Global CIO: Google CEO Eric Schmidt's Top 10 Reasons Why Mobile Is #1

Speaking to 400 CIOs, Schmidt said "the answer should always be mobile first." In his own words, here are 10 reasons why that's so.

Bob Evans, Contributor

April 14, 2010

5 Min Read

6) Google Goggles and the power of magic. "We introduced a product called Google Goggles, which is you take a picture of things and then it actually goes out to I don't know how many sets of server farms, but a whole bunch, and then it says, "Is this a fruit? Is this a plant? Is this a menu? Is this voice-translation? Is this a landmark? Is this a face? And so forth. And then they vote on what the object is, and they tell you what they think the object is, and it's spooky . . . that kind of technology to me is as close to magic as I can imagine. I go, 'Oh my God, we can do that.' So we're very very interested in moving the understanding of information, because of this information explosion, to the next level. But we operate under the assumption that people will carry mobile devices with them all the time, that those mobile devices will be always connected through one data network or another for obvious reasons, and that there are applications that we can build or that others can build on top of our platform that will materially make them more productive, better at work, have more fun, be better entertained."

5) Put your best people on mobile projects. "In other words, you should literally put your best people and your best team on a mobile app that enables a business process—and by the way, everybody has these, right, cause ultimately every company has people who are in motion, they're moving forward, they're with the customer. So imagine there are all sorts of sales-tracking applications—if that's where all the real action's going to be, then making sure that you know what's going on with all those mobile devices within the firm—because your employees will come in and they'll interoperability and they'll also want safety and security too and those will be really important."

4) Mobility will determine how services are provisioned. "What's really important right now is to get the mobile architecture right, because mobility will ultimately be the way in which you provision most of your services. Now, today that seems crazy, because today the mobile devices are largely a problem in the corporation because they don't fully support all the existing enterprise apps and so forth. But if you fast-forward five or 10 years, with the investment and growth in mobile computing, the kinds of things you can do with mobile devices—and mobile devices here includes very small devices all the way up to very large tablets, even if you think of it as netbooks—so mobility is part of it. The way I like to articulate it is, the answer should always be mobile first."

3) The 'Everything Now' 18-year-old. (Schmidt's interviewer asks if all of our devices and forms of electronic communication are inevitably leading to "communication overkill":) "No! You're obviously not young enough anymore! Try finding an 18-year-old—watch what they do! The level of input"—(interviewer jumps in and asks if it's a matter of having an on/off switch)—"many people have searched for an 'Off' button for their teenager, trust me—it just doesn't work (laughter from audience). One of the questions you really want to ask about this is, at the end of the day, what is new? If you go back to what have we been building over the years, and what is really new? There is one thing that's really new, and it's that everything is 'now'. What you're really referring to is not the fact that you have so many parallel streams but the fact that they're all current, right?"

2) The Information Explosion. "We want to enable that to be more organized. And so if you think about the information problem—interesting statistics: between sorta the birth of the world and 2003, there were five exabytes of information created—that's the total over that period. In the last bit, we create 5 exabytes every two days. So plot that curve and now you see why it's so painful to operate in these information markets. The information explosion is so profoundly larger than anyone ever thought—I certainly, it's larger than anything I ever thought—but that's what this opportunity creates."

1) The Fundamental Connection. "But getting back to this question of information overload: what is fundamentally different now is everybody knows what's going on exactly now: one way to express that is to imagine for a moment—everybody here has a digital device? Turn it off. Turn it off right now. What if I just take it away from you? (Pauses a few seconds while gazing out at audience.) That's something pretty profound—your connectivity to that whole world—your personal world, your professional world, and so forth—that connection is so fundamental to people's lives today, whether it's personal or professional—that's not gonna happen."

So there you have 10 perspectives from Eric Schmidt on the imperative for the mobile enterprise. Having seen these ideas, do you still feel your mobile strategy holds up?

RECOMMENDED READING: Global CIO: Will The Mobile Tipping Point Bury You? Global CIO: The Top 10 CIO Issues For 2010 Global CIO: Cloud Computing's Deadly Vulnerability—And How To Avoid It Global CIO: CEO Benioff On Beating Microsoft And SAP In The Cloud Global CIO: After Google Cyber Attack, CIOs Must Find The Body Global CIO: Ballmer's Cloud Commitment Makes Microsoft Relevant Again GlobalCIO Bob Evans is senior VP and director of InformationWeek's Global CIO unit.

To find out more about Bob Evans, please visit his page.

For more Global CIO perspectives, check out Global CIO,
or write to Bob at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Bob Evans


Bob Evans is senior VP, communications, for Oracle Corp. He is a former InformationWeek editor.

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