The Internet in Five Years, According to Google CEO Eric Schmidt. Omniveillance Still Looming on the Horizon

October 28th, 2009

A cool post from ReadWriteWeb, titled Google’s Eric Schmidt on What the Web Will Look Like in 5 Years :

  • Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.
  • Today’s teenagers are the model of how the web will work in five years – they jump from app to app to app seamlessly.
  • Five years is a factor of ten in Moore’s Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more by that time than they are today.
  • Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance – and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.
  • “We’re starting to make significant money off of Youtube”, content will move towards more video.
  • “Real time information is just as valuable as all the other information, we want it included in our search results.”
  • There are many companies beyond Twitter and Facebook doing real time.
  • “We can index real-time info now – but how do we rank it?”
  • It’s because of this fundamental shift towards user-generated information that people will listen more to other people than to traditional sources. Learning how to rank that “is the great challenge of the age.” Schmidt believes Google can solve that problem.

Back in 2008, in my Omniveillance article, I discussed Mr. Schmidt’s predictions of where Google will be in the future.

In an interview conducted by the Financial Times, Google CEO Eric Schmidt admitted the company’s future goal is to organize people’s daily lives.139 Specifically, Schmidt augured that one day “users [will] . . . be able to ask the question such as ‘What shall I do tomorrow?’ and ‘What job shall I take?’ ” and Google would be able to answer those questions.140 Udi Manber, Google’s Vice President of Engineering in charge of Google Search, reaffirmed this sentiment, and posited that Google has “to understand as much as we can user intent and give [users] the answer they need.”141 Mr. Schmidt acknowledged that the primary obstacle to this goal is not the technology, but the lack of information Google possesses about people.142

Talking to journalists in London, Mr. Schmidt stated, “We cannot even answer the most basic questions because we don’t know enough about you. That is the most important aspect of

Google’s expansion.”143 Mr. Schmidt acknowledged that Google is still in the early stages of gathering the information it has, and that algorithms can only be improved by better personalization.144 What Mr. Schmidt did not mention was how this personalization, that is, the collection of personal information, would take place. Google’s experiment in Nanaimo, British

Columbia shows how it can organize the aggregation of this data from the real world. If Google really plans on telling a person what to do or which job to take, information must be gathered from sources beyond those on the Internet-namely the real world.145 And that’s where Google Street View can come in.

The future of Omniveillance revolves around Google incorporating data from the real world into their massive search engine. While real-time social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook are effective means to assemble this information, monitoring public places is perhaps the most effective means. See my previous post discussing how researchers at Georgia Tech are incorporating real-time video into Google Street View Maps.

The Specter of Omniveillance is still looming on the horizon.

Check out the full interview here:


See also. County of Los Angeles votes to utilize Google Web services for City technology support.