Eric Schmidt on computing's future, competition, and his new role

Google's Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt outlined his vision of the future of computing, where he sees Google heading, and the possibilities Moore's Law can provide the public with. In an interview with The Telegraph, Schmidt, reminiscing on his days of using time-share computers, pointed to the shift from enterprise to personal computing that occurred over 10-15 years as an indicator of the direction industries are going in.

Schmidt's vision is largely based around the idea of converging social networking and searching with location-based technology. Computers will become "personal assistants," aided by information provided by its users, and will advise and inform users based on gathered data. "On mobiles we know where you are, down to the nearest foot," Schmidt said, "so, here in Davos, where I come every year, it knows where I am and where I was, and it can say, you forgot that you went to that meeting last year and you hated it because I could tell it or it could observe that I was only there for 15 minutes."

But Schmidt was keen to stress the importance of consent and permission. "If you want anonymity and you don’t want your friends to know what you’re doing, that’s fine with us," Schmidt said. Google has been known for questionable data usage, and most recently came under fire for collecting Wi-Fi data from Street View cars. Despite Google's apparent need for cautiousness over customer information, Schmidt does not want to see Google's future being determined by lawyers. "The lawyers, on balance, will be more conservative, because that is how lawyers work. So I always say to the product makers, just build the best product you can."

Schmidt downplayed any possible competition between Google and Facebook, and also explained that the recent shift in roles with Larry Page taking over from Schmidt as CEO was his decision. "People have never believed that the three of us could run the company as a triumvirate, but [this is] a very, very well-managed business. The three of us will be on all of the big decisions together," Schmidt said.

The full interview can be read here.

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24 Comments

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Can someone get rid of this guy? They need to toss him in some locked room and throw away the key so he can't talk to the outside world anymore. If what he thought and wanted to do fit he wouldn't have lost his CEO position.

GP007 said,
Can someone get rid of this guy? They need to toss him in some locked room and throw away the key so he can't talk to the outside world anymore. If what he thought and wanted to do fit he wouldn't have lost his CEO position.

Funny, I thought the exact same thing about you when I read your post.

Dynamic said,

Funny, I thought the exact same thing about you when I read your post.

Funny, because you're a massive tool. He's right, why is this guy still giving us his opinions? He obviously didnt feel like he belonged in google any more, and from that I can only assume it's because he had different ideas about where the company was headed. Google will be a huge part of the future, they've already become a household name, and a verb, soothe sky's really the limit for them. I long for the day where people like you aren't allowed any contact with the outside world.

Kierandownes said,

Funny, because you're a massive tool. He's right, why is this guy still giving us his opinions? He obviously didnt feel like he belonged in google any more, and from that I can only assume it's because he had different ideas about where the company was headed. Google will be a huge part of the future, they've already become a household name, and a verb, soothe sky's really the limit for them. I long for the day where people like you aren't allowed any contact with the outside world.

Be nice ladies...

Kierandownes said,

Funny, because you're a massive tool. He's right, why is this guy still giving us his opinions? He obviously didnt feel like he belonged in google any more, and from that I can only assume it's because he had different ideas about where the company was headed. Google will be a huge part of the future, they've already become a household name, and a verb, soothe sky's really the limit for them. I long for the day where people like you aren't allowed any contact with the outside world.

Why is this guy still giving us his opinions? Because people are willing to listen to them and may even find them interesting, since he was the leader of one of the largest companies on the planet, and still maintains a high postition within the company.

Personally I regret the comment I made as it really isn't within my nature to wish anyone to be excluded from society based on their opinions. I suppose this is why I find myself as more of a lurker than a common poster.

My apologies.

GP007 said,
Can someone get rid of this guy? They need to toss him in some locked room and throw away the key so he can't talk to the outside world anymore. If what he thought and wanted to do fit he wouldn't have lost his CEO position.

I find him to be quite insightful, it a little reckless. Also, he didn't "[lose] his CEO position", he stepped aside with mutual consent to return control of the company back to the owners.

Soulsiphon said,
No, not really. On my G2 I have the option of not allowing Google certain info and it does have built-in GPS.

I know that, but just the way it was phrased was just... strange. I'm not a tin-foil hat enthusiast, but it still seemed like an odd choice of words.

MissingBonobo said,
Is anyone else creeped out by the phrase, "On mobiles we know where you are, down to the nearest foot"?

Maybe he was referring to Google Latitude/Maps/Places maybe? Similar with Facebook and "check me in".

MissingBonobo said,
Is anyone else creeped out by the phrase, "On mobiles we know where you are, down to the nearest foot"?

No, because it's 100% true. And not just Google.

Billus said,
Maybe he was referring to Google Latitude/Maps/Places maybe? Similar with Facebook and "check me in".

Latitude has a check-in feature now too. Got it in the latest update of Maps last week.