Google’s CEO Describes a New Future

(click thumbnail)Eric Schmidt, Google CEOLAS VEGAS

Google CEO Eric Schmidt delivered a simple message to a large audience at the “Innovators Spotlight: View From the Top” Super Session at NAB2007.

“The new model will have to address user empowerment,” Schmidt said. “It is a fundamental truth.”

Schmidt outlined his ideas during a casual discussion with former NBC Nightly News Weekend Anchor John Seigenthaler in which he described how a new generation is redefining the rules of mediated communication.


Seigenthaler introduced Schmidt by citing quotes in which Schmidt was called a “man with the ability to change the world.” However, Schmidt preferred to describe his role as a person who is adapting to change.

YouTube, which was recently acquired by Google, surfaced as an example of an Internet enterprise that encompasses the “new model.”

Schmidt described YouTube as the outgrowth of a social phenomenon that expanded exponentially. He described how it started with people posting some videos on the Web, who then shared them with their friends, who shared them with their friends and before long an entire social environment was created.

“I have often been quoted for saying ‘Don’t bet against the Internet,’” Schmidt said. “I think that people who are using litigation to prevent change are betting against the Internet.”

Citing Moore’s law, which essentially predicts that a chip’s density doubles every 18 months, Schmidt reinforced his predictions.

“In five years, we will have 10 times the capacity on mobile phones,” he said. “The technology revolution is here to stay.”


Of course, speaking to an audience composed primarily of broadcasters, there were numerous concerns about advertising competition and copyright control. Many of these concerns have arisen due to Google’s acquisition of advertising placement firm DoubleClick. Schmidt attempted to allay these concerns by describing advertising revenue as something that is elastic.

“Google will produce more targeted ads that will grow the advertising business,” he said. “We will not be stealing advertising revenue away from broadcasters.”

Schmidt repeatedly made the claim that Google and the use of Internet enterprises is a boon to the broadcasting industry. He repeatedly emphasized that Google pursues a policy of partnerships in which both Internet and broadcasters can expand their advertising base and increase revenue.

But some people in the audience expressed concern over copyright control in the era of YouTube—where content is copied, shared, and often remodeled. One member of the audience asked if her company would lose copyright ownership if they placed content on YouTube.

“No. You still retain copyright ownership,” Schmidt said.

But he did concede that some control of it may be lost. He used this chance to describe how the new model that incorporates user empowerment works in a beneficial way.


“I encourage you to put your content online and witness how the process plays out,” Schmidt said.

He explained that it is likely to be copied, but this will ultimately build a larger audience base that benefits the content owner or originator over the long term.

The new world is being driven by young people who want to take content and put it on their mobile phones, iPods and MP3 players and “use them all at once.”

The next generation is using media content and molding it to fit their needs. And they are growing up and becoming the new market. These people become media “fans,” Schmidt said, and the technologies employed by Google specialize in finding them or making it easy for them to find you.

Another audience member asked Schmidt what he would invest in for the future. His reply came without hesitation.

“Mobile devices,” Schmidt said. “Mobile devices are the DVD of the new generation. Figuring out how to get your content onto mobile devices is the next big challenge.”