In an “ask a billionaire” interview with Bloomberg, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt makes a number of predictions about the coming year and beyond. Among them he says, “Mobile has won.”
What does he mean? The simple meaning of his remark — and the one he intends — is that there are more tablets and smartphones being sold than consumer PCs now. Schmidt also makes the relatively safe assertion that almost all consumers will have smartphones in the near future.
This year, 2014, we’ll probably see US smartphone penetration hit 75 percent (from 65 percent today). It’s possible that by next year at this time smartphone ownership will exceed 80 percent of US adults. That doesn’t mean all smartphone-consumer behavior will be uniform but it does mean that for a significant percentage of smartphone (and tablet owners) these devices will be primary and the PC secondary.
Google is of course the top mobile search engine and Android is the world’s dominant smartphone OS. However Google is still struggling a bit to boost mobile CPC prices.
What the rise of smartphones, tablets and, ultimately, wearables means is that an era of diversified internet access and computing has truly begun. That’s tied into the broader developments of the “internet of things” and “big data,” especially around location and consumer behavior patterns.
Schmidt sees big data heralding a new era of personalization and one-to-one marketing. Yes and no I would argue (much more data-driven, tailored marketing but not true one-to-one).
There will be tons more information generated by people and their activities in the world through the use of these newer devices. The circa 1993 joke, “on the internet nobody knows you’re a dog,” is no longer true will never be true again. Not only is the fact of your identity as a dog known, but also your breed and what kinds of dog food you like.
Schmidt also offers a mea culpa of sorts around social networking. He says that “not anticipating the rise of the social networking phenomenon” was the biggest mistake he made while CEO. It’s not a mistake the company says it will make again he adds (the fate of Google+ is not yet entirely clear). The subtext is: “my biggest mistake was not preventing or preempting the rise of Facebook” as a powerful, global rival.
At the end of the short interview/monologue Schmidt makes a pitch for Google advertising in the form of an observation about media disruption. He ends with the remark, “People need our services and we’re very proud of that.”