Eric Schmidt spoke at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, as part of their Roads to Innovation Conference held on November 11th -12th (link to video at the bottom of the linked page).
He also participated in PAN IT 2006 (no longer available), as a keynote speaker on December 25th, 2006, and a video of that presentation
is was available on YouTube.
News reports from an interview after his Stanford presentation caught on to a statement he made that mobile phones should be free – so that they can be used as a way of delivering targeted advertising. While that statement was interesting, those reports didn’t capture what was a pretty interesting presentation.
It provides some nice insights from Eric Schmidt on the future of technology and society on the web, and some glimpses of Google’s role in that future, including a movement of more data online, and an internet architecture that favors things like mashups and lightweight office tools and other applications. It considers a convergence of functions including phones, computers, and television on mobile devices.
He asks what happens when we are all online, all the time, with people moving towards producing content instead consuming it. He talks about communities, and the ease at which people can find each other without boundaries. The rise of social network is interesting, and that leads to questions about trust, reputation, and the manipulation of those social networks. In reputation and trust systems, how do we believe the ratings we see? How can Google do something with ratings algorithmically, in a meaningful manner?
What role does targeted advertising have in that future? He asks if any one in the audience has bought anything from classifieds in the newspapers in the last few days? Weeks? Years? Someone admitted to purchasing a bicycle, but beyond that, no one else spoke up. This move to targeted advertising is a massive shift – a well targeted ad has value. An untargeted ad has no value.
PAN IIT Presentation
Fascinating in that this presentation touches upon many of the same issues in the Stanford presentation, except that it addresses them in a global manner in a way that the Stanford presentation doesn’t. And it goes into a lot more depth on what Google is working upon in the future.
If you only have time to watch one of these two presentations, I’d recommend this second one from the PAN ITT Conference, not only because it is more recent, but also because it provides a wider global perspective.