Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 12:07 PM
Last week at Mobile World Congress, where more than 55,000 people gathered in Barcelona to see what the coming year holds for mobile phones and computers, Eric Schmidt had the unique opportunity to reflect on achievements in the mobile space, and to discuss what lies ahead - both for the industry and for Google. With the continued growth of smartphone usage -- increasing by more than 30% year over year, with mobile web adoption proceeding at a rate that is eight times faster than the equivalent point ten years ago for the desktop, with more than half of the new Internet connections coming from mobile devices -- it's clear that we're experiencing a fundamental shift in how we access information.
Clearly, the mobile phone is the iconic device of the moment, and we're encouraging a new rule: Mobile First. When we announce new services for desktop computers, such as real-time search, we will debut an equally powerful mobile version. We will take advantage of this new class of smartphone, which is more sensory, acts as an extension of you, is aware of location, and can hear you, speak to you, take pictures and return information in a matter of seconds. We opened the year with a new model for purchasing a mobile phone, and since then, we've also made it possible to see a list of nearby businesses from google.com, developed a web app for Google Voice, made ads more useful by including a clickable local phone number, let you attach location to your Buzz posts, and we're just getting started. You can look forward to seeing support for more languages in Google Search by voice - German is coming soon. We're working to make it possible to take a picture of text and translate it to any of the 52 languages supported in Google Translate, and we have lots of other ideas up our sleeves.
Update, 5:16PM 3/1/10 - This video has been updated to include an introductory video that played before Eric's speech.