On a trip to India where he received the Indira Gandhi peace prize, Bill Gates gave a surprising number of candid interviews.
The first big question, obviously, was about Google and the Chrome OS. Gates reiterated his earlier stand of how Google’s build-up and secrecy are a lot more exciting than the product itself.
“Everything Google hasn’t shipped yet is exciting. It’s after they ship it that it becomes not exciting,” he told The Economic Times.
While acknowledging that Bing won’t become the dominant search engine anytime soon, he quickly added: “But there are people within Microsoft who dream of such glory. After all, Google needs some competition and who the heck is going to do it but Microsoft?”
Gates also said that Microsoft was keen to work with former Infosys head Nandan Nilekani, who is now in charge of Unique Identification Authority of India (UIAI), which is set to roll out identity cards for all Indians from 2011.
The ex-Microsoft CEO was also critical of the US government’s stand towards incorporating computers in personal data management, saying the concept of ‘The computer knows too much about us’ still scared the Americans. He told the New York Times that this leads to a lot of waste in areas such as the medical field, where doctors can’t share records and virtual visits are banned.
Speaking about India’s health issues with NDTV, Gates acknowledged the ‘magic paradox’ of the country, wherein it produces some of the brightest minds in drug development and computer science yet still has massive malnutrition problems.
The key, he says, is about getting the merits of one to apply to the other, which the Government and other organisations are working towards.
“I’m very optimistic that India, in particular, will make more progress on health than any other country,” he said.
And finally, talking about social networking, the software mogul said that it was a buzzword that applied to something that had been around for a long time — a way to communicate with numerous people at the same time.
He acknowledged that he once had a Facebook page, but every day “10,000 people tried to be my friend. Do I know them? Don’t I know them? (Ultimately) I had to give it up.”