Google's Eric Schmidt reveals his biggest mistake

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.


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, Mobility, Google Apps

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  • The biggest mistake the world made was to let Google get too big

    Well, that's a mistake they're still yet to make, as Google is going to get bigger and bigger.

    Governments around the world will one day wonder how on earth they're going to deal with Google. When one company totally controls so many things that are essential for how society runs. No company has been in this position before.
    • Google will be controlled by government the same way as Boeing

      Put inspectors in Google's plant to assure that the as-desingned and as-built product functions as required. Eventually governments began to understand and control the military/industrial complex. The world wide web is no less complex, but that is no reason to give up freedoms: of association, speech, press, ...

      Dumb prescriptive attacks on Google by governments motivated by Google haters will doom the web to a dark age.
      • Schmidt's attitude on 'privacy' was his biggest mistake...

        In my books the term 'privacy' is too loose a germ for 4th, 5th, and 10th Amendment RIGHTS! The word 'privacy' is for media chumps to dilute the actual issue - I generally don't use the word, because it trivializes what is going on, and will impact our freedoms, and slow the growth of human rights world wide. The changes in Google's EULA prompted me to quit using my GMAIL account, and drop Google as a search engine altogether. I don't even use the Chrome browser anymore, although I do like Comodo's Dragon rendition better. This is going to affect any decision I make in mobile phones too; and the public is just beginning to wake up to the NSA and other abuses committed by world intelligence gatherers, and Google better become a better advocate for our rights or their hardware and network sales could suffer.
      • Inspecting what?

        Google does software, and search.

        "Inspectors" don't know enough mathematics for either.

        And if you think governments control the military/industrial complex you need a brain. Everytime the military wants a budget expansion they go to their suppliers, who then go to lobbyists, that then go to the elected officials who are supposedly controlling things... and they vote for a bigger budget.
  • yeah...

    ...but than again 10 years ago looked like microsoft is in that position, and where are they now...not really important to anyone except for paid trolls here.

    google will fail also. it's just a matter of time.
    • That's curious

      You seem to fit your description of "paid troll", deathtoms.
  • When Google became too big

    I can see a book coming out at some point with a title that refers to Google being too big. I think Google has already reached a point where its a love hate relationship with people. They have a lot of information on all of us, and its not clear who that is shared with. The destruction of Google happens when all that information is compromised. Don't know when it will happen, but you know eventually it will.
    • "..destruction of Google happens when all that information is compromised"

      I doubt it. As long as Google keeps giving away goodies for "free", they will be loved.
  • A Regents First Priority Is to Prevent Regicide

    Schmidt had first hand experience with the smothering effects of Microsoft. Page and Brin needed full time protection from the Apple/Microsoft legal conspiracy to kill off Google in court. Extraordinary measures were taken just in time to foil the plot. Not paying attention to Facebook was a triumph of responsibility by Schmidt to his first priority.
  • Underestimating Apple

    Who would expect candor from Schmidt? Google's biggest mistake was to assume that Microsoft's '90s victory over the Mac proves that Apple is inherently vulnerable to that kind of takeover, and so Google easily should be able to take away Apple's iOS successes. Now, iOS is proving not-so-easy to unseat, and Apple is returning the favor with its own services (Maps, Siri) to undercut Google's iOS presence. Google probably would have been much better off maintaining and improving its excellent-in-2007 relationship with Apple.
  • You should not worry if have nothing to hide

    Mr. Schmidt's greatest mistake was his decision to silently and fully cooperate with the NSA in activities directed against the United States constitution, the US citizens and in general, against the right to privacy of countless millions of people worldwide. Schmidt has destroyed any trust anyone could still have in his company and made Google one of the leading "cooperating" companies. People still use Google search, Android, and apps, but make no mistake - a replacement for those would arrive sooner than we all think.
  • Really?

    "There are more tablets and phones being sold than personal computers," Schmidt said. Really? Ya think? That's because a tablet or smartphone is expendable. A PC is more permanent. I buy a new Laptop, NOT A TABLET every 2 yrs. I tablet or phone doesn't have the same high specs as a good laptop. I can see desktops slowly going away and becoming more all-in-one systems. That quote above was like saying "Americans hate terrorists".
    Eric Willard
  • Google's Eric Schmidt reveals his biggest mistake

    I'm sure it was hard for Eric Schmidt to narrow it down to the biggest mistake considering all the mistakes Google has made especially in social networking. As you can tell by bringing up the names of Google's wave and orkut. They have to force people to use their G+ because no one signed up for it. As for the electronic world and putting the coffee maker and fridge on the internet, the price of your appliances is about to sky rocket because of it.
  • reinventing the wheel

    Ha! The UKs pioneer in computing was Lyons coffee shops just after WW2 when they had one of the only mainframe computers on the planet to control their stock. Someone is reinventing the wheel here starbucks...
    dumb blonde
  • Why has no one ever drawn the connection of events of August 3 and 4, 2009?

    Here's the untold story:

    August 3, 2009 Eric Schmidt resigns from the Apple Board of Directors.

    August 4, 2009 Google announces it is buying On2 Technologies. On2 Technologies is the ONLY publicly traded company Google has EVER bought. On2 Technologies was singularly responsible for streaming video being a reality on the internet when it licensed its VP6 to Macromedia in 2004 and was then implemented in Flash in 2005. Prior to that, all video had to be downloaded and/or repeatedly buffered before/during viewing.
    Apple hated Flash. It cut into its own proprietary system as did microsift. Both were/are members of the patent syndicate known as MPEG-LA, license and royalty collectors of the H.262-3-4 video codecs.
    MPEG-LA could not buy On2 Technologies because that would create an illegal monopoly. So, Google buys it then buries it. Thus, the MPEG-LA monopoly was solidified by fiat. When Google bought the Motorola Mobility subsidiary of Motorola it also became a patent-owning member of MPEG-LA.

    Monopoly fait accompli.

    MPEG-LA's H.264 or whatever is a data hog for same quality viewing and still requires massively higher bandwidth than the codecs created by On2's engineers.

    No big deal!?

    Perhaps not unless your internet connection is by DSL and you don't live next door to the phone switching station and are forced to get cable at much higher cost per month--all because of the codec used by the video source-provider. Poor quality doesn't even begin to describe the situation.

    The cable and mobile internet providers all have data plans that gouge subscribers for $10 per gig of data, including video. A typical HD movie uses 7-10 gigs per.

    150 million users times $x per month in excess data use makes for a lot of gouge all because VPx is no longer available. Ergo: many $Billions per month in windfall profits.

    Like I said, this story is way distant from being told OR CLOSED.

    Oh, but there's so much more to this story. Gigs worth.

  • Plus ca change...

    I'm old enough to remember Snow White (IBM) and the 7 dwarves (Univac, RCA, Philco, GE, DEC, Control Data, and NCR as I recall) and the worries that Snow White would take over the world... Ha Ha Ha