities…

In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Schmidt contended these drones should be banned from private use because the technology has potential to “democratize the ability to fight war”:

You’re having a dispute with your neighbor. How would you feel if your neighbor went over and bought a commercial observation drone that they can launch from their back yard. It just flies over your house all day. How would you feel about it?

Can someone tell Schmidt that these drones have been selling for years?

He goes on arguing that armies should have drones, not citizens:

It’s got to be regulated. You just can’t imagine that British people would allow this sort of thing, and I can’t imagine American people would allow this sort of thing. It’s one thing for governments, who have some legitimacy in what they’re doing, but have other people doing it … It’s not going to happen.

Like anyone would trust their government with monitoring these things!

In an attempt to support his argument, Schmidt goes on to explain that he was in the room when Google’s leadership shot down a facial recognition service that would look up a person on the web based on a live video feed coming from a smartphone camera.

Eric Schmidt (Businessweek 004)
Image credit: Businessweek / Peg Korpinski.

The decision to kill the product was made because such highly advanced facial recognition could be used for stalking.

“We don’t want to be part of that as a company,” he said. “There are cases where facial recognition can be used, but they need to be fairly carefully boxed”.

According to The Verge, Amazon’s octocopters are capable of delivering packages up to five pounds up to ten miles from the nearest Amazon fulfillment center. The online retail giant showed off Prime Air in a recent test flight video, first shown in a 60 Minutes segment on Cyber Monday Eve.

Amazon said the use of unmanned aerial vehicles would allow its delivery system to get packages into customers’ hands in 30 minutes or less.

“Putting Prime Air into commercial use will take some number of years as we advance technology and wait for the necessary FAA rules and regulations,” the company stated.

So let me see if I get this straight: drones are bad, but Google’s self-driving cars are OK?

If I wanted to be cynical, I’d probably point out that Google violates people’s privacy every single day, amassing huge amounts of intelligence about online users so that it could sell you to advertisers at a premium.

Scroogled merchandizing (image 001)Scroogled merchandizing (image 002)
The Microsoft Store offers nice Scroogled merchandize to Google-paranoid families.

And what about Google Glass, which allows users to easily take images or even shoot live video feed straight to YouTube, for the whole world to see?

That doesn’t constitute a breach of privacy?

Or scanning my Gmail messages for keywords in order to inject relevant ads?

The extent of Google’s privacy breach became evident after the United States Federal Trade Commission fined the company in April 2012 for overriding Safari users’ privacy settings to continue tracking the activities of folks who opted-out of such tracking.

google tracking infographic

On top of the record-setting $22.5 million fine, Google also agreed to pay 37 U.S. states about $17 million to settle the Safari probe case. If I were Schmidt, I’d keep my mouth shut or at least hire a PR person to approve my public comments.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos indicated there will be a fleet of shipping drones taking the sky as soon as his company can work out the regulations and figure out how to prevent your packages from being dropped on your head from above. To that end, Schmidt’s comment on Amazon’s Prime Air reveals a hidden agenda of sorts.

I have no problem with Schmidt’s petulant attempts to try to come across as a selfless preacher and the guardian of customers’ privacy, I really don’t.

That being said, there really is no denying that the very virtue of Google’s multi-billion dollar advertising business is to collect personal data because its advertising service depends on amassing personal information and rich intelligence about online users.

But all of that is beyond the point.

What matters for our discussion is the indisputable fact that Google has recently started experimenting with same-day package delivery in urban areas with its Shopping service.

Moreover, 9to5Google learned back in February from “an extremely reliable source” that Google was already working on a new delivery service that would use – yes, miniature autonomous drones. The following month, the publication added that long-term plans involve “use self-driving cars and flying drones as means of delivery”.

Google Shopping Express 1.0 for iOS (Teaser 001)

The idea was born in the Google X incubator headed by co-founder Sergey Brin.

Both The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times said that the search giant in fact was planning to take on Amazon’s dominance in same-day delivery with its own service.

Coincidentally or not, Google recently put former Android head Andy Rubin in charge of a “moonshot” project to create a new generation of robots.

According to a New York Times article:

If Amazon can imagine delivering books by drones, is it too much to think that Google might be planning to one day have one of the robots hop off an automated Google Car and race to your doorstep to deliver a package?

Google has since acquired seven technology companies in the robotics space, with the specific goal of automating electronics assembly and compete with companies like Amazon in retailing, according to “several people with specific knowledge of the project”.

All of which exposes Schmidt’s rant on Amazon as an attempt to dampen the obvious excitement surrounding the innovative Prime Air delivery service. Worse, it indicates Google’s uneasiness with Amazon’s service.


  • chumawumba

    I have never heard anything more hypocritical

  • Anonymous

    All you’ve got to do is type one word on to Google or GMail YouTube. and every site that has Google Ads will start popping up with the item of that word

    • Brandon Weidema

      Why do you think Gmail, Youtube etc is free? Read the TOS next time you sign up for a Google account lol

  • Manuel Molina

    I remember the days when people use to say Steve Jobs said a lot of stupid shit, but damn how this dude takes the fucking torch and burns it bright with stupidity.

    • John

      Only two people voted you down… I really thought there were more Fandroid trolls on here.

      • chumawumba


  • isdonfoisdnofi

    Oh look, another Google hating post. I’m almost done with this site because of all these ignorant posts. You go from talking about Eric Schmidt talking about the potential violations that these drones could possess to talking about how Google had to pay fines for privacy concerns. Terribly written article.

    iDownloadBlog, choose better writers, this guy is the most biased I’ve seen so far.

    • Ignacio Irigoyen

      I do not understand ppl like you, if you do not like it go away, enforce your free will, the same you use to make terrible post and GO AWAY, nobody is forcing you to come to the site or read the articles, and the great thing about internet is that if you look just a little you will find other pages with ppl that “think” as you do. Go and comment on those site.

      But let me tell you a secrete, no matter how much self important you believe your self with your post, in reality non one cares about your opinion in the internet.

      • MagicDrumSticks

        Actually it’s important that he days something because it’s true. Your rebuttal doesn’t matter either so why did you post it? Double standards at its best.

      • Ignacio Irigoyen

        He is trying to make his opinion a universal truth, I’m trying to help him, by giving him advice that will help him live better, with less rage, and lest contempt by finding a place where he belongs, as we agree is not in this page. And that way my has validity.

      • ~Your Boss

        Last time I checked it was not rage he was giving. He sounds to be perfectly calm. I also doubt it is help or advice that he seeks.
        (Please do not mind my name)

    • John

      We shall ignore the fact you’re a trolling idiot.
      Just another moron with too much time on their hands that has such an empty life they have to go on internet website, use a fake name, and troll.

      FINE. You win. I’ll bite but the next time you want to do something as stupid as bad mouth one of the better writers at iDB for their articles how about you man up and actually write what’s wrong with the article?

      Present facts that prove this article is wrong and considering Schmidt is talking about breeching privacy with these drones, talking about Googles fines isn’t such a stretch.

      So common, we’re waiting, you have the floor.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I can see you did not read my post at all.

        Common John, common.

      • BoardDWorld

        I like these posts. Many have no clue what google is about or what they have done and are constantly doing. Deliberately snooping every wifi network for personal data where ever street view had been. That alone should have seen them shut down. Big money and information talks so bulshit can walk unfortunately. Chrome, Android? how do people even use all these services knowing Google?

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        Care to show me your sources of all these? You think Google is going to be shut down? Hah.

        While you’re scavenging the interwebs, look around to see how great of a company Apple is. They really are no better.

      • Fabio Rodrigues

        It seems that you haven’t read the post either, it didn’t said anything good or bad about apple and iPhones on this post as you mentioned before, it just stated that the guy was trashing amazon’s drones while he himself is planing on doing the same thing or maybe more

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I never said he said anything about how good Apple was. He was shooting down Apple by posting this.
        If you can’t see that, what else are you oblivious to?

      • John

        I read your post, where you said the writer went ‘waaaaaayy’ off topic and how it’s such a “terribly written article”…oh and the best part where the article “puts Apple devices in such high light” even though there is little to no mention of Apple AT ALL in this article…so where is your evidence troll?

        No where?
        Typical fandroid.

        And like most, you hide behind an internet name, too scared to tell us who you really are.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        The only reason I chose such an absurd username was because I have no desire to be a part of this community of Apple fanchildren. I just wanted to post that, because this is a biased, and horribly written article.
        You don’t need to know who I am lol. I don’t see why it’s such a big deal for you.

        And I have been an iOS user for nearly 4 years now. I switched to Android 2 days ago, and couldn’t be happier.

      • John

        …and yet, you still haven’t shown how it’s biased.

        It’s not a big deal for me, I don’t normally affiliate with people whose intelligent level is equal to that of a dishcloth, but I thought I would make an exception for you…so from now on, we call you troll, since you don’t don’t seem to have balls enough to use your real name and you ONLY signed up because you wanted to troll with ZERO evidence and ZERO facts.

        Good work troll!

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I don’t think you even read the article or my post.
        I have no desire to be a part of this ignorant community.
        I see Apple children have no respect for others either.

        Is that really your best insult? Calling me a troll, and saying my intelligent level is that of a dishcloth? I am not even going to say I’m laughing, because I’m not. That was quite bad.

      • John

        I find it slightly amusing that you insist you wish not to be a part of this community AND YET YOU KEEP REPLYING thus making you a part of this community.

        No. I am not attempting to insult you nor am I attempting a joke, unlike you, I am presenting facts to support my argument.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I’m replying to you because I find this amusing. Just because I’m on a website does not make me a part of a community. You have shown no facts that I’m a troll. All my posts have been biased, yes, but counter-biased towards this article. If I spent time searching, which I have no desire to, I’m sure I can find an equal amount of wrong Apple has done that Google has. I’m not saying Google is perfect, no. It’s not. But the fact that you think Apple is better than Google makes me cringe.

      • John

        I shall give you another chance to post facts to support your case, ready? Can you point it out to me where I wrote Apple is better then Google…because I never wrote that anywhere.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I never once said Google or Amazon or Samsung or anything is better. I never claimed you said it’s better. I am saying you are implying it in your posts, and you must suffer from a serious case of obliviousness as you can’t seem to tell it from your own posts.

        As I said, I will not provide you information on anything. Feel free to search for yourself. If you can work a search engine, that is.

      • John

        You won’t provide me information on anything because you have no information. You came here with the intent on stirring the pot… Bravo troll, you succeeded.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I succeeded? I’m pretty sure you just said you won in your other comment. Now we’re contradicting ourselves here, are we?

        Where’s your information? Huh?

      • John

        PS: Thanks for voting me down as well as @disqus_hQ6x0GXxCM:disqus… It’s clear since you’re the ONLY one who voted us both down that you have no idea what you’re talking about so…if you don’t like it, crawl back to you’re little safety net in Mountain View since we actually have evidence to prove how stupid and controlling Google are and yet you can’t produce a single piece of evidence rebutting anything said.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        So because someone voted you down, you’re instantly right and they don’t know what they’re talking about?

        Are you stupid? I guess all Apple fanchildren share all the same ignorant logic.

      • John

        In your case, yes, you know very little…and before you say I’m wrong, let me just remind you of one small number. Five.

        Five is the number of changes you have had to explain why you think it’s biased and why you think it’s wrong…yet, like every other Fandoird, as soon as you’re asked to present facts to support your claim you start attacking individuals rather then trying to support your argument.

        Besides, weren’t you leaving troll?

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I haven’t once asked to prevent factual information regarding my post. And no, I won’t. You’re so interested in this topic, you can search for yourself. I don’t care if you don’t believe me, I’m entitled to say and do what I please without ignorant people such as yourself telling me what to do.
        I also have not once said I was leaving. I said I was close to leaving because of how biased these posts are. By leaving I mean removing it from my feed. If it makes you feel better, you won’t be seeing me posting on anything else here.

        You’ll be free to enjoy your biased opinions with the other ignorant fools here, which you are entitled to on the internet.

      • John

        Rubbish you haven’t been asked to present facts.
        Read you trolling fool. If you’re going to make a statement have the balls to back up what you have to say, or don’t say it at all.

        Aww, you going to block me…Because you’re a gutless coward who has nothing better to do then troll forums? What a shame. I’ve won.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        What? You are a fool.
        You’ve won? Where’s your proof that Apple is such a better company? Where is your proof that Android is so bad? Where is your proof that Google is so bad? You have posted exactly the same amount of information and factual proof that I have.

        So shut up and if you really need to begin talking again, feel free to, when you have an idea what you’re saying. You are an ignorant asshole.

      • John

        Yes. I won.

        Secondly, I have never claimed that Apple is a better company then Google so before you ask me to back up my claims actually know what you’re talking about.

        Thirdly, there are many examples out there of why Google is “bad”. From being fined for bypassing Safari privacy settings to scanning your emails, search and YouTube history to tailor advertising to you.

        I was never asked to post evidence, you were, so please…keep attacking me, it only further proves that once little fandroid trolls paint themselves into a corner they do nothing more then attack individuals rather then support their arguments.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        You just implied there that Apple has done nothing wrong. You posted that Google has bypassed privacy, but where’s Apples wrongdoings?

        I’m done here, I don’t care if you reply anymore, I won’t be reading them. I’m done with this site.
        Thanks for the time-waster. I had a good laugh for most of it.

      • John

        There you are. It happened six hours ago. You were asked to provide (I assume, since you wrote prevent) factual information.

        Game. Set. Match.
        It’s you who need to read because accusing me of not doing so and you failing to do it yourself…well, now you’re just a hypercritical troll.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        “so wheres your evidence troll?” Is not asking for factual information.
        Please just stop. You’re not doing anything but making yourself look like an idiot.

      • John

        Aww, first you start of by being a rude cunt by calling me an asshole and now you’re attempting to be polite by saying please?

        Well, if anyone has made himself look like an idiot…it’s you.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        Just stop. Please.
        “where is your evidence troll?” is not asking me for factual information.

      • John

        Posting the same thing twice doesn’t make you more right.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I didn’t realize that the first one was posting. I was having trouble with my connection.

        Just waiting for you to knock me down because I’ve got a troubling connection.

      • Lordthree

        What do you disagree with? Google isn’t being whores? Is that your opinion?

    • s0me

      Every post this guy makes is biased, I rarely read his crap because I always see Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Nokia (hmm who else…?) hate. I never came here for this fanboy s**t anyway, JAILBREAK stuff is what I want.

      • isdonfoisdnofi

        I used to like this place because I was heavily into jailbreaking tweaks. Recently, I’ve noticed that the jailbreaking community has died down, however.
        The posts used to be great, now they are all revolving around Apple and why Apple is great.
        Sure Google has some privacy issues and whatever, sure Samsung has used an idea that Apple has before, sure Microsoft is Apple’s opponent, but it’s always hate. There is nothing good on this site. Nobody posts the bad stuff that Apple does.

        Nobody here is suspicious of a fingerprint scanner on the new iPhone. (Yes, it has been on a few Android phones too, by the way BEFORE Apple. Why does Apple get the credit?)
        Why does Apple get fame for making a golden iPhone? There have been so many golden phones in the past. I haven’t heard anything about them.
        Nobody wonders where the Notification Center came from. It’s been on Android phones since 2009. It wasn’t released in iOS until 2011. And Apple has the nerve (see what I did there, @Christian Zibreg?) to sue other companies for copying their ideas.
        Nobody stops to think why Apple charges prices as high as they do. They charge the prices high because they can. Because they know no matter what, people are going to buy their stuff.

        It’s so unfortunate how ignorant this world is. Everyone needs an iPhone to be ‘cool’. Everyone buys the ‘new’ iPhone 6 months after the previous one comes out. Everyone needs to own an iPad to be cool.

  • Yujin

    Google just wants to be the only one profiting from spying on you. Lol

    • Lordthree

      This is no worse than google glass you you better believe if Google had thought of this first they would be patting themselves on the back for it

  • jack

    You forgot he also said Android is safer than iOS….

    • isdonfoisdnofi

      Of course Apple devices are safer. They are locked down to what Apple wants your device to look like. Oh yeah, I forgot though, you can customize your background. Awesome right?

      If you’re not an idiot on Android, your device will be perfectly fine.

  • Jo

    Somebody could buy a bomb on Amazon and Amazon would deliver it to their neighbor by drone. That’s what worries me.

    • Kristen Vacketta

      This is a legitimate concern, except that a quick search of some relevant keywords on Amazon doesn’t turn up any kind of real bombs. Closest thing was a fake, non-explosive Airsoft hand grenade. I’d be surprised if there were any full on explosives available for sale in one package, under the estimated 6lb limit the drone can carry?

      • Jo


    • Rowan09

      Why would anyone want that paper trail when they can just get parts from their local stores?

    • John

      Wait…you can buy bombs on Amazon?
      Do you have to prove a delivery address?
      Wouldn’t there be a paper trail of some kind back to you?

      • Jo

        It’s only a joke!

    • A-B-C, I say a 1-2-3

      cmon guys this person is clearly making a joke, don’t ruin it by letting it fly so high over your heads that you attack him, just making yourselves look dumb

  • Decio Arruda

    Now I seriously hate the guy!
    Wrote post to show how to switch from iOS from Android, okay…
    Lied about his relationship with Steve Jobs, messed up…
    Criticizes Amazon Prime Air, I’m a hater now!
    I pay close attention to executive’s opinions and company actions and I decided to use bing instead of Google now. It’s just how I function, I use what I respect and, as of now, I have absolutely no respect towards Google.

    • John

      Yup. I am in the same situation as you.
      All my devices and computers I manage now run bing and yahoo only software, nothing on them is Google and if they want YouTube or Gmail, I’m very careful about what is saved and what information is sent.

  • Chuck Finley

    Google complaining about privacy issues.


    • John

      Ahh Chuck.
      Best reply so far.

  • lol, typical business hypocrisy…one of the top privacy invaders complains about privacy invasion. Apple is no different…doesn’t mean it’s acceptable.

  • Adarsh Parthasarathy

    The author of this article does not provide a single solid counterargument to Schmidt’s point.

  • Rusty Gesner

    Well, Google Shopping used to be great but is now utterly and completely useless.
    The results are now absurdly irrelevant.
    Has anyone found a decent alternative?