Google's Eric Schmidt reveals his biggest mistake

Summary:As part of the chairman's technology predictions for 2014, Schmidt reveals the biggest mistake the company has made to date.

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Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt has revealed the firm's technology predictions for this year -- as well as the key past trend the tech giant missed.

In an interview with Bloomberg News, Schmidt said that the search engine giant believes the biggest change consumers will experience over the coming year is the firm establishment of the mobile world. The rapid adoption of smartphones and tablets will result in a whole new generation of applications focused on entertainment, education and our social lives, according to Schmidt, who said that mobile devices were "winning" the race in the technology sphere -- but have now firmly "won."

"There are more tablets and phones being sold than personal computers," Schmidt said. "People are moving to this new architecture very fast."

The biggest disruptor Google is sure about is the arrival of Big Data -- the collection, analysis and application of vast amounts of information -- in conjunction with an increase in the use of machine intelligence and machine-to-machine applications (M2M), which are developed to increase business efficiency in a variety of sectors.

For example, Starbucks plans to invest in connecting coffee makers, refrigerators and appliances to the Web through systems that can track customer preferences, update recipes digitally and self-monitor performance so problems can be flagged up and fixed as quickly as possible. This sort of technology can be applied to business models to turn additional profits, improve products based on customer preferences, and keep a company competitive. 

Schmidt's opinion is reflected by research firm Gartner, which believes that smart machines will have a "widespread" and "deep" impact on businesses through 2020, resulting in human job destruction as machines evolve from automating basic tasks in order to become advanced self-learning systems.

The Google chairman also said that the biggest disruptor this year which remains unpredictable is within the genetics area. The ability to keep personal genetic records and advances in gene sequencing are likely to yield medical discoveries and breakthroughs for diagnostic medicine and the treatment of illnesses including cancer.

When it boils down to Google itself, Schmidt says that the firm continues to enjoy strong growth, but Google's key limiter is the rate of innovation. How smart the firm can become and what new, innovative systems can be deployed -- and at what speeds -- are focus areas for Google to improve over the coming year.

While Google is often ahead of the game, Schmidt admitted that during his time as CEO, the company missed a trick when social media began to change the face of the Internet.

"At Google, the biggest mistake I made was not anticipating the rise of the social networking phenomenon,” Schmidt said. "Not a mistake we're going to make again. I guess in our defense we were busy working on many other things, but we should have been in that area and I take responsibility for that."

Topics: Google, Android, Google Apps, Mobility

About

Charlie Osborne, a medical anthropologist who studied at the University of Kent, UK, is a journalist, freelance photographer and former teacher. She has spent years travelling and working across Europe and the Middle East as a teacher, and has been involved in the running of businesses ranging from media and events to B2B sales. Charli... Full Bio

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