SAN FRANCISCO -- Web 2.0 Expo -- Taking the stage today with Tim O’Reilly, Google’s vice president of engineering Vic Gundotra emphasized the world's move to mobile, calling mobile "the most personal of all personal computers."
"If you think back just as recently as a few years ago, if you wanted to get an app on a phone you had to get it through the OEM, maybe your carrier locked down the phone, maybe it was so complicated you couldn’t figure it out," said Gundotra. "All those barriers have started to fall. Leadership from people like Apple made it incredibly simple to install apps."
Gundotra called forth a poignant moment in his life that helped him realize the importance of mobile and his destiny at Google. When prompted with a question he didn't know the answer to, his four-year-old daughter asked him "Where’s your phone?"
"In her brief four years of life watching her dad she assumed anytime you didn't know the answer to a question you brought out your phone and Googled the question," he said. "To her the phone was the ultimate answering machine." (Sniff!)
But the future is about more than simply Googling for an answer.
"In five years these devices will do amazing things with the camera -- recognize objects, friends," said Gundotra. "We’ll start to get to a point where devices become our agents, our friends, will understand our calendars, will support us with advice, will take notes for us..."
Will clip our toenails, bathe us, carry out our hit jobs... wait, what?
Gundotra placed particular emphasis on the importance of using open Web standards in the mobile space. "The Internet is controlled by none of us, so it belongs to all of us. In the end if you can’t reach consensus, no one adopts the standard. No one controls the Internet."
"But you want to try," quipped conference host and noted japester Tim O’Reilly.
When it came time in the Q&A to use Google Moderator, O’Reilly’s preferred method for getting questions from the audience, the question pool was quite shallow -- registering 19 votes on 7 questions (including three from me) from 11 people -- as were some of the answers.
Taking the first question (from yours truly) O’Reilly asked Gundotra the question on everyone's lips "Is Google buying Twitter?"
"I’m a big fan of Twitter and, yes, scaling would help there. But we don’t as a policy comment on rumor or speculation," he quasi-replied. (Read: We’re open… except when we’re not. LOL!)
"But it’s not a rumor anymore..." O’Reilly persisted.
"I'm friends with Michael [Arrington] and Kara [Swisher] and I’m enjoying their conversation but have no comment," said Gundotra.
— Nicole Ferraro, Site Editor, Internet Evolution