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"Google is in an interesting position of leveraging data -- how far do they push that?" venture capitalist Stolle says. "They are on a tightrope."
On the day of its Texas media event, a U.S. appeals court in California ruled that Google was not exempt from liability under federal privacy laws for inadvertently intercepting e-mails and other data from private Wi-Fi networks while creating Street View, which provides panoramic views of city streets.
Schmidt says the company takes conscious steps to ensure privacy while keeping up with the latest technology, such as blurring faces and license plates in Street View.
The Fort Worth smartphone facility made Nokia phones but had been idle for years, says Mike McNamara, CEO of Flextronics, which provides logistics to build the Moto X. The space was transformed for Motorola, which was acquired by Google last year, in just six months and production began in August. Today, its 2,500 workers can assemble and ship 100,000 phones a week, McNamara says. The phones' interior workings are still made overseas.
Workers and executives at both companies were struck by the fact that none of the 150 million smartphones used in the U.S. was actually made here, Woodside says. The company decided to assemble the Moto X in Texas as part of a long-term strategy to bring well-paying, high-tech jobs to the U.S.
The gamble is consistent with Google's DNA, Woodside says. He points to the company's purchase of YouTube in 2006 for $1.65 billion -- a move many industry experts questioned, he notes. Today, the online video service seen by more than a billion people is the largest of its kind in the world, Woodside says.
"The question is not where we see ourselves in the next couple of years," he says, "but' what's the big accomplishment we can drive over the next decade?'"
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