Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt closed this years IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin with some thoughts about search and mobile. It’s a reflection of just how important mobile really is that the head of one of the largest technology businesses in the world takes time to look at mobile and talk about mobile in the same depth as he talks about his business. It’s a shame that not enough people in the rest of the technology world are doing the same.
Schmidt has said many times that Google is now looking at “Mobile First” for everything it does. And this is not j
ust based on a gut feeling, it’s also something that Google have figures to back up. According to Google the mobile Web is growing eight times faster than the equivalent desktop Web model of ten years ago, additionally mobile search traffic grew 50 percent in the first half of 2010 and in Schmidt’s words it’s “growing much quicker th
an everything else.” Then when you look at sales of smartphone which are set to surpass PC sales, it all becomes very clear.
Mobile and search are going to make a real difference in the future, and that future isn’t too far away. Schmidt’s vi
sion for search is to use mobile to make it mor
e personal and more intelligent. His future allows search to react to what you’re doing, and to where you are, and for search to be completely automated and intelligent. So instead of you walking down a street and seeing a building you’re interested in, then having to stop take out your mobile and look it up. Instead you’ll be able to take out your mobile and it will have already looked it up. Schmidt calls this “autonomous search”, and this is how he described it. “What I want is for my computer—my smartphone—to be doing searches constantly. Did you know? Did you know? Did you know? This occurred here. This occurred there. Because it knows who I am, it knows what I care about, and it knows roughly where I am… This notion of autonomous search—the ability to tell me things I didn’t know but am probably very interested in—is the next great stage, in my view, of search.”
But it shouldn’t just stop there. There’s another short-step and that’s to give the “autonomous search” some really autonomy and to use other inputs like time and your calendar. So while it’s looked up the building it should also be able to see from the time that it’s nearly lunchtime, and you’ve marked today as a holiday. So it’s also looked up the nearest restaurants, and it’s noticed that one of the nearest is doing a special £10 two-course lunch menu, and it’s already booked you a table. That’s my definition of “autonomous search” and that’s using mobile to its full potential.
There’s a video of the keynote available here and it’s well worth a watch.