Google exec plays Shakira mash-up to business leaders

Google head of Europe says the 'hips don't lie' when it comes to new models for content creation and distribution

Google's vice-president of European operations added some Latin spice to the normally conservative proceedings on Monday at a premier event for UK business leaders, which was later attended by the Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Speaking at the CBI conference in London the search giant's Nikesh Arora used a music video-mash-up of Colombian singer Shakira to illustrate the importance of new content types to traditional media business models.

In an attempt to illustrate the importance of new consumer created content types – and showcase his company's recent purchase of online video site YouTube -  Arora played a video clip of the diminutive Latin singer in which the normal music video had been substituted by a spoof home-made clip.

"One of the things we like to do at Google is to have fun. So I decided to introduce some fun to this conference," said Arora.

The Google exec said that only 100 people had watched the official Shakira video of My Hips Don't Lie on YouTube compared to 11.7m for the spoof version.

Arora said the Shakira mash-up was a clear example of how traditional views of media and of how consumers interact with it are changing. "Clearly there is something interesting happening out there... people want to express themselves," he said.This video should bring home the importance of self-expression and the democratisation of tools of creation and the cheapness of storage, he added.

The Google exec also announced the results of a survey conducted by the search-giant and the CBI into attitudes to the internet amongst UK businesses. The survey, released on Friday, showed that 70 percent of businesses believe their company still has a lot to learn about how to reach customers online. Only 23 percent said they believe they make better use of the internet than their competitors.

Director general of the CBI Richard Lambert echoed the report's findings and said that too many businesses still feel their online activities don't live up to their competitors and need to work harder at grasping the new opportunities the internet provides.

"Businesses have already come along way on the Internet journey. If there was such a thing as digital base camp they would have reached it. But their real ascent is still ahead of them and much of the terrain is unknown," said Lambert.

Prime Minister Tony Blair also appeared at the two-day event, which also features speeches from the Chancellor Gordon Brown and Henry Paulson, secretary of the US treasury on Tuesday. Blair did not make any specific references to technology but briefly mentioned the importance of the UK's "knowledge economy" when competing with India and China.

Google's Arora also made some bold predictions about the future of storage. He claimed that, according to former IBM researcher Mark Kryder's Law that every 13 months storage capacity doubles for the same price, in eight years an Apple iPod will be able to store all the commercial music ever recorded.(Kryder's Law has been disputed by some experts who claim much of its popularity can be traced to a Wikipedia entry that has now been taken down.)

One the issues of the digital divide, Arora said that although only 16 percent of the world's population is currently online – those who are connected are the major wealth producers. "As we stand now there are about 1bn people connected online. Some businesses people say that is only 16 percent of the population – there are still 84 percent of the world's population who do not have Internet access," he said. "Well I have got news for you – that 16 percent represents 85 percent of world's GDP. Every Westernised nation has majority of citizens online."

Arora added that improved access was one the reasons why the present Web 2.0 boom wasn't going to end in the same bubble-burst that eclipsed the first web boom of 2000. "There are 250million people around the world connected on broadband and it is expected that that is going to rise to 413million by 2010. That is a lot of people connected on broadband and given the internet wars you are having in the UK it could be even faster than that."

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