Historically, Europe has lagged a U.S. economic recovery by up to six months, Schmidt told reporters. This time, the CEO said, the continent appears to be keeping pace with the U.S., where the economy has been improving since June, based on the usage of the Internet's largest search engine and most profitable advertising network.
Schmidt cautioned that the online advertising, search requests and shopping that Google detects may not be an accurate reflection of the economy. Still, his observations jibe with Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben Bernanke and many other experts who believe the economy is getting better even though jobs are still hard to find.
Advertising is traditionally a lagging indicator of the economy, meaning ad spending reflects economic changes that have already happened. Businesses buy more advertising when they've already noticed conditions improving, Schmidt said.
Google shares rose $10.01, or 2 percent, to $508.75 in afternoon trading.