November 13, 2009

Google’s vision of the future: Chinese domination, social media and … JedWard

If you work online and want to remain relevant and adaptable in 2014, you had better start taking Mandarin language lessons if Google’s Eric Schmidt is to be believed.

The search engine giant’s CEO has claimed that five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.

It’s a given that China will become an increasingly powerful presence on the internet, but Schmidt’s vision of a radically different internet just five years from now is an eye-opener.

Google also believes that in the same time frame, social media will become the dominant form of content, delivered over super-fast bandwidth in real-time.

Figuring out how to rank real-time social content is “the great challenge of the age,” Schmidt said. Arguably, Google’s rivals have already begun answering this challenge.

Twitter’s real-time news feed and combination of retweets and user input has shaped an organically drive algorithm, which is constantly evolving as the micro-blogging service updates and tweaks its service.

And Facebook recently imitated Twitter, with the launch of a Live Feed/News Feed, which selects social media content based a combination of factors such as comments, how many people have liked it and how likely a user is to interact with the content.

Schmidt also picked up on the teenagers in the boardroom theme, which is gaining traction at the moment. He didn’t go as far as advocating the inclusion of young minds at board room level, but did advise brands to listen to youth consumers when drawing up their marketing strategies. “Talk to a teenager about how they consume media and remember in five years they’ll be your employee,” he said.

Schmidt made his claims in a speech delivered to thousands of CIOs and IT Directors at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. It’s a long speech so here is a summary of Schdmidt’s main points, which will save you sitting through the 45 minute talk:

• Five years from now the internet will be dominated by Chinese-language content.
• Today’s teenagers are the model of how the internet will operate in five years – they jump from app to app to app seamlessly
• Five years is a factor of ten in Moore’s Law, meaning that computers will be capable of far more powerful in 2014 than they are today.
• Within five years there will be broadband well above 100MB in performance – and distribution distinctions between TV, radio and the web will go away.
• Content will move more towards video and Google will start making serious cash from YouTube
• People will listen more to other people than to traditional sources because of the fundamental shift towards user-generated content

Returning to teenagers, we love this online film featuring X-Factor contestants JedWard. As well as being well executed it’s a good example of a brand making the most of a tactical opportunity.