Google and the Search for the Future

BingoT

Nurses love to give shots
Google and the Search for the Future
The Web icon's CEO on the mobile computing revolution, the future of newspapers, and privacy in the digital age.


To some, Google has been looking a bit sallow lately. The stock is down. Where once everything seemed to go the company's way, along came Apple's iPhone, launching a new wave of Web growth on a platform that largely bypassed the browser and Google's search box. The "app" revolution was going to spell an end to Google's dominance of Web advertising.

But that's all so six-months-ago. When a group of Journal editors sat down with Eric Schmidt on a recent Friday, Google's CEO sounded nothing like a man whose company was facing a midlife crisis, let alone intimations of mortality.

For one thing, just a couple days earlier, Google had publicly estimated that 200,000 Android smartphones were being activated daily by cell carriers on behalf of customers. That's a doubling in just three months. Since the beginning of the year, Android phones have been outselling iPhones by an increasing clip and seem destined soon to outstrip Apple in global market share.

True, Apple sells its phones for luscious margins, while Google gives away Android to handset makers for free. But not to worry, says Mr. Schmidt: "You get a billion people doing something, there's lots of ways to make money. Absolutely, trust me. We'll get lots of money for it."

"In general in technology," he says, "if you own a platform that's valuable, you can monetize it." Example: Google is obliged to share with Apple search revenue generated by iPhone users. On Android, Google gets to keep 100%. That difference alone, says Mr. Schmidt, is more than enough to foot the bill for Android's continued development.

And coming soon is Chrome OS, which Google hopes will do in tablets and netbooks what Android is doing in smartphones, i.e., give Google a commanding share of the future and leave, in this case, Microsoft in the dust.

Can it all be so easy? Google's stock price has fallen nearly $150 since the beginning of the year. Financial pundits have started to ask skeptical questions, wondering why it doesn't give more of its ample cash back to shareholders in the form of buybacks and dividends. Some suspect that all that temptation merely encourages Mr. Schmidt, along with founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page—the triumvirate running the company—to splurge on gimmicky ideas that never pay off. Fortune magazine recently called Google a "cash cow" and suggested more attention be paid to milking it rather than running off in search of the next big thing.
By HOLMAN W. JENKINS JR.
You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
 

BingoT

Nurses love to give shots
Search: now faster than the speed of type

Search: now faster than the speed of type

Search as you type. It’s a simple and straightforward idea—people can get results as they type their queries. Imagining the future of search, the idea of being able to search for partial queries or provide some interactive feedback while searching has come up more than a few times. Along the way, we’ve even built quite a few demos (notably, Amit Patel in 1999 and Nikhil Bhatla in 2003). Our search-as-you-type demos were thought-provoking—fun, fast and interactive—but fundamentally flawed. Why? Because you don’t really want search-as-you-type (no one wants search results for [bike h] in the process of searching for [bike helmets]). You really want search-before-you-type—that is, you want results for the most likely search given what you have already typed.

As you can imagine, searching even before someone types isn’t easy—which is why we are so excited today to be unveiling Google Instant. Google Instant is search-before-you-type. Instant takes what you have typed already, predicts the most likely completion and streams results in real-time for those predictions—yielding a smarter and faster search that is interactive, predictive and powerful.

You do not have permission to view link Log in or register now.
 
Top