Eric Schmidt spoke tonight to a packed crowd at the Economic Club. He talked about how Google views the world and what they hope to do in the coming years. Overall, it was a fairly interesting speech. Key points included:
-- We live in a world of continuous distraction and multi-tasking. Just look at kids doing IM, watching video, talking to friends while doing homework. It will only get worse.
-- People's attention is the most important asset for marketers (similar in theme of the AttentionTrust initiative).
-- The key to getting people's attention is targetted advertising instead of untargetted. He asked how many people read the paper this morning or watched TV. Could they recall any ads they saw?
-- Society is trying to block untargetted ads with Tivo, spam filters, Do Not call lists and such.
-- Social communities will become more and more core to interactions and marketing on the web.
-- An example of a social paradox: people lonely in the city.
-- Group dynamics, such as predictive markets (future blog), are fascinating
-- Study after study shows that groups collectively predicting/assessing dramatically outperform individual experts. How to tap? Some hedge funds trying to find ways to mine opinion from chat rooms about stocks. The trick is guaranteeing no gaming...one person, one vote.
-- He said that all decisions at Google are made consensually through groups. New ideas are broken out into three person teams.
-- Predators, Phishers and other such elements are greatest threat and will always be there.
-- Google is working on auto-translation products. This will allow content, trapped within a language such as Japanese, to be freed for consumption world wide by all.
-- Not only is the world opening up as never before, but data is unbounded as well, with handhelds having access to all content in the world. Google mobile core to this.
-- Furthermore, handhelds will truly be digital assistants. They will know location & preferences in order to deliver what you want, when you want and now where you want.
-- We are at the early stages here. Over 1 billion people are online, but 5 billion are not (of course 2.6 billion people get by on less than $2/day).
He took a few questions, including ones about their China interaction. How can they "do no evil" while also complying with censorship in China? He said that they want to be a part of every country's engagement of the internet. They have to respect (though not agree with) the laws of each country.
In short, Google's goal is to help people organize and find all information in the world, whether online or offline. Feel the fear...