Google Gives Glimpse of Mobile Future

Google’s chief executive Eric Schmidt today shared his vision of the mobile future, where Web-connected Android devices can anticipate the needs of consumers.

Speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco, Schmidt gave a glimpse into upcoming technology, enabled by a powerful combination of smartphones and cloud computing, to help Google suggest things people may want to know as they are walking down the street.

“Think of it as a serendipity engine. We can suggest where you go next, who to meet, what to read,” he said. “What’s interesting about this future is that it’s for the average person, not just the elites.”

Schmidt added that a series of factors are coalescing to transform how people use computers.

“We are at one of those points in technology where something interesting is about to happen,” he said. “We’re building an augmented version of humanity — getting computers to help us do the things we are not very good at and have humans helping computers do the things they’re not very good at.”

According to Schmidt, new computer and mobile technologies are creating an existence in which smartphones can help people navigate the world, tell them about the places and keep them connected to friends and colleagues, and stream entertainment available on the Web, alleviating loneliness and boredom.

“Your car should drive itself,” he said. “It’s amazing to me that we let humans drive cars.”

But in order to achieve this, users will need share information about themselves, so Google can better target its services. And that may raise issues over privacy and data encryption, Schmidt said.

“Eventually we think mobile will be the majority of the searches and the majority of the revenue, but it’s a long time,” he said, citing that searches on Android phones more than tripled in the first half of 2010.

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