On Monday, Google chairman Eric Schmidt stopped to give a talk in front of a bunch of hardware engineers at Native Instruments in Berlin, a company that specializes in software and hardware for computer-based audio production and DJing. In addition to stumping for what Google has already accomplished, the speech broadly outlines some of the challenges the company is facing in the tech world.
Schmidt’s full speech is worth your time, but here are a few notable touchstones. One of Schmidt’s themes is that the technology world is rapidly evolving; at one point, he mentions that time spent on the desktop has fallen 40%. A new generation of children is being weaned mobile-first, and their attention is up for grabs:
We were brought up using computers–machines that sat on our desks, and, if we were lucky, on our laps. But when I look at my children and grandson, their world is entirely different. It’s all mobile, and they spend most of their time on one of many apps downloaded on their phone. In fact, seven out of every eight minutes of mobile phone usage is spent within apps. And the most popular app in the world–including in Europe–is … Facebook, a company which now describes itself as “the onramp to the Internet.”
Of course, Facebook is facing its own challenges as it tries to unbundle its big, do-everything social networking app into standalone offerings, like Messenger and whatever the day’s Snapchat clone is.
Later on in his speech, Schmidt acknowledges that the next Google is probably already out there, looking to topple one of the most innovative companies in the world. What’s more: The Google of tomorrow probably won’t look anything like the Google of today:
…someone, somewhere in a garage is gunning for us. I know, because not long ago we were in that garage. Change comes from where you least expect it. The telegraph disrupted the postal service. Radio and television shook up the news industry. Airplanes ended the age of ocean liners. The next Google won’t do what Google does, just as Google didn’t do what AOL did. Inventions are always dynamic and the resulting upheavals should make us confident that the future won’t be static. This is the process of innovation.