Barcelona: Mobile First

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.

So how did we get here and what's in store?

Back in December, I pointed to the convergence of three trends: computing, connectivity, and cloud computing. Eric described these in more detail last week. Basically, devices are getting smaller, faster, cheaper, and more powerful; the same is true of processors. Today, roughly 700 million public servers are connected by the Internet, and this pervasive connectivity is being driven further into our daily lives, as evidenced by individuals, companies, and even the US Embassy in Beijing increasingly relying on services like Twitter to constantly share information. Finally, cloud computing not only is essential for storage of sophisticated amounts of data, which can be accessed by multiple devices, but also is paving the way for a new generation of applications and powerful, interlinked systems. These three waves are not new, nor is their intersection. What is new, however, is that the point of intersection is now a phone - a phone that's blazingly fast, is connected to the Internet, and leverages the power of the cloud. Comparing today's possibilities with what was possible 25 years ago, and then thinking ahead 25 years from now, it's incredibly exciting to imagine what we might be able to do.

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, 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.

We're proud to be part of this shift and excited to broaden expectations for what's possible on a mobile device.

Update, 5:16PM 3/1/10 - This video has been updated to include an introductory video that played before Eric's speech.


Brandon Marback said...

Now if they could only figure out a way to get the readily available geolocation information in an iPhone photo into Google Buzz via Picasa or otherwise. I suppose that's what a Nexus One is for.

rherrera said...

Google getting into the mobile business was simply a blessing in the sky. I've alway had a "Mobile First" mentality but unless you were willing to sell your soul to Steve Jobs, there wasn't many options out there. Thanks to Android this is now coming to fruition.

Keep up the great work! Can't wait to see what's next.

Brandon Marback said...

I just hope that Google doesn't start to act Like Steve Jobs and limit all of their service to their hardware.

Unknown said...

Before you implement new and new and new stuff, could you please first fix what is broken?
There is a specific list of issues, which are VERY IMPORTANT to be resolved:

Please take care of this list. It's only like 5,6 issues, that are important but these are extremely important.