Google full might was on display last night in the Catalonian City of Barcelona. An hour before CEO Eric Schmidt was scheduled to take the stage for the keynote speech of the day, the hall outside the auditorium was brimming with people and jostling was starting to take place with some beginning to sense they might not make it into the auditorium at all.
While both the Microsoft Windows 7 Mobile announcement and the Nokia/Intel Corp., collabos had attracted full houses, there was a buzz in the crowd about Google and particularly what it intended to do about mobile technology.
Google did not disappoint. At least from a demonstration of cool but useful stuff. When Eric Schmidt strode on stage (the MC said he had to Google the Google CEO to get his background for the introduction) he did not strike as a revolutionary visionary in the mold of Steve Jobs at Apple or Jeff Bezos at Amazon, but rather more like a high school principal (turns out Schmidt, an Engineer lectured at Stanford).
But seeing as he runs the goliath of the internet environment by the way the new catchword being bandied around here is the ¨Mobile Ecosystem) even a staid Schmidt commanded attention.
His message was simple: Mobile First, that is to say everything here on out will concentrate on developments for the mobile Ëcosystem¨ and in fact he revealed that more Google programmers are now working on the mobile applications than for the personal computer.
Schmidt said for the entrepreneur who intends to remain relevant, they would need to bring together three things: Computing power, Interconnectivity and the Cloud. In English, you will need to bring the computer to the mobile phone first of all that is to say have alot more processing power on the device, second, enough broadband to allow the device to communicate (According to Schmidt, one of the areas that will likely grow in the coming years is Person to Person conferencing on the mobile - forget about the giant Cisco Telepresence monitors) and third, the ability to connect to thousands of servers storing trillions of data - the so-called cloud.
Now this makes sense when you consider the other area that the company sees exploding. Giant multiplayer video games being played on the Net. Right now for example, Zynga´s Farmville and Mafia Wars etc are simple games that cannot be played on the mobile environment as yet (But both NVIDIA with a so-called TIGRE chip for the mobile and Google with its latest instalment of Android now say they can support Flash Technology allowing for mobile phones to play these games).
Playing combat games on the net for example requires heavy graphics hence heavy processing power such as the NVIDIA chipset, you need big internet pipes as graphics consume heavy bandwidth and you need of course servers out there processing it all.
Schmidt did show off some cool stuff or at least the two nerds he came with on stage did.
One guy with a heavy German accent but who clearly Schmidt holds in high regard, was hilarious demonstrating how to use Google´s voice search. That is actually worked when he asked it to look for Good Spanish restaurants in Los Angeles must be testament to this features sheer brute force. I would have had to ask him twice what exactly he was asking for with that accent.
Another cool feature was using the phone on your camera to take a picture of a menu item that is written in another language and ask it to translate it into your own. Lastly, Google showed us a feature where you take a picture of an item such as a building and you search it to either see what it is or where it is in case you are using it as a landmark to figure out where you are.
The night ended with Schmidt taking questions from the audience which he was still doing as I made my way out in to the chilly Barcelona evening passing by another group on the lower floor that was huddled around a screen showing the Google CEO live.
Definitely, lived up to the billing!