Eric schmidt smartphones are the future for google and the world | media | the guardian
Eric Schmidt: smartphones are the future for Google and the world | Media | The Guardian 30/06/2010 13:23
Eric Schmidt: smartphones are the
future for Google and the world
The chief executive of the search giant believes smartphones will
empower the poor and is the equivalent to the arrival of TV
The Guardian, Monday 28 June 2010
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The Google chief executive says the decision to pull out of China was not down to revenue but was about wanting to
be a ‘good global citizen’. Photograph: Paul Sakuma/AP
Phenomenally successful, but also imitated, envied and feared – Google is the
technological icon of our time. But is its ubiquity and influence a force for good?
Chief executive Eric Schmidt has no doubts. He tells the Guardian that Google has
been instrumental in a generational shift in democratising information. "Over my
lifetime, we are going to go from a small number of people having access to most of the
world's information, to virtually everybody in the world having access to virtually all of
the world's information," he said. "That's because of web search, cheap phones and
automatic translation. That's a pretty amazing achievement and Google is part of that."
Yet with Google active in so many areas, from shopping to video and translation to
music, its competitors are becoming more numerous and opponents more vociferous.
Schmidt admits: "We try to do everything … We don't shake off the big goals."
In an interview ahead of his keynote presentation at the Guardian's Activate Summit
on Thursday, he makes it clear Google is positioning itself for the future through
mobile, with the development of its Android mobile system and with subsequent
Google-branded handsets. He is keener to talk about this area than the battle with
newspaper groupss such as News International, whose paywall model is partly based
on what it considers Google's parasitical attitude to original content.
The mobile battle pitches the three biggest tech firms against each other: Google, Apple
and Microsoft. Analyst Gartner puts Android as the world's fourth most-popular
smartphone operating system in the first quarter of 2010 – ahead of Microsoft in a
market it joined less than two years ago but behind Symbian (Nokia), Research in
Motion (Blackberry) and Apple.
"I believe that the very best engineering is now going on the mobile devices — the
hardest problems and the most clever solutions," says Schmidt. "You know who the
person is and where they are, and you don't get that from a desktop app." The 50,000
apps built for Android, mostly by third-party developers, cover almost every topic, but
the one killer app is still Google itself, says Schmidt.
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