The Next Google is Out There Somewhere, says Eric Schmidt
Technological breakthroughs have rapidly changed our society. While Google acknowledges its own contributions to global technological advancement, it also acknowledges that seismic shifts in technology can’t always be predicted, as these can come from the most unlikely sources.
During a visit to Berlin on October 13, 2014, Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt gave a talk about innovation and technology in front of a hundred company founders, economists, and scientists at the Native Instruments headquarters—a popular Europe-based company which specializes in hardware and software production for DJ equipment and digital audio production.
Schmidt’s full speech covered a lot of important points, ranging from early technology to today’s technological advancements. He ultimately gave some of his insights about the future of the Internet at large.
At one point, Schmidt acknowledged how significant early inventions from the likes of Thomas Edison, Karl Benz, and Tim Berners-Lee have been in various technological industries. “Just as invention is dynamic, so are the industries it creates. When Karl Benz invented the petrol car, he didn’t just create an engine with three wheels,” Schmidt said. “He created an entire industry.” Schmidt also noted that this was the same case with Tim Berners-Lee, as Berners-Lee didn’t only create the first ever website; he “paved the way for the World Wide Web,” just as Edison pioneered the light bulb industry.
Schmidt believes these innovations were instigated by the need to make the impossible, possible. In Google’s case, the search engine giant has been making huge contributions by turning several “impossibilities” into reality. For one, Google was the first to create an avenue for people to find out about almost anything by typing a few words into their computers. Then came Google Image Search, which caters to people searching for pictures. Another breakthrough was Google Maps, which helps people get specific directions for addresses, plus many other services.
Schmidt also observed the increasing dependence of users on mobile today, with the total time spent on desktop falling to just 40%. According to Schmidt, seven out of eight minutes of mobile phone usage is spent within apps. “When I look at my children and grandson, their world is entirely different. It’s all mobile, and they spend most of their time on one of many apps downloaded on their phone.”
Schmidt was quick to admit that with these rapid technological advancements, he wouldn’t be surprised to see a brand new “Google” ready to take control of the online search industry. In fact, he already has an idea as to what this new Google would be like: It probably won’t do what Google is doing now, just as Google didn’t do what AOL did before.
Someone, somewhere in a garage is gunning for us. I know, because not long ago we were in that garage. Change comes from where you least expect it.
Other important touchstones from the speech included Google’s significant investments in Germany and Europe, Amazon as their biggest search competitor, the company’s antitrust issues with European publishers, and Facebook as Google’s most intimidating competitor in mobile.
Do you think Eric Schmidt is right when he mentioned that the next Google is out there “somewhere in a garage” gunning for them? How do you feel about his views on the future of the technological industry?
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