Google chairman Eric Schmidt denies rumours that his company is looking to combine its Android and Chrome OS operating systems, and admits Google Reader will be closed "with a heavy heart."

Google chairman Eric Schmidt
Google chairman Eric Schmidt (pictured) has denied speculation that Android and Chrome OS will merge under the leadership of Sundar Pichai. (Credit: Reuters)

Speaking at Google's Big Tent conference in New Delhi, Schmidt denied rumours that the two operating systems would be merged following the recent management shuffle which saw Chrome head Sundar Pichai also take control of Android.

When asked by an audience member if the new operating systems would combine, Schmidt replied: "No is the answer. We don't make decisions based on who the leader [of the service] is. We make decisions based on where the technology takes us...Android and Chrome solve different problems. There will be more commonality for sure, but they are certainly going to remain separate for a very long time."

The Google chairman also spoke of Reader, which will be closed down on 1 July, a decision that provoked widespread anger from its users, saying he "loved" the RSS reader and it was with a heavy heart that the decision was made to close it.

Schmidt confirmed its demise is another example of the company's continued 'spring cleaning' and that its priorities are different now to when Reader launched in 2005.

Speaking of his recent trip to North Korea, Schmidt joked that he had visited the country to play some basketball, before explaining: "North Korea has no internet connectivity, it is [the] last closed country in the world. My goal was to convince them to turn on data services as they have that infrastructure.

"Internet was built for everyone, including the citizens of North Korea. The quickest way to open up growth in North Korea is access to the Internet."

On the future of web search, Schmidt said: "In the long term, we want to see computers as more of your personal assistants, your personal memory,"

When asked about what portable technology he uses, Schmidt admitted to using a BlackBerry because he likes the physical keyboard, and he owns an iPad and iPad mini.

Google's Big Tent Activate summit is addressing the challenges India faces in getting online, with the number of Indians connected expected to grow significantly from 130 million now, of which only 20 million have broadband, to more than one billion in the near future, many through mobile devices.