Google's Schmidt: Google Now approach could go enterprise

Google's Schmidt: Google Now approach could go enterprise

Summary: Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt tells CIOs they need to blow up their infrastructure pronto, argues Android is secure and covers a lot of turf.


ORLANDO — Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, said that the concepts and interface behind Google Now could be applied to corporations, which are asking whether the Web card approach could apply to real work.

schmidt mug gartner

Schmidt, speaking at the Gartner Symposium ITXpo, was predictably peppered with questions about the search giant's enterprise ambitions.

The Google Now approach, which works well with consumers, could be applied to the enterprise with some artificial intelligence help scanning corporate data sets.

Schmidt said Google is experimenting with how Google Now could work within the enterprise. Schmidt said it could take the Google Now approach to calculate workflows in a corporation and look into being analytical.

"It should be possible to take that approach to any data set with current AI techniques," said Schmidt. Business analytics could be applied to an enterprise Google Now much like navigation, he added.

The theme from Schmidt was that the enterprise buying landscape will change dramatically. Schmidt said the licensing model deployed by Oracle and others won't persist. Today, there's a hybrid cloud and on-premise model, which is a second phase of leaving a licensing model behind.

"The third phase (of enterprise disruption) is driven by tablets and it looks like the majority of enterprise computing will happen on mobile devices. It broke the model. It looks to me you're going to have to dismantle existing infrastructure to work in the mobile model. It's happening right before your eyes."

If correct, enterprises will have to shed legacy infrastructure to compete. Companies will have to piggyback on the faster innovation cycle of consumer technologies such as the cloud.

For instance, Schmidt mocked current infrastructure. For instance, virtual private networks (VPNs) aren't totally secure. "It's a terrible architecture," he said.

Schmidt asked the audience for a show of hands if you're sure the Chinese aren't in your network right now. Four hands out of about 4,000 raised. When asked whether he was sure Google's network didn't have the Chinese poking around, Schmidt said he was — because Google checks every second. Schmidt also quipped that the U.S. government couldn't say the Chinese weren't poking around the network — since it's out of commission at the moment.

Among other key themes from Schmidt:

  • Don't settle for technical cul de sacs. Schmidt said companies need to beware of innovating themselves into a corner. He also said that companies need to think about fixing large problems — way bigger than what they're tackling today.

  • Embrace bottoms up management. Young technologists will always know more than management. Smart execs will use that reality to their advantage. Managers should always say to young technologists: "Tell me something new that may matter in five to 10 years."

  • Commitment to the enterprise. "Thousand of employees are working on enterprise applications," said Schmidt. Schmidt acknowledged that he didn't quite understand how sharing would be the primary feature for Google Apps and Docs.

  • Getting people out of email. Schmidt said that people love email and companies run on it. Schmidt argued that email doesn't need to be replaced by collaboration tools.

  • Google Compute Cloud is faster than the competitors. Schmidt said Google's Cloud is designed to be faster than Amazon Web Services and it is winning deals because of that. Schmidt said no matter who wins in the cloud enterprises "have to make the transition" to public infrastructure.

  • Android has the most unit volume and is a platform that's robust based on usage. Schmidt also shot down the Android fragmentation argument. "The key thing is that everyone has agreed to keep the app store compatible," said Schmidt. "When you buy an Android phone the apps are compatible."

  • What industry is most ripe for innovation? "Almost every business can become more efficient with some software developers," said Schmidt. "Any industry without software developers embedded someplace is going to lag."

  • Research on aging. Schmidt said the effort is hard core research on what causes humans to expire. Calico will take some time to play out. "Google has a fair amount of cash on its balance sheet and we can make this bet," said Schmidt. "Innovation is always risky." Schmidt said it wants to make big innovation bets on large issues. Transportation is another key area. "Transportation is a mess," said Schmidt. "It needs to be solved."

  • Education meets connectivity. Education is ripe for many more experience. Technology companies can help and there's an opportunity because of connectivity to try something new, said Schmidt. Startups will lead the way for many of these experiments.

  • Privacy and data. Schmidt said consumers will give up privacy if there's a benefit. He cited E911 and cell phones as an example of swapping location data for a greater benefit. On the NSA flap, Schmidt said there's a political debate, but American companies do have to follow the law in the U.S.

  • Data permanence has yet to be solved. Schmidt said a teenager that has been maligned shouldn't have that on a permanent Internet record. Schmidt said it would be hard to come up with a bill of rights for data permanence due to the First Amendment. Schmidt said ideally there would be an algorithm that ferrets out the truth.

  • How can we trust our data to Google given management will change over time? What happens with succession and data protection? "If Google were to have a significant data breach today it would be terrible for the company," said Schmidt. "We're always one mistake away. It's inconceivable you could materially change that." Google's culture revolves around data protection.

  • Google management plans on staying for long run. Schmidt said that succession wouldn't play into data trust. He expects that current Google management will stay in place for a long time. "These (succession) scenarios are not going to apply to Google," said Schmidt.

Topics: Mobility, Cloud, Google, Google Apps

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • Google in the enterprise. What could go wrong?

    Every IP Google touches collapses in value, and companies should turn over their IP to Google? Android apps have zero value, and now Google wants enterprise apps to have zero value as well? News has next to zero value; mapping has next to zero value; social networking services have almost no value. Introducing Google into IT would result in the collapse of the IT industry, where Google and a few other mega corporations will be the only ones making money on account of their 'ginormous' scale.

    Oh yes, putting all our corporate's eggs in Google's basket sounds like a great idea. What could go wrong?
    P. Douglas
    • Better than going with Microsoft.

      Stabbing in the back is there MO.
      • How so?

        I'm confused by your statement about 'stabbing in the back' with regard to Microsoft. Care to explain?
        • Don't look for a reasonable explanation

          This user is simply anti-Microsoft so every blog article that appears on any subject, this user simply chimes in with some unrelated anti-Microsoft rant. I wouldn't waste your time.
      • Wrong again, jesse

        But you knew that already, and I'm sure it annoys youto know end having to come here and knowing post lies.

        Well, it would annoy a normal person, I'm assuming.
        • to know end?

          To No End.

          Where's that darn edit button....
      • Spoken like the worthless shill you are!

        The facts paint a far different picture, especially considering how enterprise has prospered greatly under Microsoft, and their info wasn't sold to advertisers either.
        • funny Jhammack

          You appear to have forgotten BING. Microsoft ARE a search engine and they have had LOTS of privacy issues in the past. Blindly disregarding that doesn't change anything except the public appraisal of your intelligence.
      • presumably he means microsoft "partners" that microsoft has shafted.

        Like the huge settlements regarding Novel, the ongoing court cases regarding the tactics Microsoft used to get their office product in front of the 800 pound gorilla at the time.. that sort of thing. They also have a bit of a history of waiting till someone comes up with a innovative piece of software, then they copy the idea and put the company out of business. (IE would be an example of this, but there are lots more.)
    • Your LIFE sounds very UNHAPPY

      You need a man hug? What's wrong with them trying something NEW. isn't that what TECHNOLOGY was about. I'm pretty sure you were up set when the got rid of floppies.
    • Perspective

      You may want to reexamine your perspective. All these things are only TOOLS, and the value is not in the tools themselves, but what the tools can do. Eventually they become commodities, with not much separating them except brand name. (not price or performance)

      The thing about the history of "physical" tools is that they used to be scarce and expensive, now they can be bought at Walmart and there is not a lot of difference between the professional and hobby grade. The basic same tools set is used for building private homes, or large commercial buildings, the VALUE of what tools can do.
  • Hmm...

    No mention in this article about Eric being laughed at for his ridiculous statements comparing security against Apple? Advertisement?
    • In the interest of integrity.. from this same site..

      So, then... there are truly two sides to every story. It appears ZDNet is no stranger to double-dipping by playing both sides against the middle.
  • Racism?

    "Schmidt asked the audience for a show of hands if you're sure the Chinese aren't in your network right now."

    Ermm.. what about those troublesome North Koreans, or white's, or European's?
    • Maybe just statistics

      There are more Chinese people in the world than from any other nation.
    • Seriously dude?

      Your bias is showing in the form of looking for things that aren't there.
    • Funny he woudl say that after all the snuggling up Goo did with China...

      And the vast number of redirected emails they illegally (from a pure ethical standpoint) and obediently performed for the Chinese governement so as to make their money, then get out and try to make it look like they were "doing the right thing". They knew what they were doing in the beginning, there was nothing that needed to happen over time to show them otherwise, they just were digging for as much gold as possible then getting out and spreading BS in hopes of reversing the outrage against their unethical deeds in China.
  • State Policy Drive Chinese Hacking not Race

    Throwing up talking points of anti Google PR are we?
  • Schmidt??? Arrogant???

    Now there's a real surprise!
  • Most hilarious GMAIL Fails?