I was waiting for this night for a long time. Three of the most famous names in the digital world were on stage at the 92nd St Y in NYC, one of the most respected institutions for lectures, talks, and entertainment in the United States.
Eric Schmidt is Executive Chairman of Google.
Walt Mossberg is the author and creator of the weekly Personal Technology column in The Wall Street Journal.
Kara Swisher started covering digital issues for The Wall Street Journal’s San Francisco bureau in 1997.
Most of the presentation focused on what Schmidt calls “The Gang Of Four,” Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook. He said the future really will be about what Facebook does the best, gather personal information from users and their contacts. This will be a valuable growth area and each company will integrate this into their own formats.
Schmidt also pointed out that big name, national newspapers will survive but local ones will not. As strange as this sounds he predicts that celebrities Iike Jay-Z will be the big brands in publishing. “It is very obvious that Americans are celebrity crazed and follow their every word. A newspaper named after a major star will draw more attention than what local newspapers call themselves today.”
Another Schmidt prediction is that mobility will be the most important factor in technology growth. “Software will be designed for mobile devices and then for the web. Today it is the other way around. We have discovered that most users can get along with just using their smartphones. They don’t need anything else.”
Schmidt said six billion people use a phone. One billion use a smartphone. He wants Google to always be the “Center Of Information.”