Google CEO Says the Future Belongs to 'Cloud Computing'

Broadband's Impact June 9th, 2008

, Publisher,

WASHINGTON, June 9 – High-speed Internet connections, social networks like Facebook and MySpace, and the concept of “cloud computing” make it possible to “live a lot of your lives online,” Google CEO Eric Schmidt said Monday.

Schmidt said that the ability to transfer and run computer programs, data, and individual software customization temporarily to any computer — a concept known as “cloud computing” — is an important example of how new developments in Internet access facilitate a mobile lifestyle.

“There is a shift from traditional PC computing to cloud computing,” Schmidt said. ‚ÄúThat is where the servers are somewhere else, and the servers are always just there.”

The concept can only take off when good-quality broadband is continuously available.

Still, speaking at a luncheon address to the Washington Economic Club, Schmidt called the trend — which advantages Google over traditional rivals like Microsoft — a “permanent shift in the power of computing.”

Schmidt did not specifically mention Microsoft, which has been the dominant software player in the world of personal computing. Microsoft’s future may be challenged by Google’s ascendance. He also did not mention Google’s efforts to squelch a bid by Microsoft to acquire the Internet portal Yahoo.

“Most incumbents blow transitions,” Schmidt said. “The radio companies didn’t do well in TV. Print hasn’t translated that well online.”

The techniques that are most likely to offer success to businesses under the new computing regime are those who use open systems. Companies that favor openness release information rather than seeking to keep it proprietary.

Schmidt also addressed Network Neutrality, or the move to block carriers from differentiating in the prices that they charge business users. He also said that cellular carriers could be required to allow handsets on their networks that will work on those of their rivals.

For example, he applauded the Federal Communications Commission for imposing rules that companies bidding for a certain portion of radio frequencies allow “open access” to wireless devices.

Schmidt also touched upon on Google’s management style. It requires employees to write a one-sentence summary of what they have been doing each week. It also offers certain employees 20 percent of their time to tinker on projects of their choosing.

“We could run the country [or] run the world this way,” said Schmidt.

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